A Pawnshop Odyssey

Posted on Sunday, November 11th, 2012 by Austin Gerth

Yesterday I realized the awesomeness of pawn shops: they’re these really sketchy-seeming, disreputable places, but when you’re in college (and therefore probably both poor and easily amused) they’re a match made in heaven; everything’s cheap, and probably not too well-organized, which leaves ample opportunity to accidentally find something really rad buried amongst the used hardware and ephemera.

The story begins simply: there’s been a really significant amount of “Mario Kart” being played on Hoyum’s second floor of late, ever since the appearance of a Nintendo 64 in room 207; however, there are only three controllers (one of which is grossly inferior to the others), and a few of us decided that our best course of action was to scour local pawn shops in search of one or two additional controllers.

We failed utterly to find any used controllers, but what we did find may be even better. We drove first to Fargo’s Pawn America, where floorie Jason Neumann (he of the previously blogged-about Escort) found something potentially life-changing: an antique harmonica, allegedly made in Germany in 1938 (according to a yellowed, handwritten note found in its case), purchased at the rock-bottom price of $19.99. I imagine it will be only a matter of time before the incessant harmonica playing leads Neumann’s roommate to the brink of insanity.

Pawn America didn’t have what we were looking for, and we had no real idea how to get back to Concordia, so naturally we drove around with no purpose, listening to Marvin Gaye. We went to two more Fargo pawn shops and an antique store, all three of which were full of really awesome things we couldn’t afford (banjos, Israeli bull horns, etc.), and none of which had any N64 controllers. After a couple hours we gave up and found our way back to the college, where Jason began to investigate the note enclosed in his harmonica’s case, which included a brief, hard-to-read history of the harmonica’s life so far, along with the Fargo address of a woman who may have given it to Pawn America. We found out, via Google, that the address happened to be right across the street from the antique store we had visited near the end of our journey, which is a really strange coincidence.

Jason’s (possibly Nazi-manufactured) harmonica.

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About Austin Gerth


Austin Gerth

Writing & Philosophy

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Twitter: @Austin_Gerth

Hello everyone! I’m Austin Gerth, class of 2016, from scenic Princeton, Minnesota. My hobbies include listening to and playing music, reading, watching movies, and thinking about things. I’m majoring in Writing. After college, I hope to be either some sort of writer or some sort of homeless (or both). I chose to come to Concordia mostly for the food, though it has a lot of other good qualities as well. Since coming to Concordia I’ve been to dorm room eggnog parties and late-night viral video productions; I’ve listened to a lot of Justin Timberlake and blindly taken a yoga class with no prior experience; I’ve participated in a heroically unproductive religion study group and fallen asleep in the campus center. On top of these things, I’ve also received a superlative education. If you like wind and pizza, you’ll like Fargo-Moorhead, and if you like corn-oriented humor, semi-gourmet cafeteria food, or late-night intellectual behavior, you’ll like Concordia. If you like all of the above, you’re probably already here and we’re probably already friends.