Worth a Quarter

Last week, while I was staying with my mom at the hospital, my wife had some issues with the boys picking on each other. At one point, it reached a level so high that it inspired her ┬áto have the brilliant idea of charging a quarter each time one of them touched the other. It didn’t matter why the contact was made. Her rule was simple: if you touch your brother, you owe her a quarter.

The boys did extremely well at not losing money. There were some giggly moments when they were obviously not telling her about incidents that should have cost them a quarter, but that was fine.

Yesterday, after having been briefed on the new quarter rule, it was my turn to watch the boys.

“Give me five,” my oldest said, raising his hand in front of his little brother.

“Wait,” I said. “Won’t that cost him a quarter?”

The little miscreant grinned at me. “Aw, Dad!”

“That wouldn’t be fair,” his little brother said. “Cause we’re both giving the high five. It should cost us both a quarter.”

“Okay,” I said. “High five away. I could use the cash.”

“But that would mean,” the older one said, “that we’d both get charged a quarter any time we touched. If that’s the rule, I could slug him and it would cost us both a quarter.”

“Definitely not the rule.” I said. “You touch him, you owe me a quarter.”

“Wait,” he said. “Are you saying that it only costs me a quarter if I hit him? Nothing else?”

“And you get in trouble,” I said emphatically. “Big trouble.”

“Oh.”

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