Sunday, November 10, 2013

Find a Penny

Here's a test--if you are walking along somewhere and spot a penny that has been dropped, do you pick it up?

I confess I do.  And my reason for picking it up has nothing to do with whether or not I want "good luck."  As in: "Find a penny, pick it up; all the day you'll have good luck."
There is an alternate version as to what luck a penny might bring.  Once when I found a penny lying on the ground and went to pick it up, my daughter, who was a little girl at the time, said  "Don't, Mom" she said--"it's tails--bad luck."

No, I pick up pennies because I figure any found money is....well, money.

I am not a child of the Depression, as my parents were, but I have a healthy respect for not wasting money.  My parent's generation was a model of frugality--emptying their dinner plates, not wasting food, not throwing something away simply because it is out-dated or broken.

I can recall times when I did something that resulted in my losing money--no, I don't gamble.  One such occasion was not long after our son was born.  My husband was teaching and, as a new mother, I had cut back my working hours teaching, becoming an adjunct college instructor.  Now, I realize how little adjunct instructors are paid, but at the time I didn't know that going to half-time teaching did not mean earning half my salary--it meant earning far less than half salary.  

Anyway, to be frugal I would buy meat at our local farmers' market--usually in some quantity that meant I repackaged the meat before I froze it.  After I had done up all my packages, and after a day had passed, I looked in the freezer for a flank steak I had bought.  It was nowhere to be found.  I was puzzled--and then it hit me.  In my repackaging, I had obviously missed that flank steak, and carried it out to the trash along with all the brown wrapping paper the butcher used.  I went to the outside trash cans to check--and, sure enough, there it was.  It took me a long time to get over having thrown away a perfectly good cut of meat.  All I could think was--what a waste of money.

Another time, I did in fact lose money.  For more than 20 years, my husband and I went to home football games for Penn State University.  It was great fun to get away, visit a lovely location--as Happy Valley is--and to have time with friends.  Over time, the rules for entering the football stadium got more restrictive and carrying bags into the stadium was forbidden.  So, one time, I tucked a $20 into my sock, thinking I would have a bit of money if I wanted to buy a snack or soft drink.

When we got home, I looked for the $20 since I hadn't bought anything.  GONE. Apparently, it had worked its way out, and presumably fell on the ground.  At least, I managed to get past this loss a little more quickly--I consoled myself by thinking that some student found a spare $20 lying on the ground, and was happy at the sudden "wealth."

So, found money--whether a penny or $20--I'll take it.


John Robinson said...

I used to pick up pennies, thinking that since they cost more to make than their worth, it was a shame to let them eventually disappear into the landscape.

Now, since I am older and find it more difficult to bend down and pick up something from the ground, I won't do it for less than a dime!

Silly, I know. Being so tall, I feel that the ground is farther away for me than for shorter people. Is that real or imagined?

Climenheise said...

I still pick up pennies. I'm getting older, but I'm not so tall. Old habits die hard!

KGM, what form did that $20 in your sock take? The picture suggests pennies, which would have been bulky, especially for walking. Maybe quarters? Or silver dollars. Or a $20 bill?

KGMom said...

John--Haha--funny that you are too tall to bend for a lowly penny. I am now an inch shorter than I had been--which is bad news for many reasons, not the least of which is calculating BMI. I do feel like that slogan: I am not overweight; I am under-tall.

Daryl--it was a neatly folded $20 bill which I couldn't feel in my sock. It should have been something silver or copper to have the weight to stay down. But, then, I think walking would have been a pain.

Anvilcloud said...

No pennies for me, especially now as we are eliminating them up thisaway. The custodians at school would pick them up and collect a fair bit over the course of a year.