Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We're In The Money

While doing a little housework the other day I took it upon myself to clean out my walk in closet. Like most guys, such a chore is something we put off as long as we can. Everything worked out great until it occurred to me that I couldn't reach my shirts.

That wouldn't have been a problem except that the shirts were the closest items to the door. Stacking boxes filled with everything from old bills to car magazines may be convenient at the moment, but three years' worth of accumulation precludes long term reason and accountability. There are probably thousands of stories lurking in there. One of the nicer ones was that, after spending eight hours organizing everything in there awhile back, I amassed some one-hundred eight dollars' worth of loose change. That was wonderful, except that among the coins were only three quarters. Anyone who lives in an apartment without washer/dryer hookups knows that quarters equal gold. In my case, that gold will keep me in clean clothes for a year.

That brings me to the next point. Eighty dollars of that change was in pennies. Pennies. Eight thousand of them lurking in old model car boxes, receipt folders, and coat pockets from my having pitched them in a never-ending "close enough for government work" jag. I mention that it took me eight hours to clean the closet out. And hour and a half of that time was spent counting and organizing coins. I didn't realize how heavy pennies can be until I lugged them to my car, flirting with a massive coronary as I traversed the hill leading to my car, en route to a nearby supermarket's penny converting contraption.

My gosh. I learn something new every day. That day I learned that it takes forty-two minutes to load eight thousand pennies into such a machine. That, of course, doesn't take into account the extra time you'll spend waving an employee down whenever several hundred of them jam the machine. While Jenny called "Nouveau Riche Inc." for tech support, I took advantage of the moment by reading a small, free local paper to read about the latest goings-on with the Studebaker display at the transportation museum. I was almost to the part about the car's amazing "hill holder" when Jenny's assistant approached, informing her that she was needed to settle a dispute over Downy With Fabric Softener. Another fifteen minutes later my patience was rewarded with a receipt for my hard-tossed money. The supermarket offers the option of either redeeming the receipt for cash or as a voucher toward a purchase. Realizing that I'm not a Downy kind of guy, I decided to forego that option. Besides, Burger King wasn't far away and I had a date with a Whopper Combo Meal.

Before that happened, however, I had to swing by the bank, thankful that I didn't bring all of those pennies with me. That much copper was probably tempting lightning as it was. Pulling into the highly coveted Lane Two, I had quite a story -nay, a saga- for a teller whose only source of interest was a clock reading, "It's five. Go home, Danny". Oh well. Money for an electric bill and an early dinner for me.

It's a great feeling whenever you have a meal which you earned. It's even better when you can now reach everything in your closet. I cannot express the relief I felt after the whole thing was over, especially knowing that now I wouldn't have to risk tripping over a TV cable every time I reached for an issue of Car And Driver.

A penny for your thoughts.

I had eight thousand.

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