Uncommon Gesture

She was rich, and the man before her had nothing. On her way to the subway, circumstance had confronted her with this paragon of homelessness, and she was torn. She had made her fortune inventing a machine that printed toilet paper that shed somewhat less dust when you tore it. She thought it was a singularly absurd way to come to be rich. How had this man come to have nothing? Had he been born with nothing? Or had it been the long work of a lifetime to accrue so much destitution? The longer she looked at him, the sillier she felt for having so much much while he had so much nothing. What kind of society rewards someone for building a better mousetrap. When all that mousetrap means is sweeping behind the toilet once a month instead of every two weeks?

She wrote a check for the entirety of her wealth, signed it, and pressed it into the man’s hand. She was gone before he could respond substantially.

It was uncashable, of course. Most of her money wasn’t in a checking account. But the symbolism meant a lot to her. She continued to her train with a lighter heart.