Percy Where Are You?

Back when I was a kid, there was a column in the newspaper written by a man, I think his name was Percy, who was giving away all his money. I may be wrong in my memories here, but I believe he had split his fortune up and given some to his wife and some to his kids and decided to give what was left away to total strangers.

Now the way people could get this money was by writing him a letter and if he thought you had a good reason, he would give you the money. I assume he got hundreds or maybe even thousands of letters. People asked for everything from new eyeglasses, to plastic surgery, to a brand new car. I guess everyone 'needs' different things.

I was always fascinated by the column. Percy seemed like Santa Claus for adults. When all else failed you could ask Percy and maybe he would help you. The strange thing was I never saw any letters that dealt with life or death issues, although there may have been some. Requests where usually more of the my life would be wonderful if only... variety.

 Sometimes Percy was really nice and helpful. Like if someone wanted glasses and couldn't afford it he would send them all the money. Other times he would agree to send part of the money and ask the letter writer to come up with the rest of it him or her self. Other times  Percy got very tough-love and refused to give anything.   Occasionally he would berate the writer for thinking they needed that particular thing at that particular time.   I used to love reading it wondering who he would help and what he would say.

I  don't know why the column stopped. Maybe Percy ran out of money or patience. Maybe he just got tired because people seemed to be missing the point. Maybe I missed the point. I do tend to overanalyze things sometimes. Perhaps it was simply a grand experiment that either succeeded or failed or simply ran its course.

Whatever the reasons, we sure  could use Percy today.  He had a way of seeing what were true requirements for life not just imagined ones. We could send him our letters asking for rent money or a new car,  or a trip around the world for our health.  Percy would cut through the bullshit of what people really need and what they only 'think' they need. Of course now, the economy has done that for lots of us, but somehow Percy did it with a bit more panache. 


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