Universal Penny Bank’s Terms of Use

Dear Uptight,

Was that you power-walking in front of me in the sweatshirt that said “The divine in me blesses and honors the divine in you”? If so, the divine in me wants the divine in you to mind its own business.

Green Lake Walk-Arounder

Dear Walk-Arounder,

The divine in me is taken aback and wonders if the divine in you needs a hug. Because that wouldn’t be a problem. Blessing the divine in you via a hug is certainly one of the options the divine in me has on the table. This offer will seem a lot less presumptuous if you reflect on the illusory nature of the boundaries between one person’s divinity and another’s. Unable to make this conceptual leap? Again, not a problem. The divine in you can give itself a hug. Once you stop feeling weird about it, inner-divinity self-hugging can really help promote a sense of well-being.

Dearest Mr. Uptight Seattleite,

Would you ever consider cutting off your ponytail?

Looking for Love

Dear Looking,

Is it just me, or did it just get a lot more intriguing in here?

I would like to proffer a yes to your question, along with a bouquet of qualifications. For the right person, I would indeed be willing to make a show of flexibility, even if that meant surrendering the free-swinging badge of my Peace Warrior spirit. If, that is, the person in question were willing to make a reciprocal gesture. Smell my subjunctive? For example, how would you feel about getting a tattoo of my severed ponytail? To show you understand what I’ve lost and offer consolation in the form of its likeness. We could discuss the location. That seems like a fairly equitable exchange. Or, taking another purely hypothetical example, would you be willing to occasionally wear a policewoman’s uniform? I just happen to have one I bought as a gag at Champion Party Supply. Or how about allowing me to push you around in a wheelchair from time to time? We could probably pick one up at Goodwill. Do you feel your own intrigue level rising, Love Looker? Maybe that’s the signal for you to reach out and explore a few more of my deal points.

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

In the course of buying a “good cop special” at the donut shop, I borrowed $.06 from the penny cup, and got a dirty look from the cashier. What’s the limit for penny cups? And no, I had nothing left for a tip on the $2 bill.

No Bucks Chuck

Dear Chuck,

All those people who used to laugh at us wild-eyed radicals—where are they now that it turns out capitalism really is a big lie? But even as the rest of the financial system continues to self-destruct, the workings of the Universal Penny Bank hum on with invisible efficiency. This bank, which magically connects every penny cup with every other penny cup, has only one rule: Take no more than you give. While unable to actually enforce this rule, the Bank does have a regulatory system based on the silent distribution of guilt. Your compulsion to write in proves you’ve felt the sting of this guilt, Chuck.

Now that we understand the context a little bit better, let’s rephrase that question of yours: What’s the UPB’s culpability-free withdrawal limit per transaction? The answer is that it depends on your rating. I don’t know yours, but I’m permanently pre-approved for up to $.09. If anyone cares to challenge me on this point, I’ll happily produce the “Lifetime 9-Cent’er” certificate I was presented with at this special banquet/contra dance they had at the Century Ballroom a few years back.

If you want to improve your rating, start by noticing that not all penny cups yield equal returns. A cent tossed into that soiled Marlboro-issue receptacle at 7-Eleven, for example, is worth slightly less than a cent tossed into the cute little cappuccino cup at the Caffe Ladro up the street. You can also help your case by making the occasional all-penny purchase. Just the other day at Ken’s Market on Greenwood, I myself paid for a couple of Clif bars and a vitamin water entirely in pennies. I suggested to the cashier that the counting would go a lot faster if she would just make stacks of 10. She seemed to appreciate the little break in her routine. I smiled at the people in line behind me to invite them to join in the spirit of the moment.

By the way, can I have a donut? I usually prefer fine confectionery, but just this once I’d be willing to make an exception and take one of those guys off your hands.

Wanna be BUFFs? Find the Uptight on Facebook! Or write to him at uptight@seattleweekly.com.