HUGE article here in the paper, an entire page, about how for the first time FREE armored safes are going to be made available to the public, for only $281. I know it’s real, too, because the byline was from the UMS, the Universal Media Syndicate, a well-known arm of Bite Me Industries. Plus, the offer is being made by World Reserve officials. That would be the World Reserve Monetary Exchange, Inc., on Freedom Avenue in Canton, Ohio. Pay no attention to the tiny “advertisement” lettering at the top of the page: this is the real deal.

“World Reserve officials confirm early morning reports that every safe being delivered to Portland area residents over age 52 are in fact loaded with a bag of money.” It ARE? It’s almost too good to be true. When I was a kid I used to dream about finding money on the street, in the form of piles of coins. That’s what I imagined was stored in the vaults of the First Bank of Sofa, and I had enough imagination to invest my dream piles in Three Musketeers futures, but paper money was beyond my ability to imagine. These armored safes, now, are guaranteed to contain bags of money including rare coins such as the 1909 cent that is now worth “a whopping 350 times its face value.” Free money! In a little jingly bag.

Not only that, but the safes are only being made available to people born on or before 1959 who live within a 50-mile radius of Portland. Why–that’s ME!

The safe is designed to replace the ubiquitous “important stuff” shoebox that we elderly keep underneath our beds. I don’t have one of those boxes. Most of the stuff I think is important at any given moment is in my refrigerator. The sorts of things they’re talking about would be your wills, your financial information, your maps to the treasure. I have no idea where I put all that stuff. It couldn’t be safer. There is a will in the house somewhere, and our heirs will have to trip over it at some point, but there isn’t a one of them that’s going to raise a stink over it. Don’t tell me I could be mistaken–I’m not. They’re all good kids, and one of our life strategies has been to appear to be worth more alive than dead.

The kinds of things I might want to quarantine in an armored safe used to be the nude photos, any one of which could have kept me out of public office anywhere other than Italy. My attitude towards the photos has changed over the years and at this point, when my best cleavage is in my neck, I’m thinking of publishing them on the internet. What I do not want to see survive is my early writing.

I even remember some of it. In fifth grade there was a tiny copse behind the school and one day I sat in it and wrote a dreamy essay that started out “The Beech is the queen of the forest” and rolled downhill from there. I squoze everything I could out of that royal metaphor. If I’d known what “raiment” and “diadem” meant I would probably have shoveled those in, too. The only thing that should have been obvious was I didn’t know a beech tree from a beach ball, but my fifth-grade teacher, who also couldn’t have recognized a beech, nearly swooned over it. She cut me from the herd and funneled me into the creative woo-woo class where (this is true) I daydreamed we would be graded solely on our booger collections (mine was under my desk). This may seem immature, but keep in mind my skills in musical flatulence were not well-developed at that point.

It got way worse later on. By high school I was excreting lyrical logs of pretentious poetry that made no sense whatsoever. To this day no one can read my handwriting; back then they couldn’t even read my typing. Maybe a free armored safe would be a good idea if I could afford it, but I figure matches and lighter fluid are still cheap.