These Are Currency in My Country

November 18, 2010
The delicate art of bottle-cap collecting is a pastime that you can engage in while accomplishing the most mundane of activities – i.e. walking along the road to the bus stop. (Best place of all if you don’t want to go out of your way.) Seeing a shiny flash out of the corner of your eye and making a dive for a little bit of metal…it really appeals to my inner archaeologist (and magpie, my friend likes to joke). On an evening walk, a stop around – not in, of course; they never keep caps – a liquor store is perfect for gathering these pieces, and even better is once your friends and relatives learn of your collection and offer their own finds from the other end of the country (or world)! Even when going to restaurants, if you just go to the bartender you can ask for leftover caps and they‘ll usually have a ready supply in a little trash can next to the fridge or beer dispenser.

And once you grow tired of collecting, you can fulfill any obsessive-compulsive tendencies you may have for organizing and begin to alphabetize them, arrange by symbol and animal, by color, by popularity and amount, or even create a mosaic out of Heinekens like my dad made with my extras once. (Heineken, Corona, Budweiser, Michelob, and their Lights are the most popular, respectively. See what you learn?)

I have bottlecaps portraying all sorts of things – one with a beautiful etching of the three pyramids at Giza, one with a rather colorful gecko, one of a lion, plenty from other countries (I made a killing when I went to Canada and Mexico years ago) – even a stylish one from Ankgor Wat in Cambodia! I’ve received (and found) many different versions, old and new, of Coca-Cola and Sprite, along with various innocuous sodas and fruit juices. There’s even a mysterious white one with a stylized cat and pink ‘p’ – tarnished from age and practically one-of-a-kind – that I particularly treasure. I’ve gained so much joy and fun from collecting, and even now – years after I stopped collecting seriously – I still keep an eye out for that tell-tale sparkle at the side of the road.





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