This morning I had another run-in with the dreaded Penniers. We've all seen them: the top-hatted older gents with the sextants and theodolites who meander around accidentally dropping pennies.
I watched the fellow this morning take a few measurements from the back of his El Camino before setting out across the street -- barely waiting for the walk signal. Halfway through the intersection he reached into his pocket, ostensibly for a stick of gum, and a penny fell out right onto the street! I don't think any of the other passersby noticed, but when the Pennier reached the opposite curb he turned back and gave the penny a stern glance, as if to assure himself that it had fallen in precisely the right location. He crossed back to his car when the light changed and gave the penny a little nudge with his foot on the way, and when he passed me on the sidewalk he threw me a vicious glare.
As the children's rhyme says, "Find a penny, pick it up, and all day long you'll have good luck, \ because you will have played an important role in thwarting the copper droppers' plans for world domination." Everyone learns this as a kid, but many of us forget the critical second line just because it doesn't rhyme or flow as nicely as the first. Nevertheless, I knew what I had to do.
Once the Pennier drove off I waited a few minutes and then crossed the street myself, watching warily in every direction lest he come back just to run me over. When I reached the diabolical penny I was faced with a conundrum. If I took it they'd know immediately and come back to drop another, but if I simply dislodged it from its resting place perhaps they wouldn't notice as quickly. So with a flick of my ankle I kicked the penny approximately 14 inches towards the center of the intersection, and even managed to reverse its polarity in the process.
Only a minor victory, I know, but I am looking forward to reaping the benefits of my good luck for the rest of the day.