I promised myself when the count fell below fifty cents, I could abandon the exercise.

So, for history's sake (I am sure posterity will want to know all the details), an explanation. I'll leave the original content of this page following this preface.

From the time of Tale 075 to 097, I kept an updated, exact count of the money I had. It appeared on the opening page of the Tales, with date, amount and time. Every time I found even a penny, I'd update the count. This was interesting, even sometimes amusing (especially when a reader noticed a one-cent increase), but was also extremely tedious.

Telling people how much money you make and how much money you have is one of the big taboos in American society. Breaking a taboo is always fun, but of course also always carries a price. In this particular case, the major price was the damned nuisance of constantly counting the change in my pocket. A less important one is that some people viewed the exercise as an attempt to ask for money.

The latter objection, the view that this entire thing is some "panhandling" enterprise, was, in fact, the original inspiration for the exercise. From the past, there are a number of people I could appeal to for assistance. There are even some who would view all this as "performance art" and support it as such, others who would help out for old time's sake or because I helped them when the roles were reversed. There's a more recent list of readers who have offered help if needed. So there's really no reason to play it coy and try to solicit funds with such a tedious method. Asking for financial assistance is against the rules. I know, I know, there are no rules, and I'll feel free to ignore that one when and if I feel like it. But for now, that stands.

Assistance is much appreciated. Like I've said, it makes this trip a lot more comfortable, but at this point I'm not going to ask directly for it, either from an individual or from the Food Stamps program or from places like the IHS.

The Food Stamps program has a very legitimate role to play. Many people abuse that, but the majority of those who benefit from it deserve the assistance. I wouldn't, because I'm perfectly capable of earning that much money a month. Places like IHS are designed to assist people who are trying to "get back on their feet". I might go there for a meal if I got very hungry, I might go there if I decided to return to bourgeois living. Until then, it's not the kind of assistance I should impose upon.

So the money count exercise has ended, and I am not at all sorry to see it go. But like all such self-imposed disciplines, it was useful for me and served its purpose. The following appeared on the original explanatory page as a link from the exercise:

Guess I'd better leave this excerpt from Tale 075 around ...

From the time these Tales began, readers have often mentioned money. I have responded to the remarks several times, but there has been a recent flurry of new remarks from readers. Some complain I talk too much about it (although one reader did, accurately, note that I rarely mention it until the supply is very low), one even writes to say that mentioning it sounds like begging. I challenge anyone to live as I am living and not have money play a major role in their thinking. I don't say I am happy with that, far from it. But that's the way it is. So for a time at least, we'll keep that counter on the opening page, get the subject out of the way right from the start. If anyone feels uncomfortable with that, there are thousands upon thousands of other web pages, many I am sure more worth reading than these.

And a reader wrote:

'Kay here's a couple of pictures to choose from:

The Bardic picture.

This is one you know something about, having in your own inimitable way supported bards for years and years. They tell stories of our world. In order to tell the stories, they go places other people might not go. Traditionally, a culture will support its bards, holding them sacred, honored to provide hospitality to them when called upon.

The other one is also traditional, it's the Grail picture.

The abstract idea behind the quest for the Grail is the search for that which is the Lightest and Brightest inside you, with the intent to Serve it. If you study the Grail lore, you'll see that in the end the point is the path you take on your quest, and that each path is as individual as each person. Once you discover Your Path to finding the Grail, you've also found the Grail.

Your current adventure could be seen as a combo bardic-grail trip, i.e. you are publicly, and without reserve recounting your quest in real time. People can support your reporting of the quest within the context of a bard reporting on our world (and the intersections of our world and your quest), or they can simply support a fellow traveler's search for the Light.

If such support has any more purpose in it than a belief that such things should be supported, i.e. if they want guarantees of where the thing will lead to or end up, or an estimate of how much better off you'll be when you're done, they should probably invest in the stock market instead.

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