Just a penny for my thoughts 0
My dad had a knack for knowing what things would become obsolete. For years, he saved all his pennies, convinced they would one day become rare and valuable collectibles.
We chuckled over his ever-growing collection, safely stored in Taster's Choice coffee jars. He ignored our jokes, telling us, "Just you wait and see." We stopped laughing when the one and two dollar bills went out of circulation.
I save pennies, too. But once the container gets full, the kids and I spend an afternoon rolling them up to exchange for higher currency. This is our fun money, and we're always shocked at how little fun it actually buys. I think our last load provided a round of ice cream cones. It was fair payoff according to my youngest two, but a colossal waste of time to the older kids.
But maybe my dad was onto something. Last March, the Royal Canadian Mint produced its last penny. Apparently, those little pieces of copper (okay, partly copper, mostly zinc) are expensive to make, costing $130 million to produce 1.2 billion of them annually.
The government proposes that we round off our cash purchases to the nearest five cents, arguing that it would decrease hassles in business transactions and save Canada millions of dollars every year. After all, Australia, France, Spain and New Zealand have already abolished the penny.
Personally, I like pennies. They make my kids' piggy banks and my wallet feel impressively heavy. I like the little dish of pennies on the counter at stores and restaurants. Allowing us to contribute a few coppers, or having a cashier cut us a one cent break by dipping into it makes both parties feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
When I find a penny on the floor, I tuck it in my pocket, convinced that I'll have good luck all day. At the end of the day, I've never really considered whether it actually worked. But I've never had the guts to leave one behind.
Pennies are patriotic, with their happy little maple leaf on one side and the queen on the other. Without the penny, phrases like, "Not worth one red cent," "A penny saved is a penny earned," or "I want you to pay back every cent you owe me" would become meaningless.
What would giving your two cents worth or paying a pretty penny even mean? Without the penny, what would misers have to pinch? Giving someone a penny for their thoughts wouldn't make their thoughts worth much. Would we get nickels instead of pennies from Heaven?
What else would you toss into a wishing well or use as currency at family poker games?
I think our eagerness to ditch the penny is another reflection of how wildly rushed we've all become. We can't be bothered with counting exact change. And we all get fumed when we get stuck behind someone who does.
Maybe the penny could teach us all how to count again, how to take our time, and how to save a few cents. Or maybe that sounds too much like common sense.