The other morning I was walking down Damen toward the el stop at North Avenue. A man was walking toward me. When we were about 20 feet apart, both our eyes fixed on the same thing at the same time–a $10 bill lying on the sidewalk. Now only steps away, we glanced at each other, wondering if the other saw the money.
I picked up the ten-spot and said, “The only fair thing to do is split it.”
He scoffed, saying, “Oh man, like I need the money.”
“You have $5?” I asked.
He dug into his pocket and pulled out a five. I grabbed it and gave him the ten. We went our separate ways.
Everyone on the train to the racetrack had their noses in the racing form. But their concentration was disrupted by a loudmouth guy bragging about the big money he bet, won, and lost. Apparently he treated cash like a handful of confetti.
A man hawking tip sheets entered the car, trailed by a vendor selling pencils.
“Hey General!” yelled the loudmouth to the vendor.
“Yes sir,” said the vendor as he handed the guy two pencils. “That’ll be 40 cents–20 cents apiece.”
“Are you frigging nuts?” said the loudmouth. “Twenty cents for a frigging pencil?” He handed one of the pencils back to the vendor along with two dimes. Then he turned toward his friend sitting next to him and broke the pencil in half, handing one piece to his friend while keeping the other half for himself.
–Edward G. Bergstrom