Monday, September 9, 2002

the jar as economic indicator

Several years prior to his death, Frank Sinatra began marketing his own line of Italian food products. He offered traditional red sauces, Marsala and Scampi cooking sauces, pesto and Alfredo, all-natural and all sold beneath the red-blazoned 'Frank Sinatra' signature. I know this not because I held a conspicuous finger to the pulsepoint of celebrities' consumer marketing schemes during the late '90s, and neither due to any particular dedication I felt to the velvet-throated crooner, but rather that, one dull afternoon, I went to the grocery store, found them on the shelves, and bought a jar, thinking it was funny.

I don't remember if the sauce was any good. You know, I don't even remember eating it. I kept the jar, however. Having long since been rinsed free of any pesky pesto particles, the receptacle now serves as a reservoir for my loose pocket change. This practice of keeping a change jar is a symptom I attribute to my (slowly) growing maturity in combination with persistent lean times, my past inactivity well caught up with me. When I decided at nineteen to drop out of college and go to work, I hadn't properly considered the notion that perhaps I'd like to be able to support a family one day. (Nowadays these kinds of oversights are biting me in the ass like flying mousetraps, and with daunting frequency. Nowadays 'one day' seems much closer than some ambiguous conception of the distant future. In fact, I've been looking into this, and I am becoming increasingly convinced 'one day' has come and gone, and that this is already post-apocalypse without my even having known it happened, months ago, in a borrowed tent on top of a mountain in the middle of a howling windstorm, while I slept.) The jar as economic indicator is a result of being essentially broke ever since. It exists so that, in a pinch, there's a bit extra on hand for takeout food or gas in the car. The thicker the times, the more change collects unraided in the jar.

All this to say that, when last plundered, the jar held almost $35. And, at the moment, it's still empty.

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