April 12, 2023 –

The dictionary on my desk defines collateralize as providing something as collateral (to get the cash you need for a loan). The list includes a house, land, car, boat, and so forth — really, any tangible assets a lender will hold.

A short distance, three to four miles from our Ohio home, was a shopping mall. The tenants included Sears, JC Penny, and a large food court in the mall’s center. Hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, and pizza. The food was excellent. The food smell was that of a county fair.

On the way from the mall, I saw a service station that had gas on sale—a reasonable price. While we did not need gas, I stopped and filled up. After pumping the gas, I went inside to pay. The words of the operated startled me, “We only take cash!” No problem. I reached into my pocket for the ten-dollar bill—no, ten.

We faced a dilemma without cash and the station operator refusing to take a credit card. He would not let us drive away with a promise to return. I looked at my wife, and she looked at me. We needed to provide something as collateral to get the cash we needed. She proposed she remain at the gas station while I returned to the mall and used our ATM card to get the ten dollars.

That is what we did. The owner let me drive away if my wife sat in the station.

The ATM popped out the ten dollars. I returned to the station and reclaimed my wife. We agreed to carry cash and not collateralize with her. While collateral can include a house, car, boat, and so forth — It does not include my wife.