Pine Nuts: What is money?


What is money? Money is energy, low wattage energy most of the time, an alternating current that flows back and forth, the emphasis being on the forwarding of good energy. Though to a few, less charitable, money is direct current, money being their god, how to get it their religion.

I ask myself every day which current I’m falling into. I can remember chastising a teenage boy once for wanting to gain something for doing nothing, then running over to the Hyatt Sports Book myself to place a bet on the Niners to cover a four point spread … something for nothing. Woops, wrong current on that day …

Living at the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, well, we all have friends who have wealth and are generous with their affluence. If all wealthy people were as generous as our friends are with their prosperity, well, inequality would not be a concern, in fact, inequality would never even come up as a topic of conversation. Yet, I know, from what I’ve read, there are people in this world who are not as generous with their ‘energy’ as the good hearted neighbors and folks we know and admire.

When you’re down to your last meal, that’s when generosity really matters. Such a state of affairs I have experienced only once, and I’ll never forget the deep feeling of gratitude I had when it mercifully ended.

My good friend Ginzo and I were in the Marine Corps in Vietnam when the ceiling dropped so low that not even our amazing helicopter pilots could get in with supplies. After three days we were dining on raw onions out of the fields, well, I’ve never been so hungry. On the morning of the fourth day Ginzo handed me a small can of peanut butter. I was in shock and awe. I dug out my P-38, a pocket-sized can opener that takes 38 punctures around a c-rat can to finally get it open, and VOILA! Peanut butter! I was ever so grateful …

“By the way Ginz,” I asked with emotion in my voice, “where in tarnation did you find this can of peanut butter anyways?!”

“In your pack. I figured you might be stockpiling for a last meal, and I thought you should have it just in case you might have overlooked it, not to mention the possibility that I might collect a little credit for when I arrive at the Pearly Gates, and maybe even get a pass.”

I would have hugged him if he hadn’t been so dirty. What a guy, to give me the last morsel of food that either of us might ever see, even if he did get it out of my pack, where I might have been hoarding it for a final meal, or didn’t even know that treasure was there.

We were resupplied on that fourth day and survived to go fly-fishing together with our sons these oh so many years later, and we still laugh about that incident.

To my mind, the high bar for generosity will always be that little can of peanut butter, a thing no amount of money could buy …

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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