The Commonality of Loose Change, The Tragedy of Lost People

It’s ridiculous how careless people are. Nearly every day when I am walking about I find loose change just lying there in the middle of a hallway or street or sidewalk. The sunlight somehow reflects off of its dingy, downtrodden surface and catches my eye, whether I like it or not. Many people don’t notice loose change, but I guess I have developed an acute sense for spotting it and specifically look for it now. Maybe they just like to pretend it isn’t there.

Nobody else wants to pick it up either; they claim it’s too dirty for them or not worth their time. “Ew!” they say, “Just leave it!” But I can’t just leave it there! I don’t know what it is in me that can’t let it go on living the way it is. Maybe I’m too sentimental or too anal, but I would never get rid of something so carelessly, especially money.

Granted, most of the time, this change is only a penny or two. Yesterday, when I picked up some pennies, my friend remarked, “You know pennies aren’t worth anything anymore, right? It’s because of inflation.” Well, that may be true, but at the end of it all, it’s still money; it has still been wasted and discarded by some inconsiderate person. It may not be worth anything lying on the concrete, but in the big picture of things, it will contribute something one day, and if I pick up, I can steer its contribution towards something good or something evil. Think of it this way: a penny alone is worth nothing, but if a starving child’s food costs one dollar, and they have 99 cents, that one missing penny suddenly becomes worth that meal, and perhaps their entire existence. One day, if you gather enough pieces of a dollar and help it to remake itself, it will become a full dollar again, and it can have power, a purpose.

Nonetheless, I have stopped picking up loose change lately as well. Other people’s animosity towards the coinage has gotten into my head, and I have begun to treat loose change the same way everybody else does. Maybe I’m afraid to pick it up, like so many, because I don’t want any dirt on my hands. However, it wasn’t always filthy; something had to have made it that way.

Maybe I’m afraid that it isn’t what it claims to be, that it isn’t loose change but was put there to trick me. Although this seems far-fetched, it has actually happened to me before. Last year, I spotted a quarter on the ground and bent down to pick it up, but when I pulled it up, I found that it was cemented to the cement with gum as a practical joke. Sometimes, displaced pieces have malicious intent, but they are still money and they are still alone, wasted.

The point is, it’s ridiculous how people just leave loose change on the ground like it’s nothing. It’s still money and it may not seem like it’s worth anything, but it can be. So maybe I will look like the ridiculous one if I start picking up loose change, but in the end, I’m not the one who threw away something precious.

Maybe, if people weren’t treated so much like loose change, the world would be a better place, but what do I know? Not more than the masses who trod upon the bits of silver every day, surely.