My Two Cents (and Other Worthless Things)



A couple of weeks ago, I did something I’ve never done before. I gathered up a bunch of our family’s old junk — rusty bicycles, worn-out camping gear, pieces of wood from a dilapidated IKEA bed — and took it to the city dump. Yes, the dump. You see, I grew up in an old-school family, in which the women-folk did things like bake meatloaf and scrub floors, while the men-folk did the heavy, dirty jobs like hauling junk. So, other than drop off our family Christmas tree each January, I had never had the experience of loading up our family minivan with household trash and lugging it to the dump.

It was not a pleasant experience.

However, it had to be done, as our shed and closets were bursting with useless things that couldn’t be tossed in a normal trash can. During the big tidy-up, I kept coming across these tiny, annoying little disks that, in my opinion, are about as worthless as rusty bicycles and 5-year-old IKEA furniture.

Most people call them pennies. I call them pests.

It never fails. Every time I sweep the floor, there they are. Whenever I stoop down to clear out things from beneath the beds or couch, I find at least a dozen. When vacuuming the house, one must steer the vacuum cleaner around these seemingly harmless, machine-clogging landmines. And most parents, at some point, have had to fish these shiny, toxic toys out of the curious mouths of babies.

A penny for my thoughts? I’d rather keep my thoughts to myself, thanks.

Really, I don’t see why our nation doesn’t just do away with the penny, like Canada did a few years ago. You can’t buy a single thing with a penny. You can’t even buy much for one hundred pennies, unless you’re shopping at the Dollar Store. Nor can you put pennies into a vending machine to pay for parking or buy a pack of Cheez-it crackers. Sure, there are other ways to spend your pennies. You can stand at the checkout, carefully counting out every little cent while the impatient people in line behind you shake their fists. Or you can buy some of those brown coin papers and spend your precious time rolling stacks of pennies into spendable rolls.

Or you can be penny-wise, like me, and scrap your pennies at the city dump.

Once upon a time, shiny, coppery pennies were useful little coins. But today, their face-value is less than the cost of the metal it takes to make them. Okay fine, pennies are great for making wishes at fountains. Also, if you find one face-up, then you may have a day filled with good luck (debatable). But for the most part, the good ol’ penny is an obsolete form of currency. It is time for our nation use our common cents — to let go of nostalgia and embrace new ideas, like rounding up to the nearest nickel.

That’s my two cents.

6 responses to “My Two Cents (and Other Worthless Things)

  1. Huh. All I can think of is people standing on the corners with signs asking for change. Not the earth shattering, societal change that directs history, but that metal stuff. How fortunate, in the truest sense, you must be to collect it and throw it out instead of putting it in a jar or a box or a bag and passing it on to someone who could use it. 19 cents buys a banana at Trader Joe’s, and they’re happy to take it in pennies. Maybe think about it next time you get the urge to throw money away. ❤

    • Not a bad thought. And yet, I am far more inclined to hand out dollars to the needy, or quarters at the very least. The idea of giving pennies to anyone, whether waitresses or the homeless, fills me with guilt. It seems so low, to offer to someone else something that I would not want to receive. Still, you make a good point, and kindness is far more important than my whiny opinions about the inconvenience of a coin. 🙂

      • Lol. Hey, I’m a loose change collector of at least 33 years. When the jar’s full it’s usually $40+. I used to give it to my son. Now it’s mine, and being self-employed with an unpredictable (and notoriously low) income stream, that money probably means more to me than it would to a lot of people who don’t have to pinch their… well, YOU know. lol

      • Haha…I have a low income and keep a coin box, too, but with mostly silvery coins. 😀 pennies are more likely to amass under the couch, in closets, behind bookshelves… Yesterday, I even found a penny in my bed! How in the world?

  2. The story about interaction took an unexpected and pleasant turn. You talked with this stranger who had complimented you on your dress. And you told her about the difficulty of vitamin D absorbsion and beofre you knew it you were talking like old friends.

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