It was during these covid times I wandered, worry writ on my face as bills piled up at home, and money was not what it used to be, when I imagined I heard a voice ringing out to me, “Hi!”
“Hi!” I offered back in return as a stranger with a beard longer than mine, and much whiter, looked at me with kindly eyes as he sat on a bench in the park and beckoned me to sit beside him, “What do you do with your old toothbrushes?” he asked.
“I throw them away!”
“Don’t,” said the stranger, “Trim the bristles and you can use them for a much longer time! You see it’s the outer bristles that give way as you brush everyday but the inner ones are intact.”
I looked at the stranger to thank him for his unsolicited advice but he was gone. I went home trimmed the bristles and looked at an old toothbrush as good as new.
“Did you trim the bristles?” he asked the next morning and his eyes sparkled with interest.
“And it’s as good as new!” I offered.
“Bob,” said the stranger with the white beard, “Have you heard about the Korean millionaire who was flying economy?”
“Yes,” I said, “A passenger next to him asked him why he was flying economy when he was a millionaire and he replied that he was a millionaire because he flew economy!”
“Yes,” said the stranger, “That’s just what you did by trimming your toothbrush!”
“Become a millionaire?” I asked hopefully.
“On your way to becoming one!” he laughed.
“I wish it was that simple!” I sighed.
“It is,” said the old man, “The further through life I drift the more obvious it becomes that I am lacking in thrift!”
“Who said that?” I asked.
“Ogden Nash, an American humour poet!” said the old man, “And he couldn’t have put it better, it’s thrift that we lack today, the stuff millionaires are made of, and when you find yourself drifting away into poverty, hardship and want, you know you’re adrift from thrift!”
I grinned at him but found he’d gone, a piece of paper lay where he’d sat, I read it out aloud:
D’you need to have a Scotch when good ole coffee will do?
Is your car so old you need to change it for one that’s sparkling new?
Is your house falling down that a bigger one you need?
Is it necessity that governs you or is it, just plain, simple greed?
Just trim the bristles around your brush, and do them right away,
And watch hard earned money in your wallet, stay put both night n’ day..!
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