Penny for your thoughts? In fact, I’ll give you an entire sack of ’em for just one random idea. I’ll also accept pithy musings, vapid cogitations and even brain farts. Yes, you read that correctly: Nailsbails is now accepting brain farts. Why am I so eager to unload my pennies for a measly puff of cranium exhaust? BECAUSE THEY’RE WORTHLESS. Now, before you grab your Ben Bernanke Cricket Bat, you know, the one with his faced glazed onto the sweet spot, and get all indig’ent on my behind for belittling a legitimate form of American currency, consider the following: it costs the US Mint 2.41 cents to make one penny. Let me repeat that. It. Costs. 2.41. Cents. To. Make. One. Penny. [turntable scratch, screeching car brakes, power down sound fx, etc.] Question: when was the last time you used a penny in a transaction? Keep in mind that paying your little brother/sister to keep their mouth shut about the party you threw/priceless antique you broke/bank you robbed for a couple of shiny “moneys” (pennies) DOES NOT count. If you can’t remember, congratulations, you exist in the proper dimension. So if no one is using pennies for anything other than scratching lottery tickets and weighing down tiny receipts so they don’t blow away in a sudden gust of house draft, why are we spending nearly one and half times their actual worth to produce them? Isn’t there a big deficit or something? Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys. Listen. Guys. STOP MAKING PENNIES. Boom-problem solved. Sorry, Abe.
It’s closing time. I didn’t start working as the manager of a creperie or shoe store or shoe store/creperie combo store. Although remind me to revisit that someday soon. That’s a fantastic idea. No, I am referring to the Big Moment Wife and I have been working towards for the past 12 months. Namely, saving money (big thankful hug to Father and Mother-in-Law for making that possible!), looking for potential homes, finding our home, putting an offer in, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, securing a loan, waiting, waiting, waiting, freaking out about all the potential homeownership disasters we’re inheriting, waiting, and, finally, scribbling our names on 5,700 pieces of paper to get a set of keys. AND JUST LIKE THAT, we have our very own street address. That address happens to come with four walls and a roof, which is a nice bonus. Honestly, if I knew what a long, arduous process homebuying was before we started on this insane journey, I probably would have purchased a motor home on a plot of government testing ground in the desert and called it a day. Sure, there are a few disadvantages to buying property in areas where bombs and heavy artillery are tested on a daily basis, but you don’t have to deal with realtors, lawyers, bankers and above all, the mountains of paperwork associated with conventional real estate. Am I thrilled to be a homeowner? Yes. Am I also seeing stars and feel like my brain just passed a stone? Yes. Where’s the Tylenol?
The Afternoon of a Check Writer
Check this out. Get it? I’m writing you a check, so I said check this out. Do you see what I did there? It’s called wordplay. Google it. But don’t try to tango with this cowboy. I am very, very, very, very, very good at using words. For example, I just used five very’s in a row without so much as batting a single eyelash. Besides being impossible, batting a single eyelash is an outward indication that somebody’s confidence is waning. Ergo my confidence IS NOT waning. Anyway, as usual, I’ve gotten way off topic. I came here today to talk to you about checks, and how much I love writing them. Strange, I know. You would think that writing a check would be a painful, even demoralizing exercise. After all, you are signing away a portion of your acorn stockpile (money) every time you Hancock that bottom line. Me? I find writing checks to be exciting and visceral; it makes me feel distinguished. To wit: I am able to purchase goods and/or services by simply writing my name on a piece of paper. Do you know who else pays for things by writing their name on pieces of paper? Titans of Industry, that’s who. That’s right: yours truly is rubbing elbows with Robber Barons, Steel Magnates and Ponzi Schemers every time he whips out the checkbook and ballpoint pen. You can tell a lot about a person by looing at the company they keep. Which is why you shouldn’t judge me for writing a check to purchase this football video game at a seedy electronics store (I’m out of cash).
The Riddle of the Sale
I’m not sold. And I will probably never be, for that matter. That’s because I don’t trust salespeople farther than I can throw them, which is usually only a few inches, depending on how tired I am and/or how heavily armed store security is. I guess I just was not made for high pressure sales situations – I hate negotiating, plus those pre-fab chairs they sink you into are more uncomfortable than boulders. Boulders that are radioactive and covered in spikes. Just in case you couldn’t tell already, I recently sat through two sales pitches. One was for a gym membership, and the other for a printer (why, yes, I do have an exciting life). In both cases, the salesperson did not look me in the eye once, and kept attempting to latch on to some vague commonality that the two of us shared, no doubt in an effort to cover one of the tenants of the sleazy sales pitch: Convince Your Mark That You Are Also Human. “Oh, you drive to work? I too own a lawnmower. Speaking of which, there will be a processing fee of $49.99. Do you like music?” Where’s an agent when I need one? If athletes and celebrities have an agent for every stick of deodorant they sell, why can’t us Normals have an agent that represents our interests in everyday sales situations? I would happily pay an agent 10%, or a box of ice cream sandwiches (whichever comes first) to negotiate my terms on a one year gym membership, or waive the useless store-bought protection plan that is offered to me every time I purchase a stapler. I assure you, I am 100% serious about this. So, any agents out there? I’m thinking of buying a couch.
The Tipping News
Here’s a tip. No, really, I’m tipping you, as in “here’s four crumpled dollars for your trouble.” Granted, I don’t know why I’m tipping you, but I’ve become so used to the bizarre custom that now if anyone so much as looks at me I shove cash into their hand. I guess it all started when Wife and I stayed in a fancy hotel during a pit stop on our cross country road trip. Sure, the hotel was nice, but dealing with the constant stress of knowing who, when, and what to tip was almost too much to bear (this is not a turn of phrase – we are traveling with a pet bear and, like me, he was very confused by all the tipping). Based on my most recent experience dealing with hotel staff, here are the kinds of services expected to fetch a cash tip: opening doors, wearing a fez, ringing tiny bells, lifting lids, smiling, maintaining eye contact, pressing buttons, and cleaning rooms destroyed by cranky pet bears. Indeed, the art of tipping is so subtle and nuanced that I stopped keeping track and just started handing money to people in the hallway. I’m pretty sure I tipped a baby. I may have even tucked a dollar bill into the soil of a potted plant in the lobby. One thing’s for certain: this insanity must come to an end! Can’t we stop tipping people in the service industry altogether and instead pay them larger salaries? That would be a good idea, right? Oh, you’re agreeing with me. Here’s another tip.