Scientific facts are often described in textbooks as if they just sort of exist, like nickels someone picked up on the street. But science at the cutting edge, conducted by sharp minds probing deep into nature, is not about self-evident facts. It is about mystery and not knowing. It is about taking huge risks.
It seems like only yesterday that savers were dorks. They kept piggy banks. They drove last year's cars. They fished in their change purses for nickels while the superstars flashed credit cards. Today, values have changed. The new object of veneration is not money on the hoof but money in the bank - and the dorks all have it.
Jane Bryant Quinn
After the last shovel of dirt was patted in place, I sat down and let my mind drift back through the years. I thought of the old K. C. Baking Powder can, and the first time I saw my pups in the box at the depot. I thought of the fifty dollars, the nickels and dimes, and the fishermen and blackberry patches. I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: "You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.
Eventually, as my books became best-sellers, the nickels pile up and oneday I was offered a substantial four-book deal that was lucrative as any airliner hijacking in history. Though writing those four books was hard work, at least I didn't have to wear Kevlar body armor, carry heavy bandoliers of spare ammunition, or work with associates named Mad Dog.
I'm most endeared to the fact that they used gifts and talents that were taught to them by other enterprising women who looked just like them. These are gifts and talents they brought with them from Africa and other distant shores. These were gifts and talents women used to appease their owners, and make their lives comfortable. These were gifts and talents used to fuel economies and for building communities. In one book I read, nickels from the sale of chicken eggs paid the college tuition of three children.
I don't wanna take my time going to work, I got a motorcycle and a sleeping bag and ten or fifteen girls. What the hell I wanna go off and go to work for? Work for what? Money? I got all the money in the world. I'm the king, man. I run the underworld, guy. I decide who does what and where they do it at. What am I gonna run around like some teeny bopper somewhere for someone elses money? I make the money man, I roll the nickels. The game is mine. I deal the cards
You'll be found, your nickels, dimes and Indian-heads fused by electroplating. Abe Lincolns melted into Miss Columbias, eagles plucked raw on the backs of quarters, all run to quicksilver in your jeans. More! Any boy hit by lightning, lift his lid and there on his eyeball, pretty as the Lord's Prayer on a pin, find the last scene the boy ever saw! A box-Brownie photo, by God, of that fire climbing down the sky to blow you like a penny whistle, suck your soul back up along the bright stair!
Jenny Marzen made millions of dollars, as opposed to nickels, by writing novels that got seriously reviewed while selling big. Amy had skimmed her first one, a mildly clever thing about a philosophy professor who discovers her husband is cheating on her with one of her grad students, and who, while feigning ignorance of the affair, drives the girl mad with increasingly brutal critiques and research tasks, at one point banishing her to Beirut, first to learn fluent Arabic and then to read Avicenna's Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, housed in the American University. This was, Amy thought, a showoffy detail that hinted at Marzen's impressive erudition but was probably arrived at within five Googling minutes.
We were poor back then. Not living in a cardboard carton poor, not 'we might have to eat the dog' poor, but still poor. Poor like, no insurance poor, and going to McDonald's was a really big excitement poor, wearing socks for gloves in the winter poor, and collecting nickels and dimes from the washing machine because she never got allowance, that kind of poor... poor enough to be nostalgic about poverty. So, when my mom and dad took me here for my tenth birthday, it was a really big deal. They'd saved up for two months to take me to the photography store and they bought me a Kodak Instamatic film camera... I really miss those days, because we were still a real family back then... this mall doesn't even have a film photography store anymore, just a cell phone and digital camera store, it's depressing...
Try to roll with the punches. Keep your chin up. Don't take any wooden nickels. Vote Democrat in every election. Ride your bike in the park. Dream about my perfect, golden body. Take your vitamins. Drink eight glasses of water a day. Pull for the Mets. Watch a lot of movies. Don't work too hard at your job. Take a trip to Paris with me. Come to the hospital when Rachel has her baby and hold my grandchild in your arms. Brush your teeth after every meal. Don't cross the street on a red light. Defend the little guy. Stick up for yourself. Remember how beautiful you are. Remember how much I love you. Drink one Scotch on the rocks every day. Breathe deeply. Keep your eyes open. Stay away from fatty foods. Sleep the sleep of the just. Remember how much I love you.
By first believing in Santa Claus, then the Easter Bunny, then the Tooth Fairy, Rant Casey was recognizing that those myths are more than pretty stories and traditions to delight children. Or to modify behavior. Each of those three traditions asks a child to believe in the impossible in exchange for a reward. These are stepped-up tests to build a child's faith and imagination. The first test is to believe in a magical person, with toys as the reward. The second test is to trust in a magical animal, with candy as the reward. The last test is the most difficult, with the most abstract reward: To believe, trust in a flying fairy that will leave money. From a man to an animal to a fairy. From toys to candy to money. Thus, interestingly enough, transferring the magic of faith and trust from sparkling fairy-dom to clumsy, tarnished coins. From gossamer wings to nickels... dimes... and quarters. In this way, a child is stepped up to greater feats of imagination and faith as he or she matures. Beginning with Santa in infancy, and ending with the Tooth Fairy as the child acquires adult teeth. Or, plainly put, beginning with all the possibility of childhood, and ending with an absolute trust in the national currency.