Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Jordan finally does something with his massive collection of spare change

Coins.  A whole lot of them.
Coins. A whole lot of them.

I've got a confession to make. I'm that guy. I'm the guy who puts his spare change into a jar and lets it accumulate. I didn't really start it consciously. I just didn't want to carry around a pocket full of pennies and nickels, so I threw them into a mason jar on my desk. Soon the mason jar became full and I emptied that into a peanut butter jar. When the peanut butter jar was full, I started another. And so here we are.

I could hear my shelf beginning to buckle under the tremendous weight of the coins, and I didn't much care for the idea of finding a water cooler jug and starting to fill that up with change, so I figured that I'd roll up all the coins cash them out and get something shiny.

It looks even bigger all spread out.
It looks even bigger all spread out.

So, as you can see by the conveniently placed graphics, that is my change collection in nice neat jars (also note the Canadian Tire money I have. Smells like a sequel.), and there it is spread out on my living room table, like so much spare change. The girlfriend was out for a girl's night out on the town so I popped in my Mystery Science Theatre 3000 DVDs and started watching Manos: the Hands of Fate while I began to roll coins.

By the time Manos was finished, I had made a dent, but not a big one. There were just so many damn coins to contend with. I put on Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and kept working. When that movie was finished, I still wasn't done, so I continued to work.

Finally after about four hours or so, I finished, except for a few lone stragglers that couldn't be rolled, and were put back into the mason jar to begin the cycle again. By this time, it was almost midnight, so there wasn't much I could do with the coins except work out some useless facts.

Victory at last!
Victory at last!

In case you're curious, I rolled 2410 coins, which weighed approximately 13 lbs in total. 60% (1450) were pennies, 13% (320) were nickels, 25% (600) were dimes and 2% (40) were quarters, all in hard Canadian currency. The total value: $115.50 (as of the writing of this article, that's approximately $104.74 in US dollars).

Placed in a single stack, the coins reach a height of 3.46 meters (11.35 feet), which is almost twice my height. If laid end to end, the coins would reach a length of 46.2 meters (151-1/2 feet), which is about 8 and a half feet shy of the width of a regulation NFL football field.

As I looked at the coins over the next few days, I got an evil thought in my head. The peanut butter jars that once housed the coins were about the diameter of a cannonball, and the coins themselves were just a little bit heavier than the shells shot from the 12-pounder Napoleon canon in the American Civil War. Would I dare squander this wealth by blasting it out of a canon? Would I dare not?

How awesome would that be?
How awesome would that be?

Well, luckily Chippy was there to smack me in the head and bring me back from the brink of insanity. This was a lot of money, especially for something that had been essentially pocket change that was taking up desk space. I resolved to spend this money on something awesome: baseball.

I'm a baseball fan, but living in a blackout area where I generally can't get Red Sox games unless it's the playoffs, they're playing the Braves, or they're playing the Blue Jays and it's the rare occasion on which it's carried on a TV channel I can get. After playing the demo for MLB '09: the Show for the last month, I was hooked, and swore to get that game at any cost.

As soon as I could, I called my local game store and asked if they had the game. Unfortunately not. A week went by and then another, and they still didn't have it in, but they would be getting it soon I was assured. Finally, a month after rolling those blasted coins, I decided to go down to the store and just take my chances. So, I loaded the coins into my pack and headed off with Chippy.

So, I got to the store, and surprise surprise, they didn't have the game I wanted. But what was this? They had a copy of the Fallout 3 Collector's Edition, and after tax it came to just under what I had in coins. I was elated and went up to the cashier and went to pay in coins.

When I set my pack upon the counter with an audible 'thunk', people turned to look and a few giggled. It's not every day you see over $100 in coins. The cashier began to count the rolls and after a minute looked up at me and said "I don't want to be a dick or anything, but you're going to have to cash these in before I'll take them."

Well, I had leave, and we started for the bank when we realized it was Sunday, and none of them would be open. It wasn't fair! I'd patiently counted each and every coin, rolled them up and waited for over a month to spend them. I was damned if I was going to go home without my damn game.

Chippy and I raced off to the supermarket where we knew there was an automated coin-counting machine. The machines, owned by the Canadian Mint, sort and count coins, then provide the user with a chit for the value of the coins (minus a percentage taken for the service), which can be redeemed for paper money at the cashier. It broke my heart as we tore open the rolls and emptied them one after another into the machine.

In your face snotty game store employee!
In your face snotty game store employee!

After getting my money, we raced back to game store, which was set to close soon and got the Fallout 3, lunch box and all. Over a year of being miserly with my pennies led to this final moment, posing exalted for a photo.

So in the end, I didn't get the game I was looking for, but instead got something far greater: a great game, and the wiping that smug look off that game store prick's face. And in the end, isn't that what really matters?

As an side-note, my Vault-Boy bobblehead now resides on my desk, and has taken assaults by my stikfas in stride. They've had the place to themselves for so long, they're going to need some adjustment to their new neighbor. My mason jar is now filled to about a quarter of way up and the cycle begins anew.

"You don't scare me gunslinger."
"You don't scare me gunslinger."

And now because I pretty much have to...

Other things that weigh the same as the change collection:
  1. A slightly overweight domestic house cat
  2. A gallon and a half of sea water
  3. $108,200 in twenty-dollar bills
  4. 1474 sugarcubes
  5. 2 Fender Stratocasters
  6. The 40gb Playstation 3, in box (but not the 60gb, 80gb or 160gb models)

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