Tuesday, June 13, 2006


When I was growing up, Sunday night was laundry night. Every Sunday, without fail: laundry. On one summer night, as the city's asphalt refused to release the day's heat, I was once again at the laundrymat. The amusement of running up and down the aisles was starting to dwindle, so I asked Mom if I could go to 7-Eleven. Without looking up from her magazine, she gave me a nod.

The 7-Eleven was packed; a solid line of people from the door to the coolers and back out. No one was playing the video games. As if even that was an exertion unthinkable in this heat. (They used to have games in there back then; when kids were allowed to loiter and boys could be boys.) I didn't have any money to play the games, quarters were reserved for the machines next door. So I stood there and watched the video games cycle through their pseudo-siren-esque calls.

One of the guys behind the counter noticed me. I didn't notice him noticing, but, in hindsight, I assume that he must have. After a few minutes, in a lull between selling six-packs and ice, he called me over and offered me a roll of quarters. He said, "Here, play some games". Just like that he gave me the roll, nothing more said.

There are heroes that save lives, heroes that change lives. Then there are the heroes that, with a roll of quarters, turns just another Sunday night into a lifelong memory.

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