Over the last few years, Vice President Joe Biden has popularized the refrain, “Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” As the title suggests, the dark, epistolary comedy “Constant Worth” by Jon Willer (Paper Darts) explores the values shown through personal economics, both in the present and historically.
The story begins with a simple request made upon the school-age narrator and her friend, Becky:
“When the Worths got picked to go on Family Double Dare, they asked me and Becky if we’d do their dogs’ insulin shots. Mrs. Worth had asked around and heard we were responsible kids.”
We’re in a world of diabetic dogs and families taking time away to participate in Nickelodeon game shows. This is 90s American suburbia, and Willer further reveals both the privileged and comic nature of the narrator and her time as she decides whether or not to agree to the request.
“I didn’t really know the Worths, but I didn’t like them. They were stuck up. Evander and Rhea went to the magnet school, and Becky and I went to Jeane Kirkpatrick…I fenced one bout against Rhea at Regionals. There was this new referee who mixed up the hand signal for Halt, and I got a totally BS yellow card for taking off my mask on the piste…Rhea won from the penalty hit. When I saw that trophy on their entertainment center I almost left.”