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.