The Missing Dime

When looking to borrow money from other people at school, it has always been my philosophy to try one of a couple techniques. I have come across these skills with my own friends in the dire, life and death struggle for the beloved French fries our school sells at lunchtime. Everyone’s daily search to obtain a dollar got me thinking about borrowing money and, voila, here we are. The key is to get the other person to feel as though they are lending you the money out of their own selflessness, when in actuality you are conning it from them.

First, try digging through your backpack; look animated, hopeless. It gains the sympathy vote. If one of your friends has a dollar, surely they will give it to you if you look pathetic enough.

Second, ask the person next to you quietly (though loud enough for others to hear you) if they have a dollar you can borrow. If this does not work, ask a larger group of people outright.

In the end you will ultimately get the money you desire through the help of your friends, or you won’t get squat. Results may vary. I also don’t suggest these tips when asking for large sums of money; if you’re looking for anything above a couple of dollars you’re screwed. I’m sorry, but what teenager randomly pulls a twenty out of their pocket, hands it over, and says, “Here, take it, I have plenty just like it at home.”

No one, that’s who.

And maybe I should have mentioned this before, but I’m not a Guru of advice. Usually this technique doesn’t work (mostly because my friends don’t have money) but even if they did, they wouldn’t hand it over to me. Though I’d say that’s pretty average for teenagers today, when have teens ever had money?!

Just the other day, in fact, my point was proven by Maxine, Mazda, and the rest of the cafeteria money-sharks. It all started with a boy and his rather empty jar that read: Money for the Desperate. Undeniably! Rarely do you ever see a kid with enough gumption to stop at each table and ask for money. In fact, I can honestly say I’ve only ever seen it this once.

It was this very gumption that had earned him a quarter or two, but clearly not enough to meet his end goal, because he continued to circulate the cafeteria; jar in hand, making a complete fool out of himself.

By the time he reached our location, we were all well versed in our responses. “No, no, no, no, no,” around the table we went, until the question of money landed upon Maxine. “Oh,” she said thoughtfully, “you know, I think I have a dime in my backpack.” At this, the corners of the boy’s mouth turned down slightly. A dime didn’t seem to be quite what he was looking for, the small silver coin worth only as much as, well…perhaps a stick of gum. But he wasn’t unkind and so he waited, jar in hand, chatting a bit with my fellow table mates.

Eventually, however, Maxine came up empty-handed, apologizing to Jar Boy, saying, “If I ever find it, I’ll let you know.” He smiled and moved on to the next table, but at this point I feel it only necessary to inform you that he was never going to see either side of the dime in question. Though, it is my impression that the thought of it slipped his mind rather immediately, for it was no loss of his.

Now, some time passed, conversation continued, and the boy with the jar was soon forgotten. That is, until Mazda walked up to the table and sat down with a sigh. “I really want some French fries.” Of course, the universal response was to say, “Buy some.”

With this information in hand, Mazda sighed once more. “Yes, but I’m a quarter short. Does anyone have a quarter I can borrow? I’ll pay you back later.” (This is another learned technique for borrowing money; always promise to return it. Unless your friend is extremely cheap and/or the child of a business man, accountant, banker, or some other occupation that involves a parent to pass on skills of frugality to their kid). But my friends do not apply to either of these categories; if you can recall my earlier statements of the general empty condition of our pockets. Nonetheless, we went around the table, one by one, checking wallets once more. (Like I said, the guy with the jar was completely out of mind).

Again, the last answer landed on Maxine, and again she had to think about it. It must have been at this time that she recalled the boy with the jar, and she bounced up and down in her chair excitedly. Mazda sat up straighter too; perhaps she would be able to get those French fries after all. “Oh, oh, oh,” Maxine cried, “I have a dime!” Her face turned down suddenly, “But I don’t know where it is right now.”

She looked so solemn over the absence of her so-called dime, we couldn’t decide whether to laugh or feel sorry for her. But, of course, like after all teenage problems, it was the laughter that won out, and the lack of the quarter was replaced by the lack of the dime. Empty promises to find the dime circled the table and with one last laugh, just like the boy with the jar, it was forgotten; another unimportant and very average problem soon to take its place.

But the missing dime lives on, sitting in the corner of some dark pocket, backpack, or bag; just waiting, as always, to be found.


Forever and Average,



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