Wednesday, June 29, 2011

“My two cents and/or Superstition”

Personal Essay

While walking my dogs, I picked up two pennies that were on the ground. If my wife was there, the first thing that she would have asked me, “is it heads up, or heads down?”, indicates what she thinks is important about the penny. A heads-up penny is valuable; it brings good luck. Yet heads-down; leave it alone.

I never cared about that. To me a penny is a penny—one tenth of a dime or one hundredth of a dollar. If I pick up two pennies, then I am now two pennies richer. True nothing can be bought with 2 pennies, but, I am not broke. Perhaps, I can find some use.

It seems that few people are concerned about pennies anymore. Though old superstition is cute, I think that hardly anyone takes it seriously anymore. Or do they? Superstitions are persistent; they must have some sticky glue for they never completely leave the brain.
I always wore a blue shirt when taking a test in High School, and though I never take tests anymore, I still think of blue shirts as lucky.

Pennies are not picked up any more. I have heard people (my wife, but also others, so as not to point her out) say that they do not bother to pick them up since they are nearly worthless. Sad! At least pick the poor thing up and let it mingle with other coins; it’ll be happier with its own kind instead of out in world alone.

Perhaps old pennies and silly superstitions are similar. They are part of us; part of our collective identity. Add all those pennies up and you may have enough for a stick of gum, or a bag of chips. Add all those superstitions together and—you get a myth or a legend. (Some say that religion is superstition, but that is another story.) At least they make a good story. Either way you have something! It all has value. That’s cool! So as I put my two pennies in my pocket, I smile. I am not broke!

Oh, by the way the first one was heads-up, the second was heads-down. I hope they cancel out!