Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day Two in this Strange Land

Trevor got in quicksand yesterday and the last we saw of him was a pith helmet... no wait, that's a Tarzan movie. My journey of exploration without a map goes fairly smooth so far; no quicksand encountered yet.

I'm happy but surprised that Lucy the Mustang only needed a new battery. Sounded to me like the motor was doing sufficient rpm's to crank, but I'm glad to be wrong this time. It's tremendously helpful my boss gave me use of the company truck this week.

April will come fetch me on Friday; Sunday after Church I drive Ms. Lucy back into this wild, uncharted country.

I'm getting along well with the natives, but then again many explorers have thought that right up to the last minute, agreed? There is a machine at the convenience store at bottom of the hill... I need to say a few words on that topic.

It's a modified version of the penny pitching machines I was first introduced to at Long Beach's New Pike amusement park, around 1964.

Penny pitchers, glass covered table with many sets of little concentric circles, each having a number. Goal is to scoot your penny through the narrow slot so it lands to complete electrical circuit between the concentric circles. If done, whatever number is on that spot, that's how many pennies the machine shoots you back.

Were such machines to even exist nowadays, I think they'd have to up the voltage in the concentric circles. Pennies are now copper clad zinc, and zinc's not a good conductor. Besides, who wants to win a bunch of pennies? So both electrically and intrinsically, a penny ain't what it was in 1964.

This quarter machine down at the convenience store? About the size of a jukebox. It's a moving shelf gag. One scoots his quarter through the slot in hopes it will achieve some critical mass with other quarters on the moving plate, and a bonanza of two bit pieces will fall into the payoff slot.

Sounds complex I know, but the handwritten sign on the machine isn't complex at all. It's beautiful prose, so succinct I think Hemingway would be jealous.

"Have enough quarters because if you have to go get change you lose your place in line."

Something about exactly like that I'm pretty sure, is what the sign said. So there's often a line of people waiting to feed quarters to that monster, huh?

Wonder how many police officers stop in that convenience store every week and walk right past that machine? That's an illegal gambling device.

No comments: