March 30, 2023

Budgetary Fears Overblown


Money is like an arm or leg. Use it or lose it. —Henry Ford

To hear city leaders tell it, Sedona is in for some rough financial weather what with perpetually tatterdemalion road construction, high-ceilinged gasoline prices that could scare away Tourons, not to mention store closures due to scandalously high rents and national and international chains gobbling up local shops and stores.

What’s clearly needed is a major endeavor to support and sustain local businesses—for openers; meantime, we need fewer people who contend that what’s needed is thinking out of the box.

What box? What if the box is of our own creation, merely an excuse to do nothing but convene another meeting?

Einstein, who didn’t believe in boxes, insisted to the end that imagination is more meaningful than knowledge. That’s where Sidney comes in. Gentle reader, you may know him. You see he is one of the last surviving locals along with Hubbell and Keeber, none of whom believe in boxes.

In a totally exclusive interview conducted in the Pink Nectar Café conference room, lightly guarded by entertaining ladies from the Valley of the Lions near Page Springs, Sidney had much to reveal. He revealed that what Sedona needs is a brand new currency —nothing too large at first, just tens, twenties and probably a few fifties.

Quietly toiling behind the scenes, Sidney had tapped into an inheritance and raised the money to cover the cost of printing the banknotes; in the meantime, discussions were said to be underway with a bank and the Chamber of Commerce to make the appropriate arrangements.

Sensing a moment of befuddlement approaching, I peppered Sidney with a flock of probing questions, such as when did he realize that he had a mental health issue?

Dismissing my suggestion that he should see somebody with a high degree out of hand, he stated that perhaps his idea was too simple for my multifaceted mind to absorb at just one sitting. So he told me to secure for him a glass of the celebrated Pink Nectar being served on the premises, put down my pencil, turn off my trusty tape recorder and listen, for once.

Sounding like a true patriot, Sidney said, that put simply, his purpose is to strengthen the local economy, to insulate it from the turbulent global economy and push people to think globally, but buy locally. After quaffing the contents of a crystal goblet, he revealed, “My plan is to see local people walk into bank X and purchase 11 Sidney’s for $10. The idea is that outfits like Biddles will eat the 10 percent discount and use the same Sidneys to pay their own bills.”

Floored momentarily, your loyal correspondent asked, “You are naming the new currency after yourself?”

“Righto,” he replied in his best Cambridge accent. “Why the hell not? People name mountains, bridges, cars and schools after themselves, don’t they?”

He went on to say that depending on the denomination, the bills would not just have his name upon all the bills, but those of various celebrities in the community who have left us and departed for the Great Gate through which all of us must pass–unless, of course, any of us supported the latest war crimes. For them, there is a different destination. (Listen and sometimes you can hear the wails from that place “down there.”)

Moving back to the point of the interview, Sidney said that locals can buy all that they need–except sheets of course–including groceries, fuel, booze, dentistry, all but items available only on the Internet. Sidney predicted in the waning moments of the interview that another revolution would unfold once the Sidneys were in circulation all around and everywhere: A return to service in the Sedona community.

Predicted he: “I see long lines of people lined up at special windows to trade bills; I seeing people trading a Beeler for a Morrie; a Winfred for a Babbitt; a Douglas for a Rigby and like that. I see city coffers swelling with sales tax revenue. I see half the City staff sent to Bumble Bee, Arizona to hold perpetual spa retreats.”

Besides jobs, Sidney sees a return of loyalty, too, and special remedies for those afflicted with the infectious greed disease. “Money often costs too much, but not Sidneys.” At that, his pearl-handled cell phone began playing an Easter hymn and he took a call from the head of a local bank. Time will tell whether Sidney is all hat and no cattle. But he just might have a herd. Of ideas, anyway.

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