Trina Machacek: The surprise and magic of 10 bucks

Trina Machacek

Trina Machacek

I wonder? What’s the largest amount of money you have ever found? When I was a kid, my parents were on a bowling league and on Friday nights they took all three of us kiddos to the alley, saving paying a babysitter. We were allowed to run amuck because it was like a giant daycare. Well night care really.
One night while jumping up and down the stairs from the alleyways to the non-alleyways, you know like little kids will do, I found a $100 bill. I had no inkling of money when I was very young. Something I outgrew quickly as I am a girl and all.
I showed it to my mom, and it didn’t take long for the hundred to be returned to a guy on the team who had just gotten paid and was, I’m sure, very happy to get it back. That was, as they say, when a hundred bucks was really worth a hundred bucks. Since that time, I have come across a few dollars here and there and it’s always like finding treasure. Just a few days ago I found a ten spot in my back pocket. I still have no idea how it got there or when I put it there. I mean it had to be me who put it there. I am the only one who wears my pants.
I have seen a few episodes of COPS where a guy wearing pants and something illegal is found in a pocket and the guy will say, “These are not my pants.” YIKES! No that is not me. These are my pants and therefore the ten bucks I found in the back pocket is definitely mine thank you very much.
You would think I won a lottery. That’s how excited I was. I know it can’t buy much, but. Yes, a folding money “but.” Have you looked at a $10 bill lately? It’s kinda pretty in a folded and crinkled way. I’m glad our money is green. Some countries have red or yellow money. Those moneys look fake. Our money looks and feels real and worth all it has taken for me to make every dollar that slips through my mitts. I can tell you that finding these ten spots has really gotten my pea brain in a spin. Oh, I pretty much have gotten over trying to figure out when, and where, and how it found its way into my pocket. Now I have moved onto how to spend it.
I know that it will sooner or later just get stuffed into my wallet or into the nook I have in my truck where I occasionally stuff money. Just in case I need to zip through a drive thru and the change I keep in a cup — known as my Pepsi money — isn’t enough for a whole meal and I need folding money. It’s a whole thing, the thing of being me.
Ten bucks could cover the cost of a few paperback books at my favorite used bookstore. Ten bucks could buy a whole rotisserie chicken and have money left over for napkins. Oh, the choices are endless. Just sitting looking at that portrait of Hamilton makes me wonder what he would have bought. Maybe a few casks of rum brought from Jamaica on a tall ship to throw a party to celebrate the Constitution he helped to draft. Or that he was indeed the first secretary of the treasury. Perhaps he was instrumental in making our money green. Could be.
My $10 today still brings thoughts of spending grandeur. It drives those who know all the ins and outs of money, and its worth, a bit nutty that I do not subscribe to the knowledge that $10 isn’t what $10 was even 10 years ago. Oh, of course I know all that craziness. If my free ten bucks doesn’t buy what I want, I will spend it on what I need. And if it doesn’t buy exactly what I need, I will set my sights on what it will buy.
I hope I never get to the point when I slip my hand into a pocket of my jeans or coat and pull-out money that I have forgotten and that my heart doesn’t beat a little faster and happier. Hey, once I found a twenty out under some tumbleweeds where the fall before I had burnt weeds. I don’t know where that twenty came from, but it was scorched. It had been on fire, and it laid out there for a year. I still get girl giddy when I think of bending over and picking it up. Yes, I still have it.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book, “They Call Me Weener,” is available on or email her at


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