Friday, June 25, 2021

Life & Style

The Goose That Laid the Paper Eggs

So, there was that one hour when I thought I might be a millionaire. Really.

A long, long time ago I was offered a stock option and bought it. I’d never bought stock before and probably never will again. However, this was a solid opportunity that I could afford at the time. So, I took the chance. Rolled the dice. Then I sat on my stock certificate like a goose sitting on a paper egg, waiting for the egg to turn a golden hue.

One frigid, mid-winter night a FedEx envelope is waiting for me when I arrive home from work. The company I have my investment in is being sold to another company. The egg is about to hatch. Neutron calls. I know why. She’d been offered the same option and took it.

“What does this mean? I can’t figure it out! It’s 80 pages of legalese!” I cry.

“I’m trying to figure it out, too. From what I can tell it means we get 75 percent of what the new company’s stock price is.”

I punch numbers into my calculator. There’s a one followed by some other numbers. Lots of other numbers.

Okay, picture yourself in this situation. Picture seeing what I see.

“Are you sure about this?” I ask Neutron. My blood pressure is rising, but in a good way.

“I think that’s what it means,” she says.

I look again at my calculator. That one. Those lots of other numbers that follow.

Whoop! Whoop!

Just to be sure I call another stockholder I know. She says she’s going over the paperwork at that very moment and will call back.

So, I hang up. And I dream.

My dreams are rather modest. I’d like to take some time to write. I’d like to fix up my mom’s house, pay off any bills she has, and set up a college fund for my niece and nephew. I’d like to travel to someplace warm. Immediately. First class, thank you. And how about a Jeep Wrangler? I’d like one of those, please.

I can’t wrap my head enough around the possibility to think much further than that. As I’m trying to figure out what type of charitable organization I’d like to found, the answer comes in.

The stock is worth...nothing. My egg is not golden. It’s not even brass. My egg is worth only the paper it’s printed on. Too rough to use even as toilet paper, though the thought of using it for exactly that purpose is quite tempting.

I watch Game of Thrones and gorge on ice cream as I try to forget what it was like for one bright, shining, Camelot of an hour when I was Queen of the Dragons. Then I sleep a dreamless sleep.

The next morning, I wake up poor as ever, and thump my sleep-numbed hand onto the snooze button. It’s supposed to snow and the lining of my warm coat is coming apart. My car needs a new catalytic converter. But the truth is, I am rich in many ways.

Okay, that’s crap.

Or maybe not.

Okay, that’s not crap.

But still.

When the Powerball reaches an impressive amount, I buy a ticket. I do this maybe once every five years. That evening I allow myself to dream again. So, my book didn’t do so well and my publisher’s basement is full of them, squatting sadly in the dark, unsold. So, my stock turned out to be worth nothing. Maybe this Powerball ticket will amount to something. Maybe it won’t be just another paper egg.

The next morning, I rise, grab a cup of joe, and boot up my computer. As the lottery website takes its sweet time pulling up, I think about what color Jeep Wrangler I should get. Should it be burgundy? Forest green? Would Mom rather have a whole new house instead of fixing up the one she’s in now? Where should the family vacation be this year on my dime? Bora Bora?

The website comes up. I glance from my ticket to the screen. Ticket to screen. Ticket to screen.

It would have been nice if I’d gotten at least one number.


Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at Read more of her columns at

Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .

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