This is not an NFT

So, NFTs seem to be all the rage in the art world, sort of like tulip bulbs were back in 17th century Denmark (except that tulip bulbs were actually fungible, though that didn’t stop people from losing their shirts over them). I don’t know much about NFTs (non-fungible tokens), but apparently you can buy an artwork that exists only in the ether someplace for an enormous price and pat yourself of the back for doing so. Or….

You can buy my artwork, (entitled This is not a joke, despite what you might think; facsimile shown here) and pat yourself on the back for having it all to yourself.

Here’s the deal: I created this piece a while back and it exists right now as a digital file on my iCloud account. If you wish to purchase it, you have the option of buying the digital file or a physical inkjet copy of it, matted and framed. However, you can only buy either/or. There will only be one physical copy, 14” x 14” in size (that’s the size of the image; matting and framing will increase the actual size to 20” x 20”, so plan the space you intend to hang it accordingly.

Now about the digital file. If you decide to buy that, you agree to never reproduce it in any form and only view it no larger than the 14” x 14” size it was created in. You will be the only person with permission to possess the file, unless you decide to sell it, which is just fine with me. The original will continue to exist on my iCloud account, but I will never reproduce it or exhibit it in any form after it is purchased. It’s sort of like owning a Vermeer and never showing it to the world, right?

A couple of other things. The price, $2,500 is only guaranteed until July 1, 2021 at 12:00 noon. At that time, the price will be adjusted according to the value of the Dow Jones Stock Index, based on the price of the Index at noon, on May 3, 2021. At that time, the Dow was at 34,167.50. As I write this, the Dow is now at 34,190, so if this were July 1, the price of the artwork would be about $2,501.68. See how this works?

Second, I have given 45 of my friends and family part ownership of this artwork. When you buy it, they relinquish their ownership and share in the profit. I know, I’m a nice guy. So they, and I, are betting on the market going up and someone out there ready to buy. As Picard used to say, “Make it so.”

Oh, here’s a link to my Square market place where you can purchase the artwork and then we’ll complete the transaction to your wishes. Just click the blue “Buy now” button and you are all set.

This is not a joke, despite what you might think

$2,500.00 Buy now

Save the Post Office

When I was growing up in Monett, MO in the late fifties, I had a job selling Grit newspapers. I had inherited the route from my cousin, Kyle. He had developed a customer base that covered the entire town, so on Friday after school, I’d get on my bike and start delivering the papers that had been dropped off at my house the previous afternoon by the postman (in those days, there weren’t any female postal carriers in Monett, as far as I know). I had 65 papers to distribute before noon on Saturday, because I had to get to the post office by then and purchase a postal money order to send to the Grit headquarters in Pennsylvania. Usually, in addition to the money order, I’d buy the latest stamps to add to my collection. In 1960, the price of a stamp was four cents and I got a nickel for every newspaper I sold. If I had had a good week collecting from my customers, I might also buy a “plate block” of stamps, a special 4-stamp set that had the number of the plate that was used to print the stamps in the margin. Plate blocks were, and are, a prized specimen for collectors. I recently pulled out the boxes of stamps and my old stamp albums and found that all those plate blocks I bought long ago are missing. Like my coin collection, I probably broke them up and used them on letters when I no longer thought I’d need them.

Because I was in the post office every week, I got to know the clerks and they would occasionally save a nice set of stamps for me, even though there were several other stamp collectors in my town at that time. Some of them were my friends. One of them, Stanley Clark, lived just a few doors down the street. His father owned a second-hand store and every now and then, he would acquire a bunch stamps at an auction or from someone who was selling household items. Stanley and I would pour through those, hoping to find an “inverted Jenny” or a “Penny Black,” both the Holy Grails of stamp collecting. Of course, we never did, but we always knew that one day one would turn up.

The post office and the public library were the two most sacred spaces for me in Monett. Like I said, I visited the one every Saturday, and most Saturdays, I’d stop by the other one on the way home. I’d fill my bicycle basket with books and records, and the stamps I’d purchase. Those experiences gave me a love for reading and an excellent knowledge of geography and history. I learned where Bhutan and Eritrea and Liechtenstein are from my stamp collection. Sadly, many of the countries I liked best then, because of their stamps, no longer exist, or they have changed their names because, happily, they gained their independence from their European colonizers. Ever hear of North Ingermanland or Ponta Delgada? If you are an avid stamp collector, you probably have.

All this is to say that the United States Postal Service was an important part of my life growing up and continues to be so, especially now. Postal workers have been some of the true heroes during this pandemic. We can allow a campaign crony of Donald Trump to destroy it. The post office is essential to democracy. Woody Guthrie knew who to fight against.