Informant Data: The informant is a Caucasian male in his late 40’s. He works as a telecommunication engineer, and self-identifies with the Christian faith. He is a wonderful story-teller, and gets great joy from performing such for close friends.
Item: The folk-saying: “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” The following quotations are direct transcriptions of my dialogue with the informant, while the additional information provided is paraphrased.
Contextual Data: My informant tells me that while it was a very long time ago, he believes he first heard this phrase from his father. He uses it quite regularly as a light-hearted goodbye to his daughters and loved ones. He describes the adieu as “something you say when you are departing to tell another to take care of themselves and simply don’t do anything stupid.” To take a wooden nickel instead of a real one, with the belief it is the like, is foolish indeed; which is the metaphor this phrase plays off of. The informant details, “I’ve said this to my daughters when I drop them off for school pretty regularly. Its kind-of like saying “Look alive!” or just try to avoid being the butt of someone’s joke.” The informant highlighted the comical and helpful nature of the adage, and says “it’s not supposed to encourage a cynical outlook, like everyone’s trying to trick you, it’s just supposed to foster smart behavior and be a kind goodbye.” This saying can also be extrapolated to a wish of good fortune in regards to business—that your monetary affairs will not falter before the time that the two parting ways reunite.