THE COINSTAR SUPERSTAR Pt. 2


i took my jar of change down to the coinstar at TD bank because this is what one does when one is preparing to move. it was a mason jar that had been accumulating change since last august.

they allow you to guess how much change you've got before the counting begins and if you are within $1.99 you get a prize.

i guessed $68.54 because it spells CA.SH in pager code and my total was $68.21. i grinned at the little receipt. then i grinned at the cop standing next to me. he smiled back. the bank was silent now without my change clanking through the machine.

historically i have never been good at estimating. this is a significant development for me.

i went up to the ladies at the desk to get my money and my prize. they were not as impressed as i expected them to be. one of them retrieved a green plastic rectangle with TD written on it in white and handed it to me. that was a confusing moment. the cabinet from which she pulled the rectangle was in the same place in my veterinary clinic where we keep the ashes of cremated animals, near the floor opposite the desk. what is it? i asked. it's a piggy bank so you can start saving up your change again.

i raised my mason jar over my head and slammed it down against the concrete floor. the ladies mouths opened but nobody said a word.

why did you do that? one finally spoke. i didn't do it, you did it. you shattered that jar the moment you gave me this durable, light-weight, plastic piggy bank. you shattered my mason jar. without my accumulating pocket change that jar had nothing.

the police just stood there watching and i tried to think of something else to say. can i have a pen? no sir, i think you should leave, was the lady's reply. commerce bank always gave me pens.

a man in a sleeveless v-neck sweater emerged from the back and observed my jar. something in his eyes told me this was not the first time he'd seen this situation play out. he turned around to get a broom and i headed back for the door. being a winner, being good at estimating, has a dark side that good estimators almost never talk about.

back on the sunny sidewalk i tossed the green piggy bank in a garbage can and used my new cash towards an iced coffee. the glimmering ice cubes reminded me of my mason jar, spread apart now in so many pieces, i might have liked to spread those shards into the breeze on a mountaintop but that would have been dangerous.