Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Change Game--Has Nothing to Do With Obama

When I was little, my father would play a little game with me—Pick Up the Pennies. I would go around picking up spare change wherever I found it (since I was already low to the ground) and give it to Dad (hopefully before I put it in my mouth). This started as soon as I was walking well.

When I got older and understood a little math, the game changed—Roll the Coins. Dad would pick a specific coin type and the appropriate wrapper, then dump out all those coins onto the kitchen table. My job was to sort them into piles of 10, make enough piles of 10 to form a roll, then roll them into the wrapper. Nickels were sorted into piles of five.

Afternoon trips to the bank usually followed this. Dad would bring a funny little blue book in his back pocket, and give it to the bank lady. She would write and stamp in it, then we’d go home again.

When I got into junior high school, the game changed yet again--Guess the Weight of the Coin Jar. I was to hold the jar in my hand, weigh it, and determine if it felt like there enough coins inside to roll. He could tell if it was rolling time just by the weight of the coin containers, but I couldn’t. If I guessed yes, then the coins would get dumped out to roll. If I guessed no, then it would wait for another week or so. If I was wrong and the amount came up short, I had to make up the difference. If I had too many coins, I got to keep the difference.

By then, the little blue book was coming and going out of MY back pocket. The bank lady had written and stamped so much, it was time for a new book.

Now Dad is gone, but the game lives on in a more technological frame—with a coin counter. I don’t have to weigh and guess any more, but when the coin slots get full, I dump them out and roll them. It’s all spendable and bankable, and sometimes I surprise myself as the number of rolled coins stacks up awaiting deposit—I can have almost $20 worth of rolled coins in a little over a month!

Thanks, Dad. This is better than anything made by Parker Brothers.


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