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Scumball Machine

April 13, 2009

At a certain early age, many kids are compelled to suck on thumbs, bottles, or pacifiers. I was never interested in those things as a tot; I favored eating cigarette butts.

My parents would catch me stalking the sidewalks and streets like a marsh bird, intent upon my elusive prey. It’s a pretty unseemly habit for a small child to have–worse than smoking really. Worse yet, I resembled a W.C. Fields mini-me even in my finer moments at that age, so I can only imagine the profile I must have cut, cross-eyed from the nicotine, my sour maw blackened with wet ashes.

Given my guttermouth childhood tendency, it’s a wonder I’ve never been seduced by this foul little gumball machine that lurks at toddler level along my daily route.

My Local Scumball Machine

My Local Scumball Machine

In case you’re wondering, there is no toy store left of frame. That would be awkward too, but it would make more sense. In fact, the erotik kino is flanked by a strip club on the left and a brothel on the right; so they’ve actually selected the tamest wall of the adult entertainment complex for the gumball machine. I also give them credit for installing it so low (about a foot off the ground), though this does create an especially uncomfortable situation for candy loving kino patrons.

But who is the they operating this thing? Was it a brainchild of the adult services merchant?

Is he gunning for demographics? Forging synergies? Imagineering Funtopia?

And where exactly does a kid go when the machine eats his euro?

Maybe explain the situation to the TT-8L gatekeeper droid? He’s just admiring the flowers.

Choices, Choices

Choices, Choices

Too much good stuff: mini-eight balls, raunchy jawbreakers, and something called “sticky mix” with a busted safety door. No need to get all Danny Tanner about it though: it’s not like the thing is structurally dependent on a masturbation station and catches filthy ground draft from a busy intersection. Jump in tha mix!

There are other street mounted gumball machines in Berlin and beyond. I once stumbled upon one in Prague that dispensed gumballs, superballs, and miniature fold-out knives–in plastic safety eggs, thank god. All hail the free market!


Dues Paid

Dues Paid

The scumball machine earns its keep.


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