Sunday, March 18, 2012

18 March 2012 Why is it called filthy lucre?

            A fairly constant string of dancers keep wandering past the gate, proffering paper currency to pass the gate.
            The bills come in fresh and crisp from the ATM or the bank. The new ones are sticky and must be handled carefully to keep them separate.  Others come in crumpled and near the end of their serviceable life as currency. 
            There is a surprising variation in how money is passed from hand-to-hand.  Most people who paid admission last night made some attempt at having the correct amount for admission.  The $5.00 member/student price was generally handed to me as a single $5.00 bill.  A smaller percentage needed change.  These folks usually offered their currency in the unfolded condition.  They received change in the same manner. 
            Others came with a pile of singles and handed them to me folded.  OCD is not yet common enough to cause them to align their bills in a stack with all bills having the same face upward.  Yet most places that take cash in payment teach their employees to separate and align bills in a cash box or register drawer.  Lessons learned are easily forgotten or, perhaps, ignored out of some need to rebel at the smallest opportunity. 
            Most annoying:
            Last night’s prize is awarded to the young woman who extended a closed fist and then turned it downward, dumping a tangled, lump of four intertwined bills with four quarters in the mix.  She made no apology for the tangle.  The bills were damp, torn, and generally unpleasant to pick up and separate.  Once the bills left her hand, she rushed away as if offended at being asked to pay.  She wasn’t carrying a purse of any sort. I have no idea where that money had been prior to arriving at the dance. It left me recalling what I know of viral and bacterial transmission by fomites.  Good hand-washing skills pay off.  There’s a reason clinical lab folks wash their hands about 200 times a day.
            You should too!

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