Today, I was picking her up from work, and she said, "I wish I lived in the days when cars cost $500. I wish I could just go back in time."
I pointed out to her that since she was a black young woman, going back in time for a $500 car probably wouldn't be worth the trouble.
"Oh. Right," she said. "Well, then I'd send a white friend back in time to get the car for me. . . . Like one of those Starsky and Hutch cars, only brand-new." Skirting the issue of whether she could buy a "Starsky and Hutch" car, brand-new, from the past, for only $500, I agreed that such a car, in mint condition, would be worth a lot of money in 2008.
"'Mint condition'? Does that have to do with your breath --'minty fresh'?" she asked. I told her that, in fact, the expression had to do with making money at Fort Knox (among other places).
"So mint condition doesn't have anything to do with mints?" I told her no; I tried to explain that mint was also a noun meaning "the place where money is printed" or a verb meaning "stamp" or "print," but then the child said, "Does the word for the place where money comes from have to do with the way the money smells? Like a minty-fresh smell?"
I told her that the expression minty-fresh comes from the name of a plant, "mint," that grows in the ground.
"So money's made from mint?"
Jesus, my brother, just give me strength.