Archived Story

The things we do for dough

Published 10:09pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013

By Rex Alphin

I don’t get it. Why does everyone make such a fuss over it? It is a mere 2.61 inches wide, 6.14 inches long and .0043 inches thick. Weighing in at 1 gram, it would take 454 just to make a pound.

Heck, they don’t last but about 18 months before they must be replaced with new ones. I hear they make more than 16 million every single day. And they are everywhere. Half the people walking around have them in their pockets, in their purses, in mason jars, under their mattresses, on the top shelf, between books on bookshelves and buried in the backyard. I don’t get all the fuss.

Let’s face it. They are really not that pretty. Some ink pictures, that’s it. A guy that lived over two hundred years ago turned to his left (is that his real hair?) on one side and an eagle and a pyramid on the back. Only two colors, that’s all. Black on the front and green on the back. A few words and numbers. That’s it.

And here’s the real kicker. They all look basically the same. That’s right! Yours doesn’t look any different than the next guy’s. They are all printed just about alike Not painted or sculpted or anything. Just printed

Well, you say, their value lies in the product from which they are made. Really? It’s mostly cotton. I grow cotton! It’s the same stuff from which we make T-shirts and jeans and mattresses and shirts and all kinds of clothes. In fact, they tell me it only cost about 5 cents to make one of these. Five cents!

I just don’t get it. As a result of these little printed rectangles, I have seen people lose sleep and lose their jobs. I’ve heard conversations over these things go on for hours. I have seen grown men and women spend a lifetime trying to get as many of them as possible as quickly as possible and hold onto them as long as possible.

What is it about these little things? I have seen marriages break up over them and brothers fight over them. Entire families blown apart by who can get the most of these things. People happy entirely because they have them and people unhappy entirely because they don’t.

They are dreamed about, schemed over, loved, fondled, coveted and caressed.

I don’t get it. Frankly, I could go on and on, but I need to go and check on the stock market.

Rex Alphin of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald. His email address is


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