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How to Throw Away $1000 in Sixty Seconds
by Linda Barber

I threw away $1000 in sixty seconds. I didn’t gamble it away at the reservation in Cherokee, NC or enjoy a brief encounter with an East Tennessee gigolo. By the way, there are no gigolos in East Tennessee, at least none with a full set of teeth. I didn’t spend it on a spending spree at Walmart. Nope. I just threw it away. In the trash can. In sixty seconds.

I didn’t mean to do it. I’m not that addled. Not yet. My sisters and mother-in-law sent me birthday cards sans money. I also got a card from my realtor and my insurance agent. No money there either. My mother sent me a $500 check which I gave to my husband to deposit in the bank. Then he gave me a card with ten $100 bills. I kissed him and tucked the cash back in his card and slipped it at the bottom of the stack of birthday cards on the kitchen counter.

I’m a slob who could care less whether her kitchen “surfaces” are clear or not, but the day after my birthday, I felt some strange urge to clean up the kitchen, and I whisked all the cards right into the garbage can. Then the next day, I started to write the yard guy a check but thought, “I can pay him in cash with those $100 bills John gave meeeeeee!” After I threw up on all my clear surfaces, I called Kingsport City Hall who gave me the Kingsport Services number who gave me the Kingsport Trash Services number who gave me the Kingsport Transfer Station’s number. I learned a lot about how garbage is disposed of in Kingsport, Tennessee.This would all be very interesting if I were not having chest pains, profuse sweating, and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I called my mother to tell her what I had done. She advised me not to tell John. She said my father would have hacked her up in small pieces. My housekeeper said her husband would strangle her. I told him anyway. John is a trial attorney with the ubiquitous ice cold water running through his veins. He immediately whipped out our homeowner’s policy, and said we could recoup at least $500.Then he went to play golf.

I’ve been punishing myself for the last few weeks. It’s the Baptist in me. I cut my teeth on guilt. I have refused to buy new prescription sunglasses, because I’m still punishing myself for losing my old ones in Mexico five years ago. So, after throwing away $1000 in sixty seconds, there will be no new clothes, no new computer for my birthday next year. But I do know what I’m asking for — my memory. Can I have that back please?