I never liked money. Don’t get me wrong, I love having a lot of money in the bank and all the nice things money can buy; It’s the actual physical thing that I hate. Paper money is dirty and coins only burden you. Because of this, my wife handles all cash transactions and I only have a $ 20 bill in my wallet to take with me in case of emergencies. It’s the same $ 20 I’ve had for decades, and I think if I pulled it out of my pocket, Andrew Jackson would blink in the sunlight and the brittle paper would crumble into a thousand tiny pieces.

I’ve never felt comfortable carrying around a lot of money and always thought that if you had money in your pocket, you would be spending it. And spending money has always been against my religion. I’m sure you’ve seen big shots with huge round wads of paper money that would choke a horse from which they are pulling $ 100 bills. Gangsters called these wads of money “flash rolls” because if you wanted to impress someone, you’d let it flash around. Whenever I see someone reveal their Flash role, I’ve always wondered if their entire fortune isn’t tied up in that role. In my experience, the more money you carry around, the less money you actually have. For example, England royals never carry cash with them and fewer henchmen follow them to pay for things.

It’s good that I don’t like money because every job I’ve ever worked for someone hasn’t paid much for it. I was the richest kid in my high school thanks to Grand Champion Steers, but I was spending that money and the good money I made in the oil fields over the summer on college education. I paid every penny without anyone’s help and when I graduated in three years I was broke. I was a traffic ticket away from personal bankruptcy. The day after I graduated from college, I took a job working as a cowboy in a registered Angus outfit that worked seven days a week. I was paid less than what I made in the oil fields. At the end of the month, the owner would pull six $ 100 bills off his flash roll, my pay for the month.

On that first job I got all sorts of perks like a mattress on the floor to sleep on and a couple of mice to keep me company. When the owner described it to me in his sales pitch, he described the place I would live as a “nice little house” but it turned out to be a shed. Tractors had better accommodations than me. There was no TV but I didn’t need one because the owner worked me 14 hours a day and when I slumped off my saddle I went straight to my mattress. I didn’t even eat half the time, but that was okay because I didn’t have the money to buy a lot of food. In addition to my salary, the owner promised me half a beef, but a sick cow had not yet died on my watch and I never got beef.

One of the skills I brought with me was that I could check the pregnancy. One day I introduced about 60 two year old Angus heifers and thought I had done a good job, but Mr. Big Shot didn’t think a 21 year old could know anything, so one day I was out in the Boonies doing the Repairing the fence He went to a veterinarian again because he didn’t trust me. The vet and I agreed on the pregnancy status of each but one of the heifers. He called her to safety and I said she was open.

I later found a job that paid $ 800 a month as a ranching editor, so I wasn’t there to find out if the heifer had a calf or was open-minded like I said she was. Years later, I met my former boss and asked if he remembered this heifer. He definitely did.

“Did she have a calf or not?” I asked.

“She really did,” replied Mr. Big Shot, trying to humiliate me and prove me wrong. “Two years later she gave birth to a beautiful bull calf.”