Haibun 127

in a small lake town in illinois

i was leaving for a ride down route 66. i stopped over at a friends house and her father was really into weed. we smoked a bit and her boyfriend came over. we got into one of those discussions that young potheads of the day got into. a discussion of material things and how money has corrupted our culture. we were right to discuss those things you know.

anyway. the boyfriend whose name i have forgotten said we should go to the little lake town nearby and try an ‘experiment’. we jumped into his car and i really should have guessed then that i was about to learn something. on the speedometer of his old beat up ford he had changed the numbers to thousands of feet and renamed it an ‘altimeter’. he swore he still knew how fast he was going. but i digress.

when we got to the little lake city we immediately took five bucks and converted it to small change. then we walked into a woolworths and bought five bucks worth of really small things such as corks string sewing needles and stuff you would use every day but have little ‘value’.

under his now inspired direction we first begin to ‘give away’ the small change. the reaction was almost unanimous. everyone we approached wanted to know ‘what we wanted’. there was an old man with a tweed cap and he would not take the change in his hands. he said he thought we had put pepper or something on it and it would burn him. then in a complete change of heart he took off his hat and held it out to us. put it here he instructed.

then we offered strangers our trinkets from the woolworths. people smiled and everyone took our corks and such and most even thanked us.

the boyfriend. whose name i have forgotten was triumphant. money he said was a medium of exchange and people assume with high accuracy that it comes with strings or maybe hot pepper. small things of little intrinsic value on the other hand are seen quite correctly as gifts. thank you is the only really polite response. it is part of the better angels side of humanity to accept small tokens with grace and we often value them more than money or diamonds. who does not have a box of small things.

returning the lost child
his grandma
kisses my cheek

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