Monday, March 23, 2009

"Find a penny, pick it up...

And all day long you'll reach into your pocket, think it's a dime, pull it out for the vending machine and go, 'Faahck.'"

It is assumed that all pennies carry the same level of good luck when found out in the open. This, however, is untrue. One cannot just go swiping pennies up off the street and expect to win the lotto every time. When picking up a penny, in order to manage expectations, it is important to consider these factors:

1. Appointment. This is the most crucial aspect to reckon. Is it face up or face down? If Lincoln's head is visible, pick it up right away. Regardless of other concerns, it certainly couldn't hurt. If it is face down (The Lincoln Memorial, with its tiny, tiny Lincoln inside), leave it. Side step it, do not reflect on the coin in any way. Forget you ever saw it. That penny has the bad joo-joo and until a foot, or dog knocks* it to the obverse, this copperish circle will bring nothing but agony to its holder.

*Only Chance removes the curse. You can't just knock the penny on purpose with your foot, and expect the luck to change. It doesn't work...and the universe will make you pay for cheating.

2. Location. A penny's luck increases in relation to its distance from a position of pecuniary use. For example: A penny on the carpet runner a foot away from a Walgreen's cash register is low grade good luck. In this instance, the best one can hope for is a free trial of Pert Plus in the mail. A penny on the sidewalk may bring a broken fare box on the bus, right when that extra $2.25 is needed. A penny in the middle of a busy intersection could result in turning a street corner to discover that ever-pined-for long lost love.

Then there are these kinds of pennies:

The risks here endow this penny with vast amounts of good luck. However, is it worth the potential Typhoid? This is a question only you can answer.

3. Level of potential humiliation.
How judged will you feel by those around you if you pick it up? A penny's luck increases with the amount of personal embarrassment you are willing to risk. And really, that should be any time. You are picking up a penny for luck. What are you - six?

4. Time of day. The clock runs out at midnight for found pennies. If a penny is picked up at say 11:42pm, one really can't expect much more than NOT to get mugged. The early bird gets the worm. Begin your penny search well before dawn for best results.

5. Did YOU drop the penny? If so, all bets are off. It's someone else's luck now. Don't even waste the one calorie it takes to pick it up.

(Every time. I swear...every time. These things are what I think when I see a penny on the street.)

Semi-realted note: The original title for this was "It rains pennies from heaven". But then I got hung up on the very idea of hot copper pennies shooting at bullet speed from the sky.


joe g said...

Did you stage that trash can shot or was finding the penny that way the inspiration for the post? Or (c) none of the above?

gormant: In a non-eating state, specifically after a big meal. From gorge or gourmet; etymologists differ on this point. "That was an excellent boeuf bourguignon, dear; I'll be gormant for the next couple of hours."

-j-j- said...

I've been thinking of the the Penny thing for a while now - the penny in the bathroom trash of Intelligentsia down town was serendipity.

And, yes, I was weighing my options: Should I pick this up? How much good luck do I really need?

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