I Find Pennies

A variety of the low-value coins, including an...

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I was researching an emotionally difficult issue when I retrieved a voicemail from Cousin Tom, official advisor to this blog.  “Anne, I’ve been reading the blog and it’s getting a little depressing,” he said.  “I mean, I read the John Mellencamp post and now that he’s dating Meg Ryan, maybe you can do a positive post on that.”  Heady stuff cousin Tom, heady stuff.   If you wondered at all, I have lots of positive things to share.  I mean, I find pennies.  I’ve been reluctant to share this because it seems sometimes pedantic, and I haven’t quite figured out why I find them.  So I talked to my work colleague Gloria about it, asking, “Hey Glow, am I making this up or do I find pennies a lot?”   She pondered a moment.  “Gallagher, I never find pennies except when I am with you.  You find them all the time.  I never do.”  Glow and I were walking out of our office the other day and there one sat.  “Where did that come from?” she asked.  “I just walked through here and there was no penny.”  I picked it up and smiled.  I find them all the time.  I’m not quite sure what they mean but I think they are a sign of some sort.  I interpret them to be signs telling me to continue on with things I am not always comfortable with, like writing this blog and working to complete the longer memoir on it.  “Glow, what do pennies mean to you?” I asked, hoping she had some insight I lacked.  She did.  Some people see finding pennies as good luck; others see a penny with the ‘tails’ side down and flip it over to the “heads” side so someone else will have good luck; we throw pennies on ponds and wish on them; they are a sign of something or other; and for some people, they mean absolutely nothing.  I find pennies and they encourage me though I’m not sure why.  Do you find pennies?  Do you find anything?  What do they mean to you?

Are You as Happy as You Make Your Mind Up to Be?

I read the following passage the other day and wondered, “Where did the author get this crazy idea?” and “What’s this wacky idea about resigning yourself to your fate? I disagree.” What do you think? Here it is:

Abe Lincoln once remarked that ‘most folks are about as happy as they make their minds to be’. He was right. I saw a vivid illustration of that truth as I was walking up the stairs of the Long Island Railroad station in New York. Directly in front of me thirty or forty crippled boys on canes and crutches were struggling up the stairs. One boy had to be carried up. I was astonished at their laughter and gaiety. I spoke about it to one of the men in charge of the boys. “Oh yes,” he said, “when a boy realizes that he is going to be a cripple for life, he is shocked at first; but after he gets over the shock, he usually resigns himself to his fate and then becomes as happy as normal boys.” I felt like taking my hat off to those boys. They taught me a lesson I hope I shall never forget.” Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, 1936. Reissued in 1964.