Thursday, April 14, 2011


A Michigan window cleaner gave this to me at work today.

He's in town for a skating competition and as I dropped his check off, he pulled it out and flipped it on the table.

"That's for you," he said.

I thought it was a wooden nickel at first, so I picked it up. It's the same size and weight, but that's not what it was.

"Do you know what that is?"
"I have no idea."
"It's a little bit of a riddle."

I turned it over in my hands looking at the design on the front. I was already over thinking it. Whenever I get something like this from a customer—and I get a lot of them—it's always stupidly simple. As soon as I get it, I'm equally amused that someone went through the trouble to carry it out but upset that I didn't get it right away.

I looked over the letters, T U I T pressed into hard plastic, almost like a poker chip but not as heavy. The way the T's are imprinted and slightly larger made me think there was something more to it. I began looking for a design between the letters and his wife already knew I was trying too hard.

"You're thinking too much," she said, "I can already tell."

This is something he does all the time. At every new restaurant in every new city they visit. He gets a kick out of it but his wife, who has seen it too many times, is sick of it and always just a tad embarrassed. But she sees how happy it makes him, so she never says a word.

He handed me his credit card. "Think it over a minute."

I ran the card and came back still no closer than I was before. As he signed the receipt, he looked up, smiling.

"Still got nothing," I said.
"Think about the shape."

He stood up and grabbed his coat to leave.

I know there is no way that he's leaving without telling me what the hell this is. I know that for sure. It's all part of his little game (luckily this was my last table of the day so I had time to dick around with silly riddles) and I just had to wait it out.

"Maybe not circular," he said. "Well we've gotta get going."

I stood there waiting for the inevitable punchline for this joke that's now gone on a bit too long."

"But don't worry," he said as he walked away, "you'll get a round to it."


A round TUIT.

I let out a long sigh that he's obviously heard before. The kind of sigh that says "God damn it. Why didn't I think of that right off the bat?"

He turned back around, laughed and proceeded to tell me the origin of his Round TUIT gag while his wife kept inching closer and closer to the door waiting for him to finish this story for the thousandth time.

And then he left.

This is what I do at work.

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