no, that’s not a Roman coin . . .

So I’m sitting here at my desk, writing down my favourite bits from Lyndsay’s favourite bits of the book Roaring Lambs (too lazy to read the whole thing; there are many books on my to-read list), when Jennifer calls me in to see something in the bathroom.

“Is that a quarter?”

I look.  There’s a circular object in the bottom of the toilet.  It has ridges around it and is about the size of a quarter.  You can view it here and see for yourself.

“Looks like a quarter.”

What is a quarter doing in the toilet?”

“I have no idea how a quarter got in the toilet.”

“What should we do?  How do we get it out?”

“I dunno,” I said, thinking that it would be interesting to leave it there and see what happens or simply plunge my hand in and be a quarter richer.

Jennifer, being more anti-germ than I am, took the toilet brush and dug at the bottom of the toilet.  To no avail.

“Take the toilet brush out.”

I plunged in my hand and removed the foreign object from the toilet.  It was a small, metal disc the size of a quarter.  Indeed, it was ridged around the edge.  But it had no visible markings as it sat there, wet and dripping into the toilet, a few black spots on it.

“What it is it?”

“Maybe it’s part of the toilet.  Maybe it belongs somewhere and has come unattached,” I suggested.

“What should we do with it?”

“Put it back?”

“What if our toilet stops working?”

“I dunno.  We should hang onto it, I guess.”

“We should put it on toilet paper,” said Jennifer, tearing a square off.  As I washed my hands, she noted, “I think it is a quarter.  It has those dots around the edge.”

Indeed, around the edge of every Canadian quarter, just within the groove, is series of small dots, little hillocks, round little bumps surrounding the circumference of the image within.  This artefact seemed to have the remains of both the ridge and the groove.

As I inspect the coin here on its toilet paper, I can make out the faint image of Queen Elizabeth II from her tiara stage (not the ribbon, not the big regal crown, not “the Queen of Canada is your grandmother”).  The second E of ELIZABETH is still there, as are the letters GINA from D G REGINA (By the Grace of God, Queen — see, Latin is useful!).

The reverse (really hope I got that right) bears no traces of a caribou, however.  Indeed, our antlered friend has been replaced by a mountainous terrain that is somewhat green in spots, undoubtedly from the presence of copper in this once shining “silver” coin, as well as a vague metallic brown colour (like unpolished bronze or something) with a few craters, but still a hint of the row of dots from the design.

Looks like an ancient coin, only less well preserved, all told.

Archaeology, right here in my own toilet!


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