A man with a painted expression of apathy stood just within the archway of an alley in downtown
Looking at him through his goggle-like glasses, I asked if he was really selling pennies for a dollar. He nodded back without emotion. I shuffled through the pennies wondering what my odds were of finding a penny actually worth a dollar. I asked him where all his wheat pennies were. Through his scruffy beard, he quickly told me he kept them in his pocket. I laughed out loud at his quick wit. I chose a shiny penny from the bunch and began to dig out a dollar bill. While handing him the dollar bill, I asked for permission to trade the dollar for a picture of him and his corner business.
Even though it seems foolish to “buy” a penny, the picture of this successful entrepreneur beside his business is priceless. He sells pennies for a dollar and calls them lucky. A man in a dark, professional suit sells his ideas for thousands of dollars a year and calls it a career. The penny man appears to be the fool on the street with such a ridiculous venture, yet who is the bigger fool – he who is selling, or the cooperate world who pauses to buy, keeping him in business? What if we quit buying his pennies? What if we quit buying someone else’s ideas for the prices they demand? Which example of business is the more true consequence of corrupt consumerism?
I want to find him again someday to trade his penny for a cup of coffee. What is his story? What has been his life journey? How many times has he been trodden over by life?