what is a dime worth?

I’m wondering about the expression “turning on a dime.”

It came to mind recently and then again the other day.

First it was when my dad had a bird hit his shoulder and then drop dead. We were at the windmill with him again last week, showing him how it now works. Then this bird fell at his feet. He says it is the first time that’s ever happened to him.


He asked why I was taking a photo of the bird. I wasn’t sure why, either. (You can click on this photo to see it larger, if you are curious. No pressure.)

He was happy when he came out of the windmill that it was no longer there. I didn’t tell him that the wind pushed it to the next step.

What you don’t see won’t spook you.

The fact is that it most likely hit one of the blades of the mill and then hit him on the way down. The fact is that it probably happens often, but not with my father.


Last time we were there, the inside was not open. Somehow seeing up to the top made it feel even more powerful.

I think powerful is the operable word here. Or lack of it.

Two days ago, a woman from our community was killed in a car crash. A young woman, younger than me, leaving a husband and son. And many friends and relatives in a state of shock.

So the phrase comes up. Life can change on a dime.

So what does it mean?

Here is a plausible explanation and source:

The expression “can turn on a dime” means “has a very tight turning radius“. A dime is a very small American coin, 17.91 mm diameter. In this expression, it illustrates just how small the turning radius is. (A tight or small turning radius is an advantage in handling a car.)

By extension, anything that can “turn on a dime” can make a radical change in direction very quickly.

Yes, this is the power of the phrase. And how fragile it all is.



2 thoughts on “what is a dime worth?

  1. Thanks for your thoughts , I just watered all your plants, they were all quite thirsty , I first dropped off miso soup to my neighbor ronna Wallace , her husband Albert just died of a heart attack this morning upon getting out of bed. I hugged her and told her I will be there anytime she needs, then I brought the other two quarts of soup to Roy and finally let go of the tears I was holding in, first with Roy then Lisa then Jessica’s son Jon then her sister. Lisa said tomorrow will be harder not sure how any moment can get any harder. Then back at your house checking that the wires were melting the 16″ of snow, they were in and creating some dripping but still a long way to go, I happened to look at your desk and there sat the book on women saying Kaddish, so I sat and read and was comforted by all who shared and by yours. So thank you for the opportunity to live life as it comes and goes.
    Love you

    1. We’re all quite thirsty, aren’t we?
      It’s all a dance, one step forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back.
      I’m glad my book was helpful–it’s just hard sometimes to see past the present and gain perspective. But sometimes it’s just as important to stay with the moment and let it be hard.
      I love you, my dear friend.

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