Story of the Day for Friday May 4, 2012
A Pickle for the Knowing Ones
Joseph said, “You meant to do evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
Timothy Dexter was deprived of a formal education. Born in Malden, Massachusetts in 1747, he worked the farm since he was eight. When he turned twenty, he gathered his life savings of eight dollars and moved to Newburyport. A few years later, he met a wealthy widow in her early thirties, and married her.
Timothy would soon learn that his contemporaries resented his newly acquired social status, and worked to ruin him. They encouraged him to invest in stocks and led him to buy large amounts of worthless Continental currency.
Once they realized his naivety, they offered outrageous “business tips.” One merchant told Dexter that the West Indies was desperately in need of warming pans and mittens. Poor Timothy, not realizing that the West Indies was a hot, tropical climate, bought 40,000 New England warming pans and 40,000 pairs of mittens, and shipped them to the West Indies.
Newcastle, England was the center of Great Britain’s coal mining industry. Businessmen urged Dexter to “carry coal to Newcastle.” Timothy hired scores of ships to sail across the Atlantic with inferior Virginia coal to sell to the coal mining district of England.
Dexter was not only a dim bulb, he was a bit of a goof. He took to calling himself “Lord Dexter,” and celebrated his brilliance by writing a book about himself, entitled: A Pickle for the Knowing Ones. He proclaimed, among other things, “Ime the first Lord in the younited States of A mercary Now of Newburyport it is the voise of the peopel and I can’t Help it and so Let it goue Now as I must be Lord there will foller many more Lords pretty Soune . . .” Lord Dexter neglected to include any punctuation in his book.
Joseph knew what it was like to have others envy and hate him and plot his harm. He was sent as a slave to a foreign land, was falsely charged with a crime and imprisoned.
It’s when we sit in our prisons, with rats gnawing at our toes, that we compose our most eloquent tirades about God’s unfairness.
But Joseph’s story wasn’t over. And neither is ours. God is able to collect all the nastiness of an evil world and use it for good in the end.
Timothy Dexter, who was tricked into buying worthless stock, found that the Hamilton funding system reinvigorated its value and made him a fortune. He sent warming pans to the West Indies – where they discovered they were ideal molasses scoops for making sugar. A fleet of Russian ships arrived in the West Indies at the same time his mittens did, and he sold them all at a healthy profit.
It turned out there was a miner’s strike at Newcastle when Lord Dexter’s coal shipments arrived, and he sold it all – making him one of the wealthiest nitwits on earth.
Oh, yeah – and his book. It’s so painfully awful, it’s now a valuable collector’s item.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)