January 4, 2012

January 4, 2012

Pastimes of Auld Lang Syne, Day 2: A Treasure’s Trove

The open of a new year is a good time to look forward at all you hope to accomplish during the next 365 days. Unfortunately, since the world is ending this year, there’s not a lot to look forward to. So I’ve decided to look back instead, writing about various phenomena I pursued as a youth. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. This is sorta like that.

Everybody knows the Where’s Waldo? books. And the I Spy series. You pore over a complicated picture until you spot the man in glasses, or the seashell, or what have you. Your reward is that satisfaction that you found that little scarf-wearing mofo.

Now imagine if Waldo was instead a woodland creature who could potentially lead you to $1 million of jewels. That was “A Treasure’s Trove.”

Released in 2004, “A Treasure’s Trove” was a semi-oblique tale of woodland creatures. I don’t think I ever actually read the book itself. I must’ve heard about it on the internet or TV. The hook was brilliant, of course: anyone could follow the clues to find one of twelve tokens hidden around the United States. Each token could be traded for a jeweled insect (ladybug, dragonfly, etc.) worth LOTS of money. We were told that the tokens were on public property, and not so hidden that you’d need to risk life or limb to get them. It’s like Pirates of the Caribbean, but with less rum.

Sadly, I did not find any of the tokens. Many of them were hidden on public park land, and I try to avoid the outside.

The whole venture was funded by the book’s author, who also financed it. He made millions in software development, apparently, so this was just a fun side gig. You or I might build birdhouses from balsa wood. He self-publishes books and commissions jewelry. Not surprisingly, the company went bankrupt a few years ago. Turns out you have to sell a lot of semi-oblique tales of woodland creatures to recoup $1 million.

Who knows where the 12 winners are now? Do they still own the jeweled bugs? Were they sold on eBay? Pawned? Lost in a high-stakes game of Battleship? Who can say?

0 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke: