“A penny for your thoughts…” You won’t find that around much now. When I was growing up, everyone said this. Someone would go quiet and get that 1000-yard stare going, and his bud would say, “Penny for your thoughts…” Nowadays, everyone is vomiting their thoughts every waking moment, and with pictures!
Back in 1575 when the phrase was coined (so to speak), a penny was about 1/2 a day’s wages if you were on the bottom of the scale and 1/13 of a day’s wages if you were high up on the scale such as a constable in the army. Lawyers were making 225 pennies/day! But everyone else was in the 2-6 penny range or about 4 pennies/day. So a penny for someone’s thoughts would be 1/4 of their daily pay!
The average gross wages are about $195.75/day, so now the saying would be “$48 for your thoughts.” Do you know anyone whose thoughts you’d be willing to pay nearly $50 to hear? Heck, you might go so far to say “I’ll pay you $48 to stop telling me how sick your cat is, or what you had for breakfast, or how your bm looked this morning!”
Someone using the penny phrase might give the impression that the thoughts of his friend aren’t worth much. In fact, they’d rather want to know why their friend is daydreaming again, and don’t intend to pay up. But if you’re truly curious about the thoughts of your friend, if you offered them $50, wouldn’t they be inclined to think a lot more?
“Hey, Joe! Watch this! All I have to do is sit and look puzzled and Ray will pay me $50 to tell him what I’m thinking!”
“What? Is he crazy?”
“1/2 a C-note for your thoughts Bill.”
“Did you know that the only flightless bird that swims is the penguin? Pay up.”
“Thanks, Bill! Here ya go!”
“You’re welcome, Ray. I’ve got another thought coming and will have it ready tomorrow at this time.”
“That’s fantastic, Bill! I’ll be here with my money!”
Yeah. Never write your blog in the middle of the night after a 20 oz cola and 2 pieces of pizza.