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Change, change, no change

I am tipping to the right again. How did I get so much change? Is it because I am lazy or embarrassed or both? It is just easier to hand the clerk a couple of bills. They seem so busy and the people behind me so impatient that I am embarrassed to fish out a handful of coins and make everybody wait while I puzzle out the exact amount after separating it from my pocket lint.

Invariably I drop some of the coins and I am faced with the dilemma as to whether I should bother to hunt on the floor for them. If I know they are pennies I let it go, although often there is some good-hearted soul who retrieves my penny, handing it to me with a look of reproof. It is like they are saying “It must be nice to be so rich that you can throw away money and I think this lint is yours, too.”

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Pennies are so useless that we have begun to find other uses for them. In my hobbies we use then for weights, as bases for miniatures, and as gaming chips. I am currently experimenting with them as a source of ammunition for my slingshot. When we were kids you could actually buy stuff for one or two pennies. It was worth your while to return a bottle for the 2 cents deposit. Nowadays people throw nickels in the street in the form of water bottles and soda cans. And remember, see a penny, pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck. Well, that’s something, anyway.

Canada has done away with the penny. I’ll go further. I think we can eliminate all coins. A new bill could be printed, the half-dollar. It would be red and two-thirds the length of a one. England uses different sizes of bills so you can tell by feel what you have.

With my new paper half-dollar all transactions would be rounded to the nearest one-half dollar. I think it would average out. Men wouldn’t clink when they walked and women’s purses would be a lot lighter. Granted they do not make as effective a weapon, but with the advent of the stun gun and mace for milady the point is moot.

So the next time you have a yard sale you can eliminate those 25 and 50 cent items. If they will pay a quarter, they will pay a dollar. After all, a dollar isn’t much these days is it?

Oh, oh … here we go again.

Bill Abrams counts his change in Pine Plains.