The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

I have a friend who works in the Treasury Department. The interesting thing about him is, when you put a couple pints of Newcastle in him, he gets blabby. Usually the stories he has to tell are small-time, stuff about misprinted bills and such, but last Saturday he came out with a shocker.

"Did you know that money isn't always worth what it says?" he asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, what would you rather have? A quarter, or five nickels?"

"A quarter."

"Well there you go. How can they be worth the same, then?"

"But that's just convenience."

"Convenience is time, time is money, and my glass is empty. Buy me another and I'll tell you what money is secretly, officially worth."

I bought him another, and this is what he had to say:

Well, dimes are actually worth a dime. Quarters are worth twenty-nine cents, thirty-five if you don't have a washing machine. Nickels are only worth four cents, because a lot of the time you have to use one of your quarters to make it come out right.

Pennies are worth nothing. Nobody in the department will admit it publicly, of course, but it's common knowledge that pennies have no value unless you get them squashed into souvenirs at an amusement park, in which case they're worth about a penny.

Dollars are worth a dollar five, which makes them less valuable than four quarters. All other bills are worth face value except those weird new hundred dollar bills, which are worth ninety-nine dollars because they don't seem like real money.

Fifty-cent pieces are worth forty cents, except if you're a little kid and you got it for your birthday from an exceptionally cheap aunt, in which case it's worth the two quarters you're going to change it into first chance you get.

Finally, the new dollar coin we're working on is expected to be worth about eighty cents, which is forty cents more than Susan B. Anthony dollars ended up being.

At that, he tossed back the rest of his beer and headed for the door. I sat and thought about what he had said, staring at some change I pulled from my pocket. After a while I paid the bill and left a nice tip. In quarters.

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