KEEP THE CHANGE

 

So maybe you’ve noticed over the past few months the entire world has turned upside down on us. It has brought us such novelties as not being allowed in a bank without a mask, earworms in everyone’s brain of Happy Birthday as a result of washing hands every three and a half minutes and, of course, finally coming to the startling realization that your partner or spouse can be really annoying!

In addition to all of these little annoyances, we also have a national coin shortage. We’re not buying anything so there are no coins in circulation. As a point of full disclosure, I have a massive collection that I am loathe to part with. Why?  Allow me to rip the bandage off and air it out for you.

Sure, there was a time when I had no problem cashing in my coins. I’d roll them in those paper coin roll wrappers and after a few paper cuts, I would take them to the bank where they would be transferred into dollar bills and I’d merrily be on my way. Then came the dreaded Coinstar machines. My anonymity has now vanished.

The last time I turned in my coins was the day I started therapy. Let me explain. I walked into Stop & Shop, unshaven, wearing my favorite pair of shorts that were literally being held together by about thirty or so iron on denim patches and on my back was a tattered and torn old radio station Battle of the Sexes tee shirt.  As I pushed my wheelbarrow up to the Coinstar machine, I couldn’t help but notice the number of shoppers that were gathering around much like they would after witnessing a train wreck. Some even had tears dripping down their cheeks. I’m pretty sure I heard one of them say, “How sad. What do you say we all chip in and buy the poor guy an apple of something?”  I tried to carry on but I felt a little like the guy who stands at the intersection holding up a piece of cardboard with the writing, ‘4 children, 2 dogs and 3 kids in college. Anything you can do. I really could use a beer. God Bless.’   

As a result of that horrible experience, I believed therapy was my only option. I found a very talented and lovely woman named Marilyn. When entering the room, I would always take the seat on the end of the sofa right next to the small table with the Newton’s Cradle and the obligatory box of Kleenex.   

During our first session as I was explaining that damaging episode of my psyche, I was shocked to learn that Marilyn was actually in the store at the time and, in fact, was the one who suggested buying me the fruit. As difficult as this experience was going to be for me, it must have been Hell for her thinking that my brain was just up there floating around, unattached.

Marilyn told me early on that although she understood that being seen turning in coins could possibly be perceived as a sign of desperation, it probably didn’t help my cause any by using the wheelbarrow. Unfortunately, we didn’t make the progress that either one of us had hoped for and it eventually came to an end. It was in our final session that she sighed, leaned forward in her chair, cupped her chin with both hands and said “Bob, I seriously don’t think I can help you. I think you have issues that are beyond the scope of my diplomas.” Ouch!

As I pulled myself off the couch and slithered towards the door, she turned and said, ‘I’m so sorry, Bob. Here have this apple. No charge.’

 

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