written for Addition 5

Addition 5
July 25 - August 1, 2013

She fingered the coin in her pocket as she walked. It was a 1960 Australian penny.
Someone had dropped it in the tip jar at the bar where she worked. Her boss, the
man with whom she had been flirting with lingering looks over the counter and
contrived accidental brushing of arms, had picked it out and given it to her.

“A penny for your thoughts?”

A bronze 1960 Australian penny for your thoughts.
In 1960 this coin would have been used to buy less than that. Since 1960, this coin
would have passed through so many hands to get to hers. At what point did this
penny stop being the price of a lemon sherbet and start being the price of her head?
Was the saying ‘a penny for your thoughts’ in use at the same time pennies were in
use, and did that mean the price of her thoughts were worth as much as a lemon
sherbet? Or were thoughts set at such a low price those days because they were
essentially as priceless as the enjoyment of a lemon sherbet lolly in relation to its
literal cost?

Pennies wouldn’t have been in circulation in Australia much longer than 1960
anyway. Perhaps this penny had only bought four years worth of lemon sherbets and
then spent the next five decades buying thoughts, exposing secret loves and creating intimate dialogues between people. If a penny had been worth only the price of itself in 1960, in 2013 it could be worth exponentially more, but more or less depending on whether it had been in circulation or not. If it had not been passing hands for fifty-three years, buying lemon sherbets and thoughts, it was worth potentially a thousand dollars.

A thousand dollars for your thoughts.

Or a lemon sherbet lolly.

If her penny had been in circulation for all of that time, it might only be worth fifty

Fifty cents for your thoughts.

Fifty cents couldn’t buy even a lemon sherbet lolly these days. Either this penny as
an object amounts to more than its literal worth, or the price of her thoughts is grossly undervalued.

“A penny for your thoughts?”

“Do you like lemon sherbet?”


“Never mind. Listen, don’t tell me what you’re thinking, I’ll buy you a lemon sherbet
lolly and let’s just sit in silence.”