Although the new polymer £5 notes have been in circulation in Britain since mid-September, my wallet only experienced one today. I recall there being a lot of talk about it and even some controversy – the old fivers, they carried a legacy. Over 320 years of history, replaced by something you could use as a coaster. Not only that, but the old fivers will actually stop being legal tender next year. But I am actually very fond of this elusive new money.
I find five-pound notes are the rarest of all the commonly-used notes. Everyone seems to be after them; consumers hand over tens or twenties when they just want to by a simple £3.20 worth of snacks, all the while wishing they could just hand over a fiver and get the whole shameful encounter over with. In the shop I work, the fiver slot is often empty, or perhaps there is just one lonely, old fiver, unable to get comfortable in the drawer, knowing it’ll be called upon as change within the next ten minutes.
But, now I have got myself not just any fiver, but a new plastic fiver, I feel confident in expressing my opinion on them: I enjoy them. And, far from just being money, I’ve found many other uses for my new tender. Here are some of the things I think it could be useful for:
• A coaster, as I previously stated – You don’t have any coaster nearby? You don’t want to stain your nan’s lovely new side-table she picked up for much less than she insists it was? Simply whip out your wallet, smooth down a plastic fiver, and lay your glass on that. Some liquid might spill over the side, but, provided you’re over 5 years old, you should be golden.
• An insole – Sure, you might need a lot of them, but you’re not bound to rub a hole through plastic with your massive toes, like you might have done through a canvas fiver.
• A plectrum – No longer will you have to shred your fingertips on your kickin’, rockin’ electric guitar you think you can play better than you actually can – just fold up a new fiver and get strumming!
• A scoop for various sauces – You’re just finishing your lovely meal at a local café when you realise – you still have sauce! And, like the greedy and disgusting animal you are, you want that delicious sauce. After all, you paid for that. So, fold your new fiver into a scoop shape and shovel the shloop into your awaiting smush-hole, you fat bastard.
• You can do similar for ice-cream – In fact, you’ll probably get away with it if you’re eating ice-cream. Or maybe not. People will still stare at you if you have the Queen’s face half-covered with raspberry ripple sticking out of your mouth.
As you can see, most of these ideas are based on the assumption that the new plastic fivers can be used without breaking, or they can be wiped clean afterwards.
This brings me to my favourite uses for them:
• Have a big night planned? Simply take a few polymer fivers with you! Let’s suppose the so-called “moves” you’ve been spasming all over the club have, by some miracle, worked, and you’ve landed yourself a cute little honey on your knee. Excellent! Let’s go a step further – you’re in your bedroom with her somehow. I don’t know what fateful day this is, but let’s roll with it, I’m sure you’re enjoying the fantasy.
Disaster! Although you have your wallet with you, you have no condom in it! Terrible. But fear not! New polymer fiver will stop you from being the deadbeat father you know you will be. Simply fold the fiver in half, place it over your 2-incher and secure with her hairband. Perfect. And, with Churchill and old Queenie with you, it’s practically a foursome!
• Or maybe your night is going in a different direction – substances are rearing their ugly heads. Or maybe you just want to indulge yourself a little before you pop over to see your nephew. Anyway, you’ve got the cocaine out in front of you. A wobbly line, because your hands are shaking too much with the credit card to straighten it. Polymer fiver, curled up. But, you ask, why not just use a normal fiver? Well, with the new fiver, once you’ve snorted your white gold, you can simply give it an rinse off and hand it to your nephew to buy a dib-dab with. And who cares if he starts chewing it? You’ve washed the coke off it. He’ll be fine.