Find a Penny, Pick It Up and All Day You’ll Have Good Luck

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American, Ancestral: Scottish and Germanic
Age: 22
Occupation: Student
Residence: Scotland
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/27/2021
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Chinese

Main Content:

M: Me I: Informant

I: It’s like Find a penny pick it up and all day you’ll have good luck. Is that like folklore?

M: Yup that’s good!

I: I did that constantly.

M: Now was that something that you learned from other kids or did that come from um your family?

I: Um definitely my family, my parents. They’d be like “Op, penny!” Sometimes my dad would drop pennies just so I could pick them up and have good luck. I loved it.

M: That’s so cute! Um is there, does the penny, I think I remember, the penny has be head up, right?

I: Oh there’s something like that, but I never cared *laughs*

M: *laughs*

I: Free money!

Context: This is something that she learned from her father. Everytime she sees a penny she still picks it up and feels as though it brings her luck. It also is a sweet reminder of her dad. This phrase though is very American in its ideals. Rhyming sayings like this are funny for people to learn/ regurgitate and lift spirits.

Analysis: Rhyming sayings, otherwise known as proverbs, like this are a good means of transferring ideas as the rhyming device makes it easy to remember and delivers the thought eloquently. I stated earlier that I thought that this speech was innately American and I even conferred with my Norwegian friend who agreed that while finding money on the ground is considered lucky- it’s considered lucky because you found money, not so much for any other purpose. Whereas with this saying, we have to recognize the focus on “free money!” And how reflective that is of the values of the United States. Traditionally the American view is that you work and struggle to earn your money and that is something that is difficult, but people that pride in that. Additionally, we know that this phrase goes beyond simply luck because they found money on the floor as the penny is relatively worthless and literally cost more to produce than its worth.