Two Gold Bars

I hate reading newspapers. The physical kind, I mean. With computers, who even needs them anymore? I’d just gotten off work, and this morning’s newspaper was already ancient history.

But there was just something about this kid selling papers on the corner of Main and Mangum. Maybe it was his youthful, perhaps naive, sense of entrepreneurship. Maybe it was the nostalgic sense that I wouldn’t get too many opportunities to buy newspapers in the future. I don’t know.

What I did know was that it was a rare day that I had spare change in my pocket, and why not make an enterprising young boy smile? I grabbed two quarters out of my pocket and handed them to the kid. No words were exchanged, just understanding.

I continued to my car, opened the door and tossed the paper in the front passenger seat. I caught a glimpse of the date – a week from now. Sigh. I’d been scammed. At least I was only out 50 cents.

Once home, I figured I would at least read this garbage before doing my civic duty and recycling it. As last night’s mac and cheese reheated in the microwave, I began skimming through the pages. I couldn’t help but chuckle.
The headlines read as if all the doomsday predictions of the sensationalist cable news pundits all came true in one day. Worldwide economic collapse with modern societies reduced to primitive cultures.

Later that night, as I lay awake in bed, I couldn’t help wondering: What if it all came true? What if the conspiracy theorists are right about shadow governments and a few big corporations running the world? Over the years, I’d stocked up on a few canned goods, just in case. Perhaps it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to cash out a few investments and buy a little gold. Besides, if nothing happened, then I could just sell the gold and re-invest the money.

The next day, against my financial advisor’s advice, I sold enough stocks to buy two 100 gram gold bars. That should put me in a decent position financially should all hell break loose next week.To be on the safe side, I also purchased additional canned goods and stocked up on some basic camping and backpacking supplies. I’d always wanted to hike part of the Appalachian trail anyway, so it’s not like any of it would go unused.

Next Tuesday rolled around. My alarm clock woke me up, so I knew things weren’t bad enough to cause the electricity to go out. I checked the news on my phone, but nothing alarming was occurring. I got dressed and went to work.

At 9:30am, I had 5 tabs open to various financial websites. I hadn’t read that paper in detail, but I figured if the markets were going to collapse, there would be signs at the opening bell. Instead, the market opened up. And then it kept going up. It ended up being the best day the market had seen since before the recession began. I called my financial advisor for the “I told you so” speech.

Still, the experience had left me thinking about all the things I was always talking about doing but was always putting off. I packed up the unused camping gear and drove west, headed for the Appalachian Trail.