One time, I found forty dollars.
This seemed like a lucky occasion to me. I walked out of Red Robin, walked into the parking lot, and noticed two twenties sitting in the midst of the blacktop. My grandmother raised me on the old adage “Finders, keepers. Losers, weepers.” I found. I kept. I rejoiced.
I also shared my good fortune on Facebook, hoping my friends would rejoice with me. After all, $40 is a nice little boon for a family of four – ice cream on a summer night and whatnot. And, let’s be honest, Facebook is a place for happiness and sharing. So I gleefully posted “Went out for an early Father’s Day Dinner and found $40 – Happy Father’s Day to me!”
That’s when the trouble began.
Apparently, there is another unwritten rule out there somewhere that contradicts “Finders, keepers.” This rule says “If you find money, you may not keep it – you must do whatever you possibly can to return said money to its rightful owner or you are committing a sin against God Himself.” Haven’t heard of this rule? Don’t worry – I hadn’t either. But someone had…
An Austrian Military Captain brought this rule to my attention. Yes, the very Captain that helped his family escape Austria with his nun-turned-wife decided to ambush my Facebook joy (in case you are wondering, he goes by the Facebook name Von Trapp because of his proliferation of children). Upon my posting of $40 of happiness (very clearly because I kept the $), he proceeded to chide me by saying “I hope you turned that money in to the manager, with orders for them to call you if no one claims the money.”
Umm. No. First of all, its not like I was raiding cars, looking to score some quick cash. I didn’t find a wallet or a envelope. This was money blowing through the parking lot like tumbleweed. Second, If I turned two random $20 bills in with “orders” to call me in a few days if no one claimed it, how likely is that phone call? The manager would think, “stupid idiot – finders, keepers!”
Anyway, I expressed that I had followed the age old wisdom of my grandmother.
Then things got hairy.
“Disappointed!!!” was his first reply.
Uh, ok Cap’n. Sorry to let you down. I’ll try to live with myself despite your disappointment.
A few other people chimed in to defend me. I thought things were going to die down. Then, the Cap’n went all Biblical on me:
“To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not…to him…….. ” He used lots of “dot dot dot”s for emphasis. And the verse ends with “to him, it is sin.”
After posting this, the Cap’n defriended me. He also sent private messages to those who had commented in support of me and scolded them for supporting me in my sinful ways…
At the time, I was so upset that I nearly couldn’t enjoy the $40. Sin? For real? Ain’t nobody EVER told me that if you find something and keep it, you are committing an act against God. Well, I take that back. The Cap’n told me that, just before leaving me to wallow in my wicked ways. But seriously – why a) condemn someone for good fortune? b) dismiss them entirely if they don’t agree with you? and c) attack anyone else that dared to stick up for that person?
At the time, I used it to lambast that which was wrong with judgmental Christians in general, which was going too far. I’m fairly sure that even if they agreed with el capitan, most people wouldn’t take it to that extreme. Given time, I chewed on the meaning of this fiasco and arrived at the following conclusions:
1. People that change their name on Facebook are frequently crazy (The Captain, TheBaptist, etc.)
2. Crazy people are good for quality laughs if you can keep them around (Good Bye, Cap’n and Mr. theBaptist. I miss you!)
3. You should never let one crazed man serve as a microcosm for an entire group of people that share one thing in common with him.
4. If you find cash money in a parking lot, ditch, gutter, toilet, etc, you should immediately report said money to the proper authorities, lest you fall into condemnation.
5. Alternatively to #4, you can just keep the money. Its ok. Really. Don’t let guilt plague you, and don’t worry about Austrian military vengeance. If you are wrong, you’ll find out in the afterlife. You will have achieved the maximum utility possible from the $40 long before that.
6. Appreciate your pals. Even in a ridiculous situation like this, its nice to know people have your back. Moreover, it was my first FB post to get over 50 comments. I felt like I had finally arrived, thanks in part to the goodness of my friends and a healthy dose of madness.
7. If you ever find money, make sure, make sure, make sure… you take your kids out for ice cream with it. Aww yeah!
By the way, if you want to check out the original conversation, it took place in June of 2011 on my Facebook wall. Hard to believe it’s been two years!