Lucky Pennies

Alex - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on April 26, 2010
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In middle school, I had a fear of sleep. Most of my mornings would begin moments before the break of dawn. My imagination rarely gave me comfort at night. I often dreamt of falling, which preceded waking up on the carpet floor.

It was around this time, on a Sunday afternoon while exiting church, I spotted a small glow from the pavement. Following my intuition, I picked it up. Recognizing its defining color, I took a closer look at the year. The coin had been made in 2000, that same year. I brought the millennial penny home and set it on my nightstand before falling asleep. The following morning was very unusual. I had woken up after a solid twelve hours of sleep with no recollection of a midnight terror. My last memory had been setting a lucky penny next to my bedside lamp.

From that point on, I began to curiously look at pennies I stumbled upon. Believing in the peace of mind I had received before, I started a new hobby of collecting each penny I found. Rather than trade my collection of the priceless for a gold brick, I keep them in a bedside jar. One cent does not mean much when you are buying your dream car, groceries, or even a pack of gum, but the cost of a penny merits something greater than its monetary value: luck. Most of the perfect circles in my Mason jar have a history longer than my own. For instance, I have a penny from 1975 with a small chip taken out of its side. I often wonder what force could have made a lasting dent in something as solid as a penny. It endured a tough past, but made its way to my collection where I hope to receive some of the luck that guarded this penny’s rocky journey.

Passing through a myriad of hands whose owners have had their fair share of good and bad times, each penny has been borrowed, traded, and sold to strangers who carry the spare change to their unforeseen destinations. Somewhere between these transactions, an Honest Abe might fall on the street. Abandoned and lost, the penny waits for a person to stumble upon it. So small and irrelevant to the eye, it carries a history of luck with its life’s venture.

Walking along the newly planted trees of the sidewalk, I notice the dulled copper shine with deteriorated vigor, praying for a hand to reach down and take hold of its unvalued worth. Illuminating my eyes, my hand quickly smothers the coin for the fortune it brings. My prize temporarily fits in my lint filled pocket before finding a new home in the company of its brothers, new and old. I believe in picking up lucky pennies.