You have to admire the spirit of some beavers in Louisiana who were found last week to have woven thousands of dollars worth of stolen currency into a dam they were building out of the more usual boring sticks and brush. It was certainly a whole new twist on the idea of putting money into property.
When that bag of cash showed up in their stream, the beavers did not behave as we conflicted humans might have. No scratching of heads. No calls to the police. No checking for news reports of recent area thefts. They just got straight to work on potentially the priciest bit of beaver real estate in eastern Louisiana.
Sadly for the beavers, their hot dam didn’t last long; in fact, they ended up having to rebuild it from scratch. But that’s a risk you take when your construction materials include part of a $70,000 haul from a nearby casino. When police were tipped off that some of the money had been stashed in the stream, the beavers’ windfall was doomed. (They had taken good care of it, though. The well-laundered bills were soggy but intact, and there were even a few left in the bag — for future repairs, perhaps.)
What is charming about this little tale is the beavers’ refreshing take on good fortune. So often we read about the destructive effect of sudden or unearned wealth — on lottery winners, say, or billionaires’ heirs. People worry about whether to save their cache or spend it, invest it or give it away to the relatives and indigents clamoring on their doorstep. Irritation, guilt and anxiety inevitably set in. And the rest of us understand that, because no matter how much or how little we have of it, we’ve learned from experience that money triggers more contradictory emotions than arguably any other aspect of human life.
It’s nice to be reminded of the beavers’ breezier, more innocent and surely healthier view: Just take the money and build.
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