Archive for August, 2011

penny’s worth

Business Men, Paris © Jim Korpi

“Why are you wasting your time picking up a penny?”
It takes me two seconds to bend over and pick up a penny. Its value, one cent. Is it worth the two seconds of my time to pick up a penny? How much is my time worth? If it takes two seconds to pick up a penny then I’ve just made one cent in two seconds, 30 cents every minute, and $18 an hour. This is the annual salary of a personal assistant, which works out to be roughly $31K a year. If I weren’t bending down to pick up the penny would I be working instead? If I were “on the clock” while picking up the penny, wouldn’t I be double-dipping? I could be making my normal income plus the $18 an hour from my penny-pinching endeavors.
What if the bending down to pick up the penny has more value than the cent it represents in the market? Does this action represent a value system in the person bending over? What does this say about the person?
A jar of coins sits beside my dresser. It’s a 3-liter Paisano jug-o-wine bottle I’ve fashioned into a piggy bank. The neck fits quarters perfectly and can hold a couple hundred dollars in coins of the silver sort. A friend watched as I dropped coins into the jar and said, “Are we back in World War II?”

use it or lose it

Cemetery Dumpster, Belgium © Jim Korpi

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” the ex-marine said as he leaned against the side of the pool and after two hours of laps up and down its length.
It was senior swim day. His skin held to his 80-year-old body firmly. His squinting eyes looked as though they were bordered with the tattooed lines of a sun dial’s second hand.
His wife passed last week. He walked beside her as her body slowly faded.
“No matter how old your body gets,” he said. “Your mind still imagines you’re 20.”