Field of Science

Pennies in puddles

Everywhere I go in Southern California people are throwing money in water. Every little pool, puddle, and pond has a generous collection of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. I swear, it's not just wells and other basins made for the purpose. Every fountain larger than a gallon is ripe with cash. I conclude Californians are a superstitious bunch of people, assuming that they make a wish when they throw one in. And I conclude that Californians aren't as bad off as the times would have it. Except, the other day I was in Little Tokyo, and while eating outside I observed a man around forty sitting at the edge of a fountain. All of a sudden his hand went into the water and picked up a few coins, and proceeded to lie on the t vacate the area. Within a minute he was back at the fountain, looking for the best spot to sit next, as discreetly as he could manage. He took a few more coins a couple of times, leaving and coming back. Later I checked out the fountain, and could only find dimes and below. No quarters. Cheapskates. If he got all quarters, it's couldn't have been more than two dollars in total. I was thinking what other people were thinking. The man himself was embarrassed, and even worried that someone would accost him and at worst calling him perp. He didn't look like an experienced pond-pincher, and he left thinking that this was a good deal, and that he had to find other places to clean out. But he was also cursing the circumstances that lead him to pilfering other people's wishes. The security guard that later showed up was thinking something that I shall not repeat in print, but the point was that such people ought to be punished. I was thinking it is really sad that this pendejo had to be in this position. But then I remember living in New York with beggars everywhere, and how easily I got used to them being around. I rarely see them where I live now, so seeing a guy like this hurts again, like it did the first while in New York. Piss.

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