As I was getting out of my parked car to head into my office building for work this morning, I noticed a peculiar sight: The car next to mine had fifty cents on its roof. These two quarters were not on the hood of the car, or the windshield; they were right there on the top of the car, directly above the passenger side window. (They were both heads-side-up, in case that’s important to anyone.) I’ve seen random coins on people’s cars in those other spots, but never on the roof like these quarters were.
Now, in this world of “haves” and “have-nots,” I am, and always have been, a have-not. I’ve never had more money than I know what to do with. I’ve quite often had less money than I know what to do with. Far, far less. I’ve done it all: Robbing Peter to pay Paul, dipping into the vacation savings, overdrafting my checking account so often, my bank wants to rename the fee after me, etc. Always feeling like I’m a heartbeat away from skid row – that’s how I describe being a have-not.
I know that half a dollar wouldn’t go very far towards securing my financial future, but it’d be at least 50 cents more in my pocket than what I started the day with. I’m from the days when 50 cents could buy me the latest issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. And while 50 cents can’t even buy a candy bar these days, if someone walked up to me and said, “hey, you want 50 cents?” I’d reply, “Sure,” and take it.
Anyway, these two quarters on the roof of someone else’s car sparked many questions: How did they get there? How long have they been there? Is this a prank, and they’re glued to the roof, so that when I went to pick them up, someone would jump out from behind a bush with a camera, pointing and laughing? And if it is a prank, who the hell would think it’s funny?
I didn’t take the quarters. Not because I thought I was getting Punk’d, but because of a thing called pride. Truthfully, I don’t have a lot of that, either, but I can do a superb job of faking it. Meaning, it’s easy for me to pretend I’m too proud to take 50 cents off of someone else’s car. What if it was four quarters? Still wouldn’t take ’em. What if it was four rolls of quarters? Prrrobably not. Fifty dollars? Well, now we’re definitely getting into “Punk’d” territory.
Of course, if this money had been on the ground, I’d’ve snatched it up without a second thought.