Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pennies are from heaven, too

Today we are discussing the United States cent, the smallest coin in the realm, more commonly, if curiously referred to as pennies by Americans.

I will let the New York Times set the scene:

"Every penny counts. But 10 of them didn’t one recent night in the Bronx, and that’s how the trouble started.

It was about 11:30 p.m. on April 23 when Wayne Jones stopped at the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant in the Soundview section. Mr. Jones, 47, a lieutenant with the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Service, ordered four fried chicken wings to go. The total was $2.75.

Mr. Jones placed his money on the counter: two $1 bills, two quarters, one dime, one nickel — and 10 pennies.

“The lady behind the counter started yelling, ‘No pennies, no pennies,’ ” Mr. Jones said. The woman told him she would take 3 or 4 pennies, he said, but not 10."

Mr. Jones, it happens to me too. I'm perpetually broke these days and so often at newspaper kiosks and in tiny stores, I offer pennies with nickels and dimes to pay for things, small things, and am rebuffed.

One evening last winter on Broadway near 94th Street, I asked a deli guy for a dime in return for ten pennies — I needed the dime to add to another dime and a nickel, to make 25 cents so I could make a call from a pay phone. You'd have thought I had asked to screw his wife.

"NO, NO, NO, NO PENNIES," he blared. He just couldn't be bothered. I made a scene.

"I just need a dime so I can make a call from a pay phone," I said, showing him my other dime and nickel. "Come on, you have change, these pennies are legal tender, and I. Need. To. Make. A. Call. Have you no sense of human decency?" I must have sounded hysterical.

"Get Out!" He shouted.

"I'm not leaving! Where's your sense of decency, do you have an ounce of kindness in you?" We continued like this until a customer next to me took my side.

Looking at the deli guy, he said "come on man, the guy just needs to make change for the phone." Then he reached into his pocket and gave me two quarters.

"See? That's basic human kindness at work, you toad," I squeaked, and fled into the night. I thanked the other customer, obviously. What happened to Wayne Jones? He too made a scene. Just right.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Still no answers in 'Road of Life' mystery

his method, originally uploaded by lightxposr.

Homosexual turns straight after 'good talking to' from father

A young man has publicly announced his intention to become heterosexual despite having been openly gay for several years. Adam Denver said the decision came after a ‘serious bit of lecturing’ from his father. ‘He just sat me down and gave it to me straight. No-one likes a poof, Son,’ recounted Adam; ‘Once he put it like that, I suddenly saw the light.’

As part of his ‘good talking to’, Adam’s father spoke of his son’s ‘funny ways’ having gone well beyond a ‘bit of camp’ and how his ‘unnatural habits’ were now causing considerable embarrassment in the neighbourhood. ‘God knows, I’ve been a broad-minded parent, Adam.’ he said, ‘but there has to be a limit. It’s all very well you kissing your boyfriend goodnight at the front gate, but I can’t go on telling the neighbours he’s a French exchange student and that’s how they say goodbye on the continent. Dammit, you’re 25 years old.’

In an impassioned plea for common sense to prevail, the father continued: “Look here old boy, I WAS in the army don’t forget – we had woopsies there too, you know. We just dealt with them the army way and kicked their heads in. But I’m your father and it’s breaking my heart to see you turning into a bloody poofter!’

Adam said that a simple bit of straight-talking from his old Dad had completely cured him of any genetic predisposition to homosexuality and insists that his decision to go straight will stick. ‘I’ve already bagged-up all my gay paraphernalia and I’m dropping the whole lot off at Age Concern this week. I’m taking an interest in military history and the ‘Will and Grace’ box set is going on e-Bay this afternoon. Fair play, though – as part of the deal, Dad’s agreed it’s time he gave up wearing Mum’s old dresses.’