I got a paycheck without doing any work. That hasn't happened since I quit the fast-food job I had in college.

Twelve-hundred bucks from Lady Liberty, just for residing between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean (and for not living in Canada or Latin America).

They're calling it a stimulus check.

Of course, the money once belonged to me. All the government did was hold it hostage for a while, then give it back. Uncle Sam: "I'll give back the $1,200 I took from you if you file your taxes."

They're like hard-core regifters with these stimulus checks. We are the gifter when we pay taxes to the government. They then regift the taxes — not to someone else — but right back to us, the gifter and regiftee. Nonetheless, when the check came in the mail my regiftee eyes lit up like Edison's light bulb.

Actually, the money was probably going to go toward the cost of running the government, just like all taxes. Though that would probably mean the stimulus check was cut via a loan from the Social Security program. If so, I should probably should just put it toward my retirement fund because that's where it came from.

Since the United States is in a quasi-recession, my gut tells me to save the stimulus check for hard times. Yet economists are telling me to blow it on random junk so I can help pull America out of a recession. In my college economics class, my gut used to talk to me while my economics professor lectured. I'd satisfy both by eating gummy bears while I took notes. Maybe I should buy $1,200 worth of gummy bears with my stimulus check to keep my gut and the economists happy.

Or maybe this is a time to be a true patriot. Perhaps I should return my stimulus check to the government. I could send it back with a Post-it note that says, "I'd like this to go toward new hand towels at the White House." Maybe I could even request to have my initials embroidered on them.

Could you imagine? I'd go down in history! One hundred years from now, kids would be reading in their textbooks about the man who gave his stimulus check back to the government.

"Ask not what money your country can give you — ask what money you can give your country," is a phrase I would coin.

Maybe those future textbooks would have a picture of me striding across the White House lawn, holding an American flag in one hand and a $1,200 gift certificate to Bed, Bath & Beyond in the other.


Rock Mitchell lives in Orem and authors the blog rockmitchell.blogspot.com.steve