Sunday, April 30, 2006

Coin fight!

My wife and I were parking the car today, and doing the usual digging for change. My wife had some dimes, I had some quarters. I knew my quarters could beat her dimes in a fight, and I told her so. This was an intuition, but of course it is backed up by the fact that quarters are both bigger and more valuable than dimes. So unless the dimes vastly outnumbered the quarters, they'd get their butts kicked if they somehow fought each other.

Of course, dime vs. quarter is not really an interesting fight, because it's so lopsided. So I got to thinking what sort of coin fights would be interesting. The first one that lept out at me was dime vs. nickel. I think they're pretty evenly matched: the nickel has a hefty size advantage, but the dime is worth twice as much. I thought about dime vs. penny, but pennies are pathetic wusses that no one wants. During my recent move, I treated pennies like dust bunnies or paper scraps left over from torn spiral bindings, i.e. as the worthless trash that they are. I recently read in the New York Times that it costs the U.S. mint 1.4 cents to make each penny. That just shows how lame they are. Its marginal size advantage against the dime in no way makes up for the repulsive insignificance that is at the heart of its very nature.

Unfortunately, I don't think there are too many more good one-on-one coin fights unless you go to some of the lesser used coins. Susan B. Anthony dollar vs. the Sacajawea dollar would be interesting. It would be a "chick fight", since both coins prominently feature women. But I'm not sure how much of the femaleness of the image would influence the coin's behavior in coin-on-coin combat. I think the Sacajawea dollar would win, unless the SBA dollar could trick its opponent into thinking it was a quarter. I doubt this fight would happen though, because the only place I encounter these coins is when getting change from a vending machine in the post office. And despite the myths about "going postal", etc., the post office is usually a pretty sedate place. It would be nice to have some entertainment while waiting to pick up a package though.

The Kennedy half dollar would be a good opponent for either of the dollar coins, creating a dynamic similar to dime vs. nickel. No doubt someone who knew more about coins than me could come up with some great matchups, especially when foreign coins (which often can have higher values than US coins) are considered.

But then, the whole topic now strikes me as rather pointless, since coins can't actually fight each other.


Blogger ST said...

I love it how when I ask my husband, "What are you thinking?", not only does he tell me, but often he is thinking something like this.

6:53 PM, April 30, 2006  
Blogger grishnash said...

I know I've been able to extrapolate useful inferences from these two masterpieces... For instance, last Christmas Jill and I received a gift basket of garnishing sauces in squeeze bottles. One was a vaguely reddish chipotle, and one was a vaguely greenish wasabi. I now know which nostril to stick each up. As for U.S. coins, I'm pretty sure the Eisenhower dollar would have no problem taking them all. I mean, besides the obvious size and weight advantages, it's got an eagle on the back that's has pulled the moon into polar orbit about the earth. The huge amount of energy that such a change in angular momentum would require demonstrates beyond a doubt that we are dealing with one powerful bird. Pennies, meanwhile, will have to just find some foreign aluminum coins such as the yen if they want to stand a chance in a coin fight. I mean, pennies are lame, but nothing says "wimpy coin" like aluminum.

4:07 AM, May 04, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

I must agree about aluminum coins. They would certainly lose to pennies (zinc with a thin copper coating) in any reasonable fight.

I haven't really delved into the whole realm of how the images on the coins affect their combat capabilities. Certainly, the ealge on the "tails" of a standard quarter would help that coin beat a 2002 Mississippi quarter, which has only a magnolia to aid in its defense. But what is the combat value of the Lincoln Memorial? Who would be better in a fight, Washington or Kennedy?

I think figuring all this out would require a good deal of research. There would have to be numerous fights staged, observed, and documented to tease out all the subtleties. It is a project beyond my current resources, especially since I recently took all our coins to one of those coin counting machines at Albertson's.

5:15 AM, May 04, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

My friend Paul e-mailed me with this to say:

As a new and avid reader of Mr. Drake's ostensibly political blog, I find myself wondering: why does Zac's
"Internal Monologue" often resemble the thoughts of a stoned New Yorker
columnist? Through non-trivial conceptual gymnastics I am, however,
tentatively able to discern echoes of vague political metaphors in the
landmark postings "Coin Fight" and "Nostril Salsa." But I'm not sure
entirely what they are. On the one hand, the Sacajawea vs. Susan B.
Anthony duel seemed to clearly advance a provocative indigenous critique
of the power of Native American icons to resist their Anglo conquerors,
while subtly acknowledging the commercial co-optation of
multiculturalism. And on the starboard hand, Nostril Salsa was just
plain gross (in the very best sense of the word).

I eagerly await Zac's definitive prediction of what will happen when the
Kennedy half dollar meets the green salsa (don't try this at home, kids).

6:34 AM, May 04, 2006  

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