For some reason people love to give bartenders presents. Usually little things like CDs or books or baked goods. Sometimes these baked goods have illegal drugs in them but the gift bearer doesn’t disclose that fact. The bartender has the pleasure of figuring it out. I love that.
Who doesn’t like to know someone was thinking of them? Even if that someone has a bit of a drinking problem and periodic anger management issues. I tend to operate under the guise “if you like me, I like you”. It’s the mutual admiration society. Once in a while bartenders receive things they don’t want. At all. Like lovelorn poems, creepy drawings, or things we could absolutely care less about like unusual coins. I can’t think of a more boring gift than a Susan B. Anthony coin. There is a whole microcosm of people who think dollar coins are neato keen. I don’t. I’ve never met a bartender coin collector. Most bartenders hate coins. They symbolize a shit tip. I’ll tell you what bartenders do like- dollar bills. If you have a rare dollar bill, a bartender would cherish it. Cherish meaning they would vigilanlty hide it somewhere until they could get to a bank to cash that sucker in.
The dollar coin is like a Hot Potato. You’re always trying to quickly pass it off to the next person before they can realize what has happened. In case you weren’t lucky enough to play Hot Potato as a kid, the “game” involves sitting in a circle and while music plays, the kids throw around a “hot potato” which could be a beanbag or a stuffed animal. Someone periodically and unexpectedly stops the music and whoever is holding the Hot Potato is out of the game. I was a spastic player during Hot Potato as a kid. The minute it came towards me I caught it, panicked, and whipped it aimlessly often hitting my best friend in the nose, eye or forehead. Someplace that would cause other kids to yell “no fairsies” and I’d get in trouble for poor sportsmanship even though I was just highly anxious about losing. I often got ousted for something other than holding the Hot Potato. Sometimes they’d play songs from Annie and I’d get caught up singing It’s a Hard Knocked Life and lose my competitive edge. Either way I never cared for Hot Potato. Hot Potato was billed as a game to increase eye-hand coordination and catching but you never heard people say “ Did you see Kendra catch and toss that Hot Potato seconds before Beauty School Drop Out came to a screeching halt? She’s good that kid. Real good.”
The point is I don’t like dollar coins. When someone gives me a dollar coin I think “ I just lost a dollar” because I know I’m not going to pawn it off on some other unsuspecting sad sack. I’m going to put it in my coin jar and years from now I’ll still take the extra time to sift around it to get at four quarters in order to avoid the bashful exchange of a dollar coin mano a mano.
That’s the type of anxiety that can only be bred from years of forced participation in Hot Potato and Musical Chairs.
Brought to you by the Commission to Discontinue Traditional Childhood Games
Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.