Picking up a lucky penny and other non-digital pastimes to treasure

Abraham Villarreal
3 min readAug 15, 2021

As digital advancements continue to transform society at seemingly lightning speeds, I often wonder what we are losing when we have less to see, touch, feel, and stumble upon.

There is something to be said about picking up a lucky penny. An ordinary day walking down the familiar streets of your neighborhood could transform into a day of good happenings when you pick up a penny on its head-facing side. It’s a shame if we reach a time when we can’t pick up a penny for good luck.

Other coin-based activities have already been lost to history, like sticking your finger in a beaten-up payphone or arcade machine to see if a quarter was left behind.

I remember when you used to have to go up to the store counter to ask for coins for the arcades and pinball machines. Now you get a meaningless token that feels a little less special and certainly less valuable.

I hope technological progress doesn’t get in the way of using stamps for sending mail. I still like walking up to the Post Office teller window and asking to see what the latest selections of Forever Stamps are available. I have a sheet of Sesame Street character stamps I’ve only halfway used. During Black History Month, I purchased a sheet that celebrated historic, and at least to me, little known Black leaders. I learned a lot that month.

There are some traditions and pastimes that seem like dying arts. You don’t see too many friends and family members turning pages through a photo album, remembering good and sad times by looking at little rectangular squares whose faded tints give away the photos’ time period.

I know, everything is on our phones, but maybe that’s the challenge. What is on our phones is not as easily felt or recognized as meaningful. We learn a lot just by holding something. You use more of your brain, your senses, your emotions.

Food seems like the one kind of touchy, feely activity that we don’t want to turn over to the digital gods. We like to hold big, juicy hamburgers. We enjoy sharing appetizers, dipping…

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Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting. I write about them and what makes them interesting.