Buffalo Nickel: 1971

Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

The nearest coin to me is the fifty-cent piece that has been living in my pocket for the last several days. On it is the face of John F. Kennedy, proudly looking eastwards from where I am oriented in the library. The date on the coin is 1971.

This coin, which I use as a kind of comfort stone (I also like to flip it– fifty-cent coins are the best for flipping), was in circulation 15 years before I was born. So at that time I was….well…I didn’t exist. Wait. So what exactly was “I” doing? Was I floating around as separate little pieces of star bits spread throughout the galaxy? Was I simply a part of the collective consciousness? Take a quick scan through the 1970s Wiki page and one can see how revolutionary this decade was. Woman rights movements, the Cold War, Vietnam, Stephen Hawking coming up with his crazy shit about black holes. Not to mention the GREATEST ROCK MUSIC OF ALL TIME. Damn, now that I really think about it I really missed out.

Since it first came off the press and into circulation, this coin– with its wonderful weight and now dulled luster– has been around for 44 years! When 2015 is over the coin will have existed for about 385,000 hours. Over 3 and a half billion people have been born since its creation, according to some website I just googled. Tupac has came and gone. The internet was invented along with the term “googled.” I wonder where this coin has been? Has it passed through many casinos, ruining the lives of some or granting huge fortune to another? Has it gathered the oils from the hands of greasy mob bosses? I wonder if it has been flipped by any famous rock stars– perhaps to settle some kind of mischievous bet? What has it purchased? Perhaps some rolling papers? Candy bars? Movie tickets? Has it been gifted to a child? How many times was it lost in the seat of a couch cushion during a makeout session?

Check out your pockets right now or find the nearest coin. What is it’s story?

This post in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Buffalo Nickel.”

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