In fulfilling mission #20 I had a moment last year of synchronicity or grace involving a dime (see blog entry: “the mystery of the penny made clear by the dime”). I mention this because the dime has recently returned and once again as an explicit emissary of some supersensible implicate order. Interestingly enough, the dime returned because I removed it from a commencement address I gave earlier this month for the graduating seniors at Sacramento Waldorf. Up until the day before the graduation, I had planned on ending my address with the story of the dime as I related it in the earlier blog; I was using the dime story as an example of how moments of grace can intercede in one’s life. The day before the graduation, however, a growing unease with this particular story grew strong enough that I could no longer ignore it. I was originally uneasy because the story seemed too much about me, too much tooting my own horn. On this day, however, I was more uneasy about how the dime fit in the story — it seemed fishy to me. It only took a few minutes of research for me to realize that my unease had not been without merit: I discovered in an urban dictionary that a “dime” is a term for a small amount of drugs, a shortening of the expression “dime bag.” Of course it made me wonder whether the dime I gave the woman on Market street was in fact what she wanted — maybe for her my giving her an actual dime seemed like an insult. The dime story certainly revealed my naivete.
But here the story grows more complicated and the context widens. The senior class for whom I was giving the address had lost one of their classmates to suicide early in their senior year. Needless to say, their senior year had not been easy and the school community had struggled to make sense of the tragedy. I tried as best I could to take all of this into account as I composed my commencement address; I didn’t want it to turn a blind eye to suffering. I even asked for help in writing the address from Kyle (the young man who had killed himself) and from the rest of the supersensible implicate order. Still, the address did not come easy.
Thankfully, when I actually gave the address, it went well — removing the dime had been the right choice. Immediately after I gave it, however, I was speaking to my friend Sharon about that very dime and how and why I had removed it, when she stopped me and proceeded to kneel down and pick up a dime from underneath the chair that Kyle’s father had been sitting in. She smiled, shook her head, and gave me the dime.