by Eric Rampson
Need change? I have a pocketful; I can spare some.
Here are four shiny Illinois quarters, young Abe Lincoln flanked by a farm on one side, the Chicago skyline on the other, 21 stars around the edge, more than you can ever see in the Chicago night sky. One of the quarters is my time in offices dotted around the Chicago area, first as an editor and project manager in educational publishing, then as a career advisor for an art school. The other is my time in the Chicago comedy scene, classes twice a week, shows any night I could get them, that single quarter worth more than I ever made on stage. The third one is the birth of my son, the most gloriously terrifying quarter you ever held in your hand, a quarter you know, that if you can keep it perfectly, will be worth more than any coin ever. The last one is my writing life, the newest of them, the shiniest; I’ve only had it for the last couple years.
So, yeah, there you go, change. Don’t worry; I’ve got plenty more coming up—my daughter’ll be here in a month, I finish my MFA in six—and my life will look completely different once again in the spring. I’ll have plenty more jangly change in my pocket after that.
Alter the color — green, silver, copper. Change the form — it can rustle or clink. But when you add it all up, it’s still the same. A dollar’s a dollar: bills, quarters, nickels, dimes, pennies. You’re holding, in the end, the same thing—your life. So go ahead, make change. Get change. Change.
After 15 years in the Chicago comedy scene as a performer, writer, and director, Eric Rampson has turned his attention back to his first love, fiction. His stories have been published in the Logan Square Literary Review and Trembles. He is also editor-in-chief of Lonely Robot Comics through which he publishes several titles. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Fiction from The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He lives in Chicago with his wife and son.
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