Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

20,000 Pennies

We all have told a white lie, a fib or even exaggerated events or stories at some points in our lives. We fluff up the drama of a story, we embellish our job descriptions and paint a picture perfect image of ourselves.

 We call ourselves optical illuminator enhancers instead of window cleaners, underwater ceramics technicians instead of dishwashers, refuse and recyclable material collectors instead of garbage men and freelance writers instead of out-of-work journalists.

 It’s natural. We all exaggerate in order to prime our egos and feel bigger than who we really are – more accomplished and more successful.

 My family accuses me of using “big” words all the time – words that prompt my son to say, “I have no idea what that means, mom …” After I earned my master’s degree, when I would use words such as rhetoric or literary, my significant other would say, “Oh … you’re the master now.”

 I realized last night that the words I choose are often based on the positive connotations they bring or how impressive they sound. While playing the penny slots at a local casino, I hit the jackpot. Keep in mind, that the jackpot on a penny slot machine is not necessarily a “big” win to many.

 My lucky spin won me $200. I was elated and surprised since I’m not a seasoned or even lucky gambler. While I know that $200 is not a lot of money to some, considering my electric bill was well over that amount this month, it was a nice bonus. But, $200 didn’t sound impressive enough, so when nearby gamblers asked how much I won, my response was 20,000 pennies.

 Most people know that journalists are not typically math experts, but making the conversion made me feel bigger and better about my win. It wasn’t an embellishment – it was an accurate amount. But, was it really necessary?

 The irony is that we are really only as big as we feel and even the most creative embellishment won’t change our size, success and accomplishments.

 Those who know us the best know the truth and if they truly care about us, big words, creative plots and 20,000 pennies aren’t all that impressive. It’s $200 worth of fluff.


– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: Feb. 6, 2010

 © Shannon Philpott, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


February 6, 2010 - Posted by | Blog, Reflecting | , , , , , ,

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