written by grayson queen
So, you throw some change in your cup holder after you pay for your food at the drive-thru. You eat in your car on the way to wherever, and you finish. The cheap paper cup gets left in the holder for two, maybe three, days and whatever was inside leaks out.
Now, you have yourself a handful of sticky change. This is the change you avoid using, as it’s far too pointless to wash small pieces of metal.
The change sits there.
You even go as far as to use your debit card for one dollar purchases just so you don’t have to use the change. It’s embarrassing– handing sticky change to an unsuspecting cashier. You’d consider giving it to a bum, but you have the distinct impression he’d say something.
You don’t need the hassle or else you would have washed the change.
So, a little soap, a little water and– presto!– your best friend walks in on you scrubbing a quarter. Now you have something to explain.
It would probably start out like, “Uh… I…,” then move onto, “It was… so…”
If you have a good friend he’ll say, “I’ll loan you some cash if you need it.” If he’s your average friend, he’ll laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more.
Then months later at a party, someone will ask, “Do you wash your money?”
You’ll ask, “Where did you hear that?” and the rumor is born.
Somewhere down the line, the Secret Service is kicking down your door and arresting you for money laundering.
That, of course, is the worst case scenario.
The best case scenario isn’t great either. It starts with you rushing to get to somewhere because you said you’d be there at a certain time.
The parking situation is horrific. Whatever this event is, everyone is apparently doing it.
After about five minutes of circling the block, you spot an open space. You hit the accelerator in a rush to stake your claim. And even though you’re absolute terrified of parallel parking, you go for it. This is how desperate you are.
You’re already running late. Five minutes late, but late. The reason you’re here is because of a girl, so time is critical.
It would be nice to say that you’re being romantic. It’s not gentlemanly to keep a lady waiting. That’s not it at all, though. It’s just that you’re collecting brownie points and you are currently in a deficit. There’s no counting how many times you’ve flaked, or showed up an hour after you said you’d be there. You don’t need to have an argument over this.
You don’t need the hassle or you would have washed your change.
You make it into the space unscathed. No bumpers dinged or car alarms sounded. You’re mighty proud of yourself when you step from the car. There may even be a swagger in your step.
Except, you’ve parked in front of a meter and you have no change.
Trust me, you don’t.
You’ve looked twice. You’ve checked your pants, your coat and the sidewalk. Nothing, save for the change in the cup holder.
Ah, this could be the most opportune time to use it. No bum to berate you. No cashier to sneer at you. Whoever it is that goes around collecting the contents of this meter will never know it was you.
“Who’s the culprit?” They’ll ask.
“I don’t know,” you’d say.
For good measure you decide to use all the sticky change so that it will never haunt you again. But when the first quarter goes in, it doesn’t exactly go in. There’s no tell-tale clink as there should be when it drops. As a matter of fact, when you peer inside the little slot you can see the ridged edge of the quarter.
Hit it once or twice with your hand, see if that works.
Taking another quarter, you jam it into the slot.
Nothing. No clink and now you’re two quarters in.
Okay, well. Theoretically speaking, if you put enough change in the slot the first one should go through.
On the third coin you run into trouble. It won’t go into the slot. You try. You shove. You hit and kick.
You kick again. And maybe, just maybe, these karate barrages have loosened the coins up.
Maybe, if you can kick the meter hard enough, all your troubles will be solved.
A lifetime of watching bad martial arts movies comes into play. From a couple steps back you take a running leap, hitting the meter square in the face.
The coins don’t give.
The metal pole doesn’t give.
The cement gives.
Like the roots of a great oak the meter rips up out of the ground. Its head smashes through your car window. The alarm goes off and now everyone is looking at you.
They’re whispering, “crazy,” and, “what’s his problem?” Lucky for them, they don’t have to be concerned citizens making a call to the police because a meter maid has pulled up in that cute little electric golf cart.
Only the meter maid isn’t so much a maid as a huge muscle-bound man who looks seriously annoyed.
He doesn’t have to say a thing. He knows that you know you’re in trouble.
The two of you stare at the uprooted meter. All you can think about is the argument you’re going to have with the girl. When you tell her why you didn’t show up she’ll more than likely say, “That is the most ridiculous story I’ve ever heard.”
And that’s the most ridiculous story I’ve ever heard. I laugh every time I read it, and I hope it made you laugh, too. I think it’s my favorite piece my husband ever wrote, and not just because it was the first I ever heard him read aloud.
Are you a dab hand with humor writing? What do you do with sticky change?