Saturday, May 5, 2012

Throwing Money Away--Literally

Throw-Away Culture

Find a penny,
Pick it up
All day long,
You’ll have good luck.

As I walked the dog earlier today, I spied two open penny wrappers spilling their penny contents and saw pennies scattered in and on the side of the road. “They’re just pennies,” said my son, dismissing the copper coins cooking in the Central Florida sun. I disagree. It was no embarrassment to me to stoop and pick up the almost-empty rolls and carry them inside, making a mental note to fetch the balance later when the metal no longer steamed from the heat of the day.

Dust-covered pennies on a shell-rock road

I’ve seen coins tossed aside like so much fast-food litter—pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters. I’ve yet to see paper money flung to the breezes, but I suppose one day it won’t surprise someone when they hear (or utter), “It’s just ones,” as they see several Washingtons flutter by or lie in a dust-covered heap at the side of the road.
Several hours later, I ventured outside to see if the pennies remained. They did. Passing cars had pressed some into the shell rock, but they were visible nonetheless. No one had bothered to pick them up and gather luck. I did.
Several pennies for my thoughts . . . 
I picked up close to 100 pennies. Does that mean I have a store of good luck? Or does it simply mean that I know 100 of those pennies equal a dollar, five of those dollars equal a five-dollar bill, two fives equal a ten . . .
It pains me to see so much devalued in our culture. A clean roadside has little value to someone who opens a car window and uses the world for his or her dumpster. A bulging landfill is most often out of sight, out of mind for those who mindlessly consume, toss, consume, and toss some more.
But money? Who throws away money? Pennies are money. I hope I never reach the point where I look at a copper coin on the ground and say, “It’s only a penny . . .”

After soaking and washing, these guys will find a home in my bank

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