Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pennies and Nickels

Creme de Cocoa

When at the racetrack, one spends several hours thinking about money. How much to wager with each race, how much you won, how much you lost, how much life costs, how a big win could change everything. And so on. Do you tip the waitress the full 20% even when the food is tasteless and the drinks watered down to practically their bare essentials? And so on.

While negotiating the final distribution of the dinner bill, and contemplating the having and not having of cash, recently unemployed but with a life nicer than most of us will ever know, Bill meditated for a while on the concept of inflation and how it's surprising that we haven't yet rid ourselves of small denominations such as pennies and nickels. We nodded and walked downstairs to experience the last three races outside, and not through a big glass window complimented by a close up on a tv screen.

Minutes later I went to the window to make the next bet, which left me looking through my wallet for forty cents. I came up with a quarter and a dime, but couldn't find a nickel. I put another dime on the counter and the woman said, "We don't do nickels. Or pennies." It made all those dimes I had been getting all night for change make sense, and easily gave her four dimes instead. Bill's desire had come true, and so quickly.

The husband, reflecting on the properties of a nickel, said that when nickels gather in his pocket they form a wad the size of a golf ball, swinging around, changing his rhythm, while dimes stay neatly aligned, causing no pain.

I would miss nickels and pennies. I think rounding up and down would drive me crazy and my excel-related ocd would careen out of control.

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