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Thinking About World Currency

Monday is bill-paying day around here. It makes sense to get the bills paid each Monday, because the hubby's weekly paycheck is automatically deposited every Friday.

This week is a bit of a problem though, for the hubby was sick and only able to work one day last week. No work = no pay, so in this case a very small check makes bill paying a very large challenge.

And so, I found myself obsessing about money, and those thoughts spiraled out in a bizarre direction as I avoided the issue of how to get those bills paid.

Aren’t you glad the currency of our culture is paper money? Money that fits tidily into a small receptacle, a wallet of some sort, that then slips easily into a pocket or a purse?

That is to say, our kind of money can be conveniently transported along with us, wherever and however far away we travel. It matters not how much we are carrying, nor how far or how long we are traveling from home.

Of course, if you are making some kind of highly illegal transaction, it’s likely all those dollars won’t fit in your back pocket. But, even then, you just need one of those thug-type briefcases and you’re good to go. Toss it in the car, and off you go. Go to Columbia. Go to Mexico. That thing’ll easily stow in the overhead compartment of your airliner.

Why am I thinking about this business of carrying money?

I’ve been working my way through the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. I read one chapter a day, allowing myself plenty of time to absorb the stories and think about the details.

Yesterday’s reading was Genesis 32. In the story, Jacob is preparing to make a long trip to meet up with his twin brother Esau. He has not seen Esau for many years, and back when they had parted, it was not on good terms. Jacob had tricked his father and acquired Esau’s birthright. Now, in heading toward his brother, Jacob is wondering if Esau has murderous revenge planned for him.

So, he plans to send some gifts of “money” on ahead to hopefully pacify Esau.

It’s Jacob’s “money” that got me thinking about world currency today.

“From what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, ‘Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.’ He instructed the one in the lead: ‘When my brother Esau meets you and asks, “Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?” then you are to say, “They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’”(Genesis 32:13b-18)

So, Jacob wanted to send some gifts to Esau. Some “money.”

The logistics of sending off this “money” are staggering.

First, the goats were sent off with their caretakers. This is no small maneuver, folks. Goat tenders know that goats don’t graze on grass. They are browsers, and they prefer eating fruits, shoots, leaves, shrubs, and plants. Good luck finding those in a desert.

Because of their genetic history, goats want to stand up on anything, including the backs of cows. Maybe this is why the cows were sent to Esau later in the fourth group.

Goats love to climb up into trees, too. The servants must avoid all trees if the herd is to keep moving.

Male goats want to start breeding when they are just four months old. Uh oh.

Next, the second wave of gift “money” was the group of sheep, the females (ewes) and males (rams). Shepherds have their work cut out for them. They know that one ram can “service” 30 to 35 ewes during a 60-day breeding season.

On the other hand, when sheep experience stress of any form, they show signs of depression similar to humans. They hang their heads low and avoid positive actions.

It’s a fine balance for those shepherds to keep in check.

The third batch of “gift money” was the group of camels—the females and their young. Let’s be clear on this: Camels have horrible body odor and even worse tempers. There is no doubt about it, the camel tenders will have trouble with these beasts.

Some camels spread a virus knows as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), so the tenders may become sick. However, camel dung, if you care to chow down on camel “apples,” kills dysentery-causing germs. So, if you have the poos, eat the poo.

Fourth gift group—the cows and bulls.

Cows have almost 360-degree vision. No one sneaks up on them. If they don’t want to be moved, they’ll see you coming and get away from you.

Traveling with cows could be a logistical nightmare. They drink about the equivalent of a bathtub full of water a day—we’re in the desert, folks!—and cows spend the vast majority of their day lying down, about 10-12 hours a day.

Do they want to put on the miles? Not so much.

And then there’s Jacob’s final gift “money”—the donkeys. I can’t imagine trekking with a pack of donkeys. We all know how stubborn they are known to be. It’s difficult to force or frighten a donkey into doing something it sees as contrary to its own best interest or safety.

Furthermore, donkeys in a herd will groom each other in the same way as monkeys and chimps do. I’d imagine traveling with a pack of donkeys is like hauling around a bus full of teenage girls who always need to go to the restroom and never come out.

Goats, sheep, camels, cows, and donkeys. What a currency to haul around!

I sent a birthday gift last week to my grandson. I simply put some money into a nice card and mailed it.

That I can handle. Animals are way too messy.

Now, about paying those bills....

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