A man called Billy Joe liked to collect copper Penny’s in America. For 45 years
or so he picked up every penny that ever came across his path, it’s hard to imagine
he ever missed one. And yet every time he discovered a shiny strawberry relic
pressed by some big coin machine in Washington he stared up high into the
heavens and thanked the universe and endless cosmos for his good fortune.
If someone ever dropped a nickel or a quarter dollar he would always run
after them chasing them down a few blocks to give it back to them,
but he would never do the same for a penny he was like a jealous lover
and wanted them all, all of the time. His magpie eyes would search out
even the slightest glint of red metal like a roving street sweeper he went
onto amass over 500,000 U.S certified legal tender pennies.
Sadly one day the man who ran on pennies like a meaningless slot machine
that never payed out fell on hard times, due in part to the current economic
recession, old age and supporting his family. Facing destitution and homelessness
the man made the melancholic decision to cash in his life’s work, every good
damn penny, because he simply couldn’t afford to live, he was quoted as saying;
“Lord put some food upon the table, help me paya weeks rent,
I don’t really need no cable as long as my children been feed”
Much later he conveyed to media how excruciatingly painful it had been to cash
up his life’s work for a measly $5000 dollars, a tiny cheque on flimsy paper
could never fill the void left by losing his hard won mammoth coin collection.
He recounted how the saddest idea for him was the thought of all his beloved
penny’s sloshing around in the financial system only to be lost and taken for
granted again, and how this time he didn’t have enough time to find them all
because he was dying.
From a philosophical point of view isn’t it strange how the small amount of money
Billy earnt in the end was utterly dwarfed by his supreme joy even ecstasy of
chasing and hunting pennies such a simple act that he adored almost above
everything else in life except his family. I’d be interested to know if the reader
thinks it’s a gift or a curse finding value were there really is none?
Despite Old Billy Joe succumbing to his phantom illness that struck him down
like a thunderbolt after selling his pennies I can still imagine him like the mad
human squirrel he once was and forever is; galloping down suburban pavements
in Los Angeles searching for worthless stained red gold, that only he could see.
Never forget that there was once a poor humble human bean called Billy Joe
who treated unwanted pennies littered on the streets like lost magical talismans.
Hopefully we can all start discovering our ‘Pennys’ too, an action that brings us
untold joy with no real productive end just guided by our own free will, passion
and desires (now that sounds very millennial indeed). By Moss