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safe, effective, vaguely stupid

January 17th, 2010 at 08:16 pm

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee + $.60 apple + $.35 pack of gum (see below)
Found money - $0.44 (edge of bridge, sidewalks)

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $13 brunch + $2 cookie + $10 dinner
Found money - $0.16 (sidewalks, parking lot)

This is a story about a coin rescue gone too far. It worked out, but boy I looked odd ... even for me. If you are hesitant to pick up coins in public view, this is not a technique for you!

My tale begins as I walked across the Fremont Bridge. Now I've walked across the pedestrian walkway on this bridge for months and most times I've noticed three coins on a moss-covered concrete pad two feet below the walkway at the south lip of the bridge.

Of course, since I could not touch them (there's a three foot railing and wire mesh between railing and walkway), I could not count them. Over the months, off and on, I thought about how I could nab them. Today I thought it was their day to be rescued, so I walked onward and considered my plan.

The basic thought was a long stick with some thing sticky on it. About a block away I searched for some sticks and found a couple suitable - about six feet, relatively straight, firm, but not really large so as not to attract horrid amounts of attention - and set those aside. For the sticky, I thought of gum. I can get some gum. I kept walking and found a little grocery store, bought the 5-pack of gum for 35 cents, chewed a piece.

As I walked back, the first hurdle became apparent. I hate gum. The first couple of chews was all right, but over-chewing and popping? Gaack. It just activates the gag reflex in me.

Still, I persevered and chewed some more. I had the silver wrapper that would make for a smooth pad on the end of the stick and I knew that the gum would stick to it (who knew if gum would stick to the end of a wet stick?). Also along the way, I picked up a plastic tie. So when I got back to the stick, I had everything.

I halved the gum wrapper paper side out, wrapped the meaty end of the stick with the paper, tied it down, plunked the gum on top. The whole thing looked like a demented pool cue. Demented pool cue in hand, I walked back to the bridge. I hung away from the crowd - this is something that will embarrass even me.

My first tack was to slip the stick through a hole in the mesh and press down on one of the coins. It worked, kinda, but as I pulled out the stick, the coin slipped. I tried it again, and same thing.

Third tack was to hope that the stick was long enough to go over the railing. It was long enough, barely. I had more control, but the gum at the end wasn't sticky enough. I chewed another piece quickly and stuck the second wad on top of the first.

That did it. I extracted one coin (dime), then the next (nickel), then the nastiest one, which I thought was a nickel, but it turned out to be a corroded quarter. After the rescue, I broke the stick and threw it away.

Luckily I only got looks as I rescued coins - to the MacGvyer goes the spoils - but even I have to admit that I went a little overboard.

$21.00: 535 pennies, 19 nickels, 85 dimes, 21 quarters, $1 bill.

8 Responses to “safe, effective, vaguely stupid”

  1. whitestripe Says:

    ahaha! Big Grin good for you!

  2. baselle Says:

    Yep, you now know someone who is bull-headed enough to fish for coins with gum and a stick. Yay.

  3. ralph Says:

    but even I have to admit that I went a little overboard.
    Nah! Smile

  4. miz pat Says:

    LOL - this was hysterical, and yet we all felt the same oneness with you planning on getting those dang coins. Good for you!!!

  5. patientsaver Says:

    Oh, i would be SO embarrassed to do something like that. i wouldn't think that gum would be sticky enough. i would have tried duct tape, that is, if i had the nerve.

  6. my english castle Says:

    Too funny.
    But I did think of everyone at SA last night when I found 50 cents in the vending machine coin return.

  7. Amy Says:

    You got your money back that you paid for your gum, and then some. Smile

  8. baselle Says:

    I only used 14 cents worth of gum..I still have 3 pieces left. Might take them along in case I see other "fishing" expeditions. Smile

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