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Find a penny, pick it up

(Thu Apr 16 09:19:24 2009)

...And all the day you'll have a penny!

Unless you spend it, of course.

Ever wonder why people walk by a penny, even though it's right there on the sidewalk? Well, I have. I'm one of the people who will gladly pick up a penny - even going out of my way to pick it up from the sidewalk. Little kids are probably the most likely to pick up a penny; highly paid adults are far less likely. Part of this, I'm sure, is the sliding pay scale involved. For instance, I usually take about two seconds to pick up a penny:

(1 penny) / (2 seconds)
= 1/2 cent/sec
= $0.30/min
= $18/hr (not too shabby for 2 seconds of work)

Meanwhile, older people will take much longer to pick it up, possibly incurring back injuries; if it takes 15 seconds to pick up a penny, that's only $2.40/hr; even without including the chance for injury, that's a terrible wage. Little kids, though, could probably pick up a penny in a second, or even less; 1 penny/sec = $36/hr!

I realize these figures are really pretty silly - logically thinking, there just aren't enough pennies scattered around to spend 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week picking them up. There isn't even enough there for an hour of work. Even so, it does put things in perspective; when you say that picking up a penny isn't worth your time, that may not be entirely accurate.

But really, that's not the point, at least not for me. When I see a penny, it's a little reminder of what it was like to be a kid. The thrill of finding free money, the wonder at where that little piece of metal might have traveled, and the split second of thought as to where I would spend it.

I miss the freedom of childhood, but I hope there will always be something to keep it fresh in my mind.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I see a penny.

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This blag is tagged: Me, Pennies, All