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AlbertJayNock

Gleaning

Elle came by my office yesterday and noticed a couple of coins I had dropped on the floor. There was a nickel and a penny. She gave me the nickel back, but kept the penny.

Even disregarding the fact that it was only a penny, she was not being presumptuous by keeping it.  She learned years ago that when I drop change (if it's not paper money) I don't pick it up. I leave it for somebody else.

Even though it's an odd practice,  I had  learned earlier this year that I am not the only person who does this. I refer to AJ Jacobs, author of The Know-It-All and more recently The Year Of Living Biblically. In the latter book, he tried to live by the bible for a year, including some of the weirder parts of the Old Testament.

There is a passage in the OT about leaving a little something at the edges of your fields for the poor to glean. When he got to this part he was stumped. Jacobs was not a farmer and harvesting fields was not really applicable to him. So he decided that one way to carry out that commandment was just not to pick up anything of value that he dropped.

This impressed me, because I had adopted the habit of not picking up change for the very same reason. It was nice to learn that  someone else is as odd as I am. (Although I think I am probably odder than Jacobs, given that I wasn't doing it for the sake of  immersion journalism.)

I told Elle about the Jacob's book while we were on our way to lunch, and what I learned about what we had in common. She knew about my habit of not picking up change, but not about where it came from.

One way you can know you're reading a good writer is if you see yourself in his work. This has happened more than once with AJ Jacobs. Kudos, Mr. Jacobs.

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