There were three pennies on the floor of the checkout lane. I crouched to pick one up as I waited for the woman in front of me to pay for her purchases. A cashier stepped on the second one without seeing it while moving to open the neighboring checkout lane in an attempt to manage a sudden rush of holiday shoppers.

But I’d seen it and having seen it I felt compelled to pick it up too. Nothing could drive me crazy faster than not being able to pick up a penny once I’d seen it. The line moved forward and the second penny was within my reach. I waited to pick it up until after paying for my own items to avoid holding up the line if I could help it.

The woman behind me was an elderly lady on a motorized cart with a nose tube. I found myself wondering what I would have like in her place: would I still notice pennies when I couldn’t pick them up? What would I do then? Would it annoy me? Would I point them out to somebody else? I didn’t know.

I bent to pick up the second penny, shiny and new.

“Ooh, it’s heads up, too.”

The woman behind me had seen it. Perhaps she’d seen it before I had, or perhaps she had been alerted to its presence when she watched me pick up the first one. She had a lovely smile. I gave her the penny.

“Here you go.” I said.

“That’s good luck.” She said. I smiled back.
I was on my way out the door when I found the third penny. Tails. I picked it up.

I know some people who won’t pick up a penny if it isn’t heads up. This is not a superstition that I share, tending more to believe that luck is luck and that a penny is a penny:  good or bad, heads or tails. It did get mange to thinking, though: what if pennies were the currency of luck. What if luck manifested itself into the world in the form of lost pennies: nearly valueless, mostly overlooked accumulating in corners and cracks just waiting to gather enough strength to constitute a stroke of luck or a streak of luck. What if luck could be accumulated one pennyworth at a time and that by picking up a tails-up penny absorbed one pennyworth of bad luck from the world for a little while.

It was an interesting idea. Just my two cents.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on December 24, 2014.

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