Did ya win?
Since you’re reading this you know I didn’t. But even if you were the only one who had all the 1.5 billion dollar Powerball numbers spot on (8-27-34-4-19 Powerball 10), you still only won a third or $505,920,000. Then, did you win the “1.5 billion dollar lottery?” If I said, “Here’s 100 bucks.” but only a $33.33 landed in your hand, did you get a hundred? If the ad says a new car for just $149 a month but you are $289 a month lighter as you are driving off the lot, did you win? Why wasn’t it enough to call it the 500 million dollar Powerball? Why did it have to be the unattainable, never realized, never intended to payout, 1.5 billion Powerball?
There is an old joke about the farmer who is approached by a man in a suit. The man asks the farmer, “How much is one of your cows worth?” The farmer says, “That depends, are you from the IRS or did you just hit her with your Cadillac?”
And there it is, the Value vs. Price proposition. In fact, one of the most cutting insults I can throw at someone is that they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. If a 1.5 billion dollar lottery ticket is really worth only 500 million, what else is over priced or undervalued in our society. Last week, an 11 and 8, major league pitcher just signed a contract valued at multi-tens of millions of dollars. That averages out to 1.5 million dollars per winning game. Unless of course, if he wins only half the games he won last year, then he will be a 3-million-dollar-a-win pitcher! Wars, Affordable Healthcare, Tunnels and Bridges are constantly low-balled when sold to the public and always twice, thrice or what ever you call four times, more expensive to the tax payers in the end. We are all in on this.
All, except the hero. You know him, sometimes he’s the old guy in the park, feeding pigeons all year, but who marches in the Veteran’s Day Parade. Maybe on his cap is a medal. It could be a Bronze Star or Purple Heart. It could be a Battle Ribbon or just simply a pin or patch that indicates he has served his country. What price did he pay for that medal? Or for that matter, what price did his fellow soldiers-in-arms pay, those who didn’t come back? What is the value of their service and sacrifice? It’s probably more than the price of a few dollars for the metal and fabric. Its value however is priceless to every one of us who lives in freedom.
Also another story from last week, lost in the all the hubbub of 1.5 billion dollars, was that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals adjudicated the price/value proposition. A court held that wearing medals of valor were not just the sacred right of those who earned them, but that anyone can wear the Medal of Honor or Purple Heart. Even if someone spent the conflict safely out of harms way, a half-a-world away from the death and destruction and slept in his own bed every night. Someone, who never got shot at or even served this country. Someone who obtained his or her medals, not from bravery in the face of the enemy, but from a pawnshop. I hear you can grab a medal for 20 bucks.
But we are not a totally off-the-rails society. Even though the judges did stipulate that Stolen Valor – what you do when you wear a medal you didn’t earn – is not a criminal act, IF you try to make MONEY off it… well then, then you’re in big trouble boy.
New Math: The PRICE of a medal can be a missing limb, PTSD, sleepless nights, aching for the families of the men and women you left behind – or $22.50 at the pawnshop.
The courts, the government and even the media know the price of everything; let’s hope we the people never forget the VALUE.
For more on valor, go see, 13 Hours.