December 22, 2003 - The $10 Bill Experiment
Who in their right mind would put a $10 bill on their windshield and park their car next to the bathroom at Leadbetter Beach or next to the football field at SBHS? How about someone who believes that people are generally good and, as FDR said “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” (Or was that Michael Moore?) Besides, $10 doesn’t buy much anymore ... only 5.71 cappuccinos or 2.96 gallons of milk.
A member of the dedicated staff of edhat.com did it. He placed a $10 bill on his windshield and drove around town as if it were a flyer for the computer show at Earl Warren Showgrounds, or a “Going Out Of Business” sale at a rug store on State Street. Naysayers said he was stupid - that the bill would be taken right away. Others withered in discomfort as if they were leaving the house with the oven on. But, the bill stayed … through rain and sun, no one took it. He parked his bill-laden car at 5 different city lots, 4 different coffee shops, SBHS, UCSB, SBCC, Trader Joe’s, Gelson’s, Costco, Leadbetter, Hendry’s (right in front of the restaurant), and on a city street behind Jeannine’s (there is never any parking at Jeannine’s). Days turned into a week. A week turned into ten days. The $10 bill took on the presence of a loyal dog waiting in the car. It was always there, and our staffer was always happy to see it. And all this good feeling for only 10 bucks! The aging bill even got itself a nickname, Hammy, for the president whose picture it carried.
But, all good things must come to an end. On an innocent trip to buy medicated foot spray at Longs (upper State), the dedicated staffer came back to his car and Hammy was missing … gone like last month’s rent. Who took it? Hopefully, someone who needed it … hopefully, not the man standing in front of his car nearby hidden behind the smoke of his own cigarette. Our dedicated staffer thought of asking “the smoking man” if he saw anyone take Hammy, but decided just to move-on knowing that the “who” or “why” did not matter. What mattered was that his holiday heart was full of love and joy knowing that people are generally good and honest.
Longs? Did we say Longs … the place that NONE of our subscribers picked? The reason there is no winner to Friday’s contest? Interestingly, the edhat faithful focused on Paseo Nuevo and Santa Barbara High as the places they feel least safe to park.
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