What Would You Do for Money?

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I share something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life. There’s an old joke that goes something like this:

A man approaches a beautiful woman and asks her, “Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?” She says, “A million dollars? Sure.”

He says, “Would you do it for 50 bucks?” The woman says, “50 bucks? What kind of woman do you think I am?!”

He answers, “I think we’ve established what kind of woman you are. Now we’re just haggling over price.”

When I was visiting Las Vegas–specifically the “Strip”–I saw a lot of interesting people. There were people dressed in costume, such as Darth Vader and Chewbacca, the Transformers Bumblebee, a gladiator, and Freddie Kruger (who looked so real *shudder*). There were artists and street performers, including a man with a karaoke machine and a microphone who sang Motown as well as I’ve ever heard. There were people handing out flyers for “personal entertainment” later that evening, including photos to advertise. All trying to make a buck.

But it was this guy that made me wonder about what we will do for money:


Of course I’m not the only one who has wondered what people will do to make money.

The question is raised when discussing immigration policy. Living near the border between the U.S. and Mexico, I am all too aware that illegal immigrants come here and do work that many Americans don’t do quite as readily. (And having seen some of the destitute areas in Mexico, I don’t blame them for crossing and trying to get a job here.) Are those who come from such difficult circumstances more willing to do back-breaking work?

This was also the theme of the series Dirty Jobs, in which host Mike Rowe demonstrated what disgusting things people do for a paycheck. In particular, I recall thinking that I would have to be pretty desperate to work at the cloth diaper cleaning service. Cleaning my own babies’ poop was quite enough, thank you very much.

Movies have also broached this subject. From Scarlett O’Hara (Vivian Leigh) in Gone with the Wind (1939) wearing curtains as a dress to impress Rhett Butler, to Edna (Sally Field) in Places in the Heart (1984) picking cotton until her fingers bled, to Fantine (Anne Hathaway) in the recent Les Miserables (2012) being driven to prostitution to feed her child. And then there is the joke mentioned above played out in the movie Indecent Proposal (1993), in which Demi Moore sleeps with Robert Redford for $1 million.

The subject even arises in my parenting. While my sons have certain regular chores they do no matter what, others are on more of a work-for-fee basis.

“Son, will you wash my car?”

“How much are you paying me?”

I’ve learned that the correct answer is not “a kiss.” He wants cold hard cash.

Sometimes when I see authors selling their books for $.99, I wonder about this issue as well. Did they really spent hours, days, months in creation and anguish simply to sell their product for less than a soda at McDonald’s? Sold in sufficient volume, this may work out well.

But rather than any of these money-making endeavors, would it be easier at times to just take a swift kick to the groin, double over in pain for a minute or two, and collect your $20?

What would you do for money?

I know what I wouldn’t do for money, even a million dollars. I would not hurt anyone in my family. I would not renounce my morals. I would not enter a room filled with roaches. I would not offer my private parts for injury.

I consider most types of work to be honorable, so I don’t think any type of work is beneath me as long as it doesn’t assault my conscience. For a paycheck, I have cleaned public toilets, mopped up child vomit, picked up half-eaten food, and worked for lawyers. See? Nothing beneath me.

However, I am quite thankful at the moment that my jobs are wife, mother, writer. Speaking of which, here is my…

ROW Update


  • Complete full rewrite of SHARING HUNTER. I mostly walked around brainstorming ideas last week, but I finally wrote 757 words of a different opening.
  • Work with editors on short story for Orange Karen AnthologyDone.
  • Revisit GRACE & FIRE (1st novel) and run through one more round of edits. I want to wait for a bit while I focus on other projects.


  • Write one full short story. I purposefully let my story sit this week, so I can get some distance and approach it for editing next week.
  • Write blog posts for Sundays (including ROW80 updates) and Wednesdays. Posted Embarrassing My Kids and #ROW80 on Sunday and If the Brownings Tweeted on Wednesday.
  • Start plotting sequel to GRACE & FIRE (working title: HOPE & ASHES). Nope. Still working on research.


Non-writing goals

  • Exercise twice a week. I watched a Galapagos turtle pass me yesterday. It was more motivated to move than I. *sigh*
  • Take a true Sabbath–no working and time with God and family one day a week. Yes!

I’m not seeing as much editing and writing progress as I’d like, but some of my goals are going well. Now be sure to visit my fellow ROWers–an awesome group of writers! You can find a list of them HERE.

What odd or painful tasks have you done for a paycheck? What weird jobs or ways to make money have you seen others do?*

*Reminder: I try to keep this a PG to PG-13 kind of place.