Opinion: Pet Peeves


Sock It to ‘Em

By Mark D. Crantz

By Mark D. Crantz

As usual, I was going on my morning walk. Why? I’m not sure. But I think it was all those gym classes that frightened me into it. I remember my gym teacher saying, “Crantz, you better move faster than that, or you’re dead by sixth grade.” Well, I moved alright and made it to seventh grade.

Here I am this morning with sixth grade well behind me and my gym teacher dead. Not too far into my walk, I spy a shiny dime on the ground next to a parking meter. I’m not warmed up yet, and I think bending over to get a free dime could pull a muscle. Better to not tempt fate. I move along, hoping not to run into a quarter further along.

I think back to more limber days. I’d just bounce right down to pick up a penny. Heck, back then, with a penny, you could buy some candy. Now with inflation, I’m not sure if the penny hopped off the pavement and put itself in my pocket that I would keep it. Even if it was a dime or quarter, I think I would take evasive action to keep from pocketing it. Too much trouble requires too much muscle exertion.

Besides, too much change in your pockets weighs you down. Then the pants slip. “Hey, Crantz, your pants are riding low; you into hip hop? Love the look. I bet you can go potty fast by not having to pull the trousers down first. I’d still hang on to the medical alert necklace in case you pick up too much change and need to bend over to pull things up to hip-hop standards.”

One time near Woods Cove, I saw a small boy find a penny. He immediately put it in his mouth. I said, “Spit that out.” He looked at me. “I’m washing it.” I thought he’ll go far making dirty money clean. I persisted. “Give me that penny.” He shook his head no. I looked around for his parents. There weren’t any adults nearby. Now, I had to act like one. “The penny is going to make you sick.” He mumbled behind the wash, “Don’t care.” I was becoming frantic to pass this kid off to anyone. I blurted, “I’ll give you a dime for that penny.” He stopped washing for a second and mumbled, “A dime?” “Yes, I’ll give you a dime if you spit out that penny and give it to me.” He gave me the hand signal for higher. “Higher? Oh, okay. A quarter it is.” I gave him the quarter, and he spit the penny hard into my right eye. Later, I found out he was on a field trip with the Boys & Girls Club, where they must have business classes.

Then, like a bad penny, the kid came rolling back. He showed me the quarter and put it into his mouth. Signaled higher to me. I gave him a dollar. Before I knew it, I had the entire field trip putting quarters in their mouths and signaling higher. I quickly paid off the Boys & Girls Club and went to complain to the lifeguard. He signaled higher. I left to find a free beach.

My mother told me, “Find a penny, pick it up, and all day long, you’ll have good luck.” That made me realize that not picking up that shiny dime cost me ten days of good luck. That’s why the expression “Stop on a dime” is so important.

I was now at my walk’s halfway point. I nodded at the Main Beach pigeons. They nodded back like they knew me. I was heading back up the hill in front of ‘you still can’t get a room’ Hotel Laguna and ‘you don’t know which management to complain to about it.’ when I thought about one of my father’s favorite change stories. The little kids in his neighborhood were afraid to cross the railroad tracks to get to the candy store. At the railroad crossing were older teenage boys who would hold up the kids for money. The kids would say they had no money, but the teenagers made them turn out their pockets. The candy store change would fall out. Well, one day, the smallest kid got an idea. He split up his change and put it into his socks. The teenagers made the kids pull out their pockets. All the kids lost their money except the little one. But the teenagers had heard the jiggling and clanking from a ways off. They made the little guy jump up and down. “Where’s your money,” they asked him. “In my socks.” The teenagers said, “Yuck. Keep it. We don’t want your stinky money.”

I was almost back to the unpicked-up dime. Coming the other way was a woman I occasionally waved to. She stopped and picked up the dime. Oh well, finders keepers and all of that. She looks at the dime and puts it on top of the parking meter. I nod hello in passing and pick up the dime. I didn’t even have to bend over for it.

Now, that’s good luck.

Crantz tells the Indy that change is in the air. People prefer Bitcoin to regular change. There’s no bending over to get it.

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