Something shiny on the console of my car caught my eye as I fastened my seatbelt this morning. Eagerly I reached for it, unable to resist the attraction. When it comes to shiny objects, I'm like a raccoon. Or a crow. Shiny objects grab my attention and hold me entranced.
It was a penny. A bright shiny new copper-colored penny. I say copper-colored because I don't think there is much actual copper in pennies these days. I saw Lincoln's profile so I picked it up. It was minted in 2005. I thought to myself, "Why the hell do we still manufacture this irritating coin?"
Thankfully that penny was laying there heads-up on the console. Otherwise I would have just left it there untouched until it either magically disappeared like it had magically appeared or magically flipped over to be heads-up, thereby freeing it from the ranks of the untouchable.
Some folks would say I'm superstitious. But some superstitions are so deeply ingrained they aren't even superstitions any more. They become second nature. Not picking up coins that are tails-up is second nature to me. It's how it's always been.
"Pop" is what I called my father's father. Now I call my father that at times. I can close my eyes and picture something Pop once gave me. It was a penny on a piece of green string. The string was tied through a hole someone, perhaps my Pop, drilled through that penny. I kept it tied it to a belt loop on pair of blue jean shorts, that penny on a string. I called them my penny shorts. So imaginative!
Pop told me it was a lucky penny. He said he'd found that penny heads-up in a pig's track, which is what imbued it with luck. He continued by saying, "Now young'un, if you ever see a coin that is face-down in pig's track, well you need to leave it right where it lays. There's not much unluckier than picking up a coin that's tails-up, but if it's tails-up in a pig's track, well, sugar, it's a heap a trouble to mess with something like that."
He nodded wisely as I stared up at him, and he back at me, my eyes rapt with interest. This was good stuff he was sharing. He so sounded like he knew what he was talking about. At my tender age, I was still blissfully unaware that adults ever even told lies. He probably didn't consider that 36-odd years later I'd still believe his words to be the god's honest truth.
My father once told me a lie. Well truth be told he told me many lies, couched as education, but with my dad it is all in fun. Of course, I forgave my dad immediately for his subterfuges. The glee he derived from my youthful confusion was contagious.
So now when I deadpan outrageous bald-faced lies just for the fun of it, which is quite the hobby of mine, I tell myself it's not that I'm a compulsive liar, it's just my genetics shining through.
But that stuff about the tales-up coins, well, that's no lie as long as I believe it.
Better safe than sorry.