A Pop Story With A Happy Ending

Tom Magliery, c. 1987

I went downstairs to the snack room, four quarters in hand, hoping to return with a Mountain Dew, a bag of Cornies, and a dime.

I entered, and I inserted a quarter in the pop machine. It fell through. Having dealt with temperamental pop machines, I thought, well, it should take at least two of these four, and even if it doesn't it probably will on the second try.

Quarters 2, 3 and 4 fell through. Wondering at the chances of its rejecting all four quarters on their first tries, I picked them up to refeed them. Quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4 fell through.

On trial #3, quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4 again fell through. At this point I thought to myself, gee, I'm glad I had four quarters instead of two, because I've run through 12 rejections but only had to reach down and collect from the coin return slot three times.

On trial #4, quarters 1 and 2 fell through, and then I paused. I contemplated the mean things I could do to this machine. For an instant I remembered the recent news story about how some people are killed when they are crushed by pop machines they have toppled over on top of themselves. Then I contemplated somewhat less mean, but still mean, things to do to the machine.

I was surprised when suddenly the rational part of my brain took over and I thought, if I were a pop machine, and someone had already put in enough money to get out a pop, and then that someone kept on putting in money, then lacking any ability to tell the person to stop being foolish, I would probably just let the money fall through.

Quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4 in hand, I pressed the Mountain Dew button.

Wheeeeeeee! A Mountain Dew came rolling down.

The Cornies came off without a hitch, and I went back upstairs with a Mountain Dew, a bag of Cornies, and 2 quarters and dime.

Tom Magliery