There's this girl who wears this junkie watch, something she would have gotten from a cereal box. Despite offering a new one, she keeps on wearing it. Perhaps she's a bit obsessed over this watch, or maybe there's something more important to it than she's been letting on ...
You can guess where this trope gets its name from.
The Number One Dime - an everyday item that has very little value to most people, but it has been infused with great sentimental value. This item is often regarded to be very important to its owner, if not overly important, to the point that this owner would have a nervous breakdown if their item were lost or stolen. Word for the wise - don't mess around with someone's Number One Dime.
This item could be just about anything, but it is often associated with childhood memorabilia. It gets interesting when another child starts to play with it, even if the owner of the item is an adult now.
"I won't let that baby get you, Hugsy!"
This sentiment might be well known to others, which is bound to offer up some needed morale when the owner asks you to throw it. Expect him to have you fetch it immediately afterwards, however.
"I said 'throw my hat,' not 'chuck it as hard as you can!'"
There's a great many ways this trope can be used, like serving as a memory of an important moment in your life or a life-changing event. Furthermore, this trope happens all the time, especially in real life.
Take this stuffed bear for example. His name is Dr. Bear, and he's mine (mine, I tell you!). What's so special about him? I received this toy as a toddler, after having surgery to remove Osteomyelitis from my leg. Nearly 28 years later, it serves sentimental value and offers a reminder, "I almost lost my leg." Having that on my conscience as a child put my mortality into perspective. Imagine the impact objects can have on a character.
But seriously, no touching my bear. Savvy?
The common use of this trope is a display of bullies playing keep away from its owner (which is something of a cliché), but there are more original ways to implement The Number One Dime for both plot and character development. The trick is finding the item and a story for it.
Do you have a Number One Dime in your personal life? Any of your characters from your stories? Have you seen Dr. B's stethoscope?
I'm David, and if you value your life, don't lose Linus' blanket ...