Two-Bit Problem / by Courtney Mehlhaff

I feel the need to share this, because I'm pretty sure very few people have actually seen what I saw last week on the bus. Toward the end of my ride, a 47-year-old man got on. How do I know his age? Why, because he announced it, of course.

He stood in the aisle, not taking a seat (something that drives me absolutely crazy, when seats are readily available) and instead simply brushing his close-cropped head of hair over and over and over and over. I tend to be unconcerned with people attending to their personal hygiene in transit. Typically, I'm just glad they're attending to it at all. Except for the lady who applied her deodorant en route and then sprayed her perfume, which then drifted directly into my face.

But I digress.

What amazed me about this man was that, when he turned his head, I noticed that he had a quarter in his ear.

Let me just repeat that, to make sure it's clear. In the dude's ear, where you would normally see a hearing aid, let's say, was instead a 25 cent piece, jammed flat across his ear-hole and wedged between the outer edges of said ear.

I didn't know what to make of this, and I still don't. Was it an ingenious way to store his change for the bus? Is it an anti-American statement if you cover George Washington with wax? Or does it simply keep the voices at bay? I was mystified. But kind of intrigued. Because I wasn't sure that just anyone could even pull off such a feat.

For the record, I can. In case you're wondering. Naturally, I had to give it a shot in honor of my new spare change hero. But again, I'm not sure how special this makes me, because I haven't yet inspired anyone else to try it.

Perhaps you'll experiment and let me know?