I saw a penny on the ground today, and I had an overwhelming urge to pick it up in spite of the fact that I was holding my daughter and three bags of groceries. When I was younger, my arms were usually swinging freely at my sides. I would pick up every penny I saw, look around, and discretely shove it in my mouth before anyone caught me. Copper deliciousness! I was always under the impression that copper was a trace element in the human body, but for some reason, whenever I saw a stray coin on the ground my mouth would start to water uncontrollably until I picked it up and ate it.
How many coins have I eaten over the years? Countless. Hundreds of dollars worth. My stepfather used to yell at me for stealing money off of his dresser because he thought I was spending it on candy. Hah! Many people have asked me over the years why I have eaten money when I could have spent it. I can’t answer this, but for the satisfaction it brought me I can say it was worth EVERY penny.
Plus, it wasn’t just money- it was all kinds of things- buttons, small keys, screws, paperclips, my sister’s little plastic toys, on and on. These are just the solid things. There was also the dirt, school paste (my teacher would stand over me until I was done using it), pineapple rinds, cloth, floor- licking, and crumpled up bits of tape (Scotch and duct) that I would munch in ecstasy. When I was 16 I went through a short phase of swallowing ladybugs whole. I would tell people it was for good luck, but really I would just see one crawling on a leaf and I would just start to drool…
One of my record store jobs was excruciatingly dull. There would be slow times when you would even run out of tedious cleaning and straightening chores, so we would often get up to hijinks with the security tags. It was considered very hilarious to slap them on someone’s back before they left for the day, so the security guard would have to search them when they set off the door alarm. One day, we somehow got started on the security tags again. Someone brought up the notion of things you could hide the tags in so they wouldn’t set off the alarm. What was too dense for the sensor to get through?
Finally we settled on an experiment, and I was to be the lab rat. It was a smallish tag, about an inch by a half-inch and it resembled a stick of gum but thicker. I was to swallow the tag and walk through the doors to see if the alarm would go off while it was in my body. My reward was a bottle of juice my co-workers chipped in on to wash the tag down with.
It was a pretty sizable piece of metal and plastic to swallow whole. I had a lot of practice at this point, so it wasn’t too hard to get down. I chased it with my fruit juice and walked throught the front doors of the store.
Nothing! How disappointing.
I know what you’re thinking- all this stuff that went in to my body, it all comes out, right? Well- that’s the weird thing. I have never again seen anything that’s I’ve eaten. Not that I’ve looked too closely, though. I just keep up on my tetanus shots and hope for the best…