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<title>232 sand dollars </title>
<p>
When I was 22, I lived alone on the <a href="http://images.google.com/search?tbm=isch&amp;hl=en&amp;q=oregon+coast">Oregon Coast</a> for a year, just <a href="/15-years">practicing</a>, <a href="/music">recording</a>, <a href="/sammy-cahn">dreaming</a>, and going for 10-mile runs in the sand.
</p>
<p>
I had been coming to this beach since I was a baby, and had spent hundreds of hours walking every bit of it.
</p>
<p>
As a kid, our rare golden treasure was to find an unbroken <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_dollar">sand dollar</a> shell on the beach.
It had happened maybe five times in my life.
</p>
<p>
But that year, one cold spring day, when I had the whole beach to myself, I was out for a run, and I found one!
A few minutes later, I found another!
30 seconds later, another, and another.
I carried them in my pocket at first, but then had to take off my shirt to use it as a bag.
</p>
<p>
By the time I got home, I had collected 232 unbroken sand dollar shells.
</p>
<p>
I put them all out in the sun to dry, amazed at my good luck.
</p>
<p>
I bragged to my family.
This had to put me in our beach-house history book.
</p>
<p>
I tried to think of all the things I could do with 232 sand dollars.
</p>
<p>
After two days, the excitement wore off.
I realized I wasn't ever going to do anything with them.
Now it was just stupid for me to keep all of these sand dollars sitting there doing nothing.
</p>
<p>
The excitement was in finding them, not keeping them.
</p>
<p>
That weekend was a big 3-day holiday weekend, and the beach was going to be filled with tourists.
</p>
<p>
So Saturday morning at 6am, I took all 232 sand dollars, and went for a long 10-mile run on the beach, tossing them one at a time, very spaced out, so all the tourist kids could each find a few.
</p>
<p>
By the end of my run, as I was heading home, I got the quiet satisfaction of watching two kids scream with excitement at finding one.
</p>
<hr />
<p>
Honestly, I had forgotten this story, but my friend <a href="http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Kihnel/100000912499386">Ben</a> told it to my wife last time I saw him, saying he thought it was the one story that summed up who I am.
</p>
<p>
He made me promise to post it here.
</p>
<img src="http://sivers.org/images/sanddollar.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mistygarrick/268920605/" />
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