Magazine

Points of Pride | Knowledge & Wisdom

It was my wife who first discovered Yankee Points. One morning not long after we moved to New Hampshire, as she was hanging wash on the front porch, she discovered that wooden clothespins counted two YPs each. From that moment on, we learned new things every day. We learned that you get points for stopping […]

By Yankee Magazine

Feb 20 2018

clothes-pins

It was my wife who first discovered Yankee Points. One morning not long after we moved to New Hampshire, as she was hanging wash on the front porch, she discovered that wooden clothespins counted two YPs each. From that moment on, we learned new things every day. We learned that you get points for stopping by the dooryard instead of using the telephone. You get points for warming up cold coffee, for going to the dump in a rusted-out truck, and for giving misdirections to people with Massachusetts plates.

It’s 100 points a month for each junker visible from the road and 400 points for an apostrophe misplaced in public, as in Fresh Egg’s. Newcomers often garner unexpected points: 1,200 for not posting their property, 1,000 for down-trading a Porsche to a pickup, 100 for a macaroni and cheese casserole baked for church supper, 50 for staying awake through town meeting, 400 for losing in a tightly contested race for Trustee of Graveyards….

Attitude points may be the hardest to explain. For instance, there are large awards for generosity and for selfishness. If your neighbor’s house burns down, you get 500 points for giving him a blanket and 500 more if it has holes in it.

It takes 75 years, according to reliable authorities, to get the hang of Yankee Points—by which time you might even qualify for the 50,000 terminal points awarded for an open coffin in the parlor for the funeral.

—Adapted from “How to Pile Up Yankee Points,” by Donald Hall, November 1990