KLEZMER GUY: Wickin’ Cool & Legal Tender

Wickin’ Cool

By Bert Stratton

I threw out my dad’s wife-beater T-shirts. About time. My father died more than 25 years ago. The wife-beaters were balled up like popcorn balls in my dresser drawer.

When it’s 90-plus degrees, I’m thinking “wife-beaters.” I wore my dad’s T-shirts around the house.

My wife bought me a wicking T-shirt with UV protection at Target. Only $11. It was cooler than the wife-beater.

I saved one of my father’s wife-beaters for posterity and threw the rest out.

Underwear fashion is generational. My grown sons aren’t interested in my wife-beaters. My dad wore his wife-beaters under dress shirts for work — for his day job at the key company.

I’m going to buy a couple more ultra-light wicking T-shirts.

No doubt, my sons will pitch my ultra-lights when I’m either dead or not looking. By 2025, T-shirts will be spray-on from a can.

Meanwhile, I’m cool. I’m wickin’ cool.


Legal Tender

I never asked my wife, Alice, to take a Diner quiz.  I never said, “Who is Unitas, or I won’t marry you.”

But if I had done a quiz, I would have asked numismatic questions.

Who is on the dime?

I have a negative opinion — a slightly negative opinion — of people who don’t know who is on the dime.

Who is on the $10,000 bill?  That, I don’t hold against anybody.  The government hasn’t printed a 10K bill since 1946.  [Answer below.]

My favorite coin is the Kennedy half dollar for a few reasons: it has heft, it has a good feel to it (serrated edges), and it’s half a rock — a quality nickname.

You don’t see many half a rocks.  The government stopped making them in 2003.  You can go into a bank and request a half a rock, but who’s  going to do that.  I like half a rocks, but not on me.  Half a rocks would jam my Quikey coin purse.

I sold most of my half dollars for their silver content.  I got 8 times face value in 1980 and 9 times face  in 2007.

Eventually I gave Alice a low-stakes money quiz.  Way too late — way too many years into our marriage.  She knew Lincoln was on the penny and Washington was on the dollar bill.  She said an Indian was on the nickel.

True, Alice.  A very old nickel.

I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t want Alice to have a slightly negative opinion of me.

Franklin D. Roosevelt is on the dime.
Salmon P. Chase is on the $10,000 bill.
Quikey Manufacturing Co. of Akron,  Ohio, introduced the squeezable rubber coin purse in 1951.


[Illustration by Ralph Solonitz]


Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy. He knows about the band biz and — check this out — the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klez Landlord. You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. His blog Klezmer Guy (http://YiddisheCup.com/blog) has a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets. Klezmer Guy was a reporter for Sun Newspapers. He has written for Rolling Stone, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the New York Times. He won two Hopwood Awards.

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