The Friday Fillip

Though my father didn’t name me Autolycus[tippy title=”Autolycus”] My father named me Autolycus; who
being, as I am, littered under Mercury, was likewise
a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles.

Winter’s Tale, Act 4, Scene 3 [/tippy], I, too, am something of a “snapper-up of unconsidered trifles,” as anyone who reads Friday Fillips will agree. It’s often the little things, the throw-aways, that prove to be, if not treasures, then sources of delight.

Take comic books. Yes, my mother, too, threw them away, in my case while I was away at university pondering matters of great moment. Those slim, cheap — “trashy” — books were, at a dime a copy, meant for consumption and the garbage heap. Yet, there were those wise enough to have “snapped up” these insignificant chromatomes. And for that I’m grateful, because I just purchased ten of the classics as a Christmas gift for my seven-year-old grandson, who is having trouble grasping why he should bother reading much. Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern… tease ‘im with trifles and he’ll be hooked. I hope.

And only yesterday on the CBC I heard mention of one of the all-time great trifles of my childhood, another that I failed to hang on to. We ate Quaker Puffed Rice back then (never did like the way it refused to sink beneath the milk) and for a time you could send away for a genuine deed to one square inch of the Klondike.

Click on image to enlarge.

At one point, I must have been a land baron, with holdings of perhaps seven or eight of these plots — all, alas, now decomposing in some landfill.

It turns out that, according to sources in Yukon at least, any right and title I may have had is now gone:

Not only do these people not own the land now. They never did, because each individual deed was never formally registered. The Klondike Big Inch Land Co., an Illinois subsidiary established to handle the cereal’s land affairs, has gone out of business. And anyway, the Canadian government repossessed all the land back in 1965 for nonpayment of $37.20 in property taxes.

The property lawyer in me still believes that this is all nonsense and that the land is mine, all mine. I’ve even figured out (roughly) where my heriditament is, just above Dawson:

View Larger Map

Now I only need to raise the capital to get there and to stay long enough to see justice done. Donations welcome. Every trifle helps.


  1. My parents took me panning for gold near Dawson as a child. I kept the fragments of gold in a pill bottle for the longest time – which obviously I’d now like to return to you.

    Unfortunately, I think my pill bottle of gold might be sitting next to your many land deeds in a landfill somewhere. Mothers! :)

  2. Ah! I as in Dawson last year, on a side trip from Alaska. Looked like your plot of land was still there, undeveloped. You might have a good shot at it, Simon.

  3. Make sure you visit Diamond Tooth Gerties for a single malt and quick hand of hold em.