"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Friday, February 01, 2013


Dear Abe
...is a penny scorned, apparently.

I mean, I'm tellin' ya, if I had a nickel for every time someone tossed their pennies at me after I hand them back their change after they pay for their groceries...

"I don't want the pennies!" growls one customer.

"Keep the damn pennies!" grumbles another.

And then there are those who slyly leave their Abe Lincolns on the counter as they slink out of the store. Or -- what I find thoroughly irritating -- there are even those folks, mostly in their late teens and early twenties, who just throw their pennies to the ground on their way to their cars.


Obviously, those who literally throw their money away have never been without two pennies to rub together...never had to glean under couch cushions or dig through old purses or coat pockets for spare change, or haul a vase heavy with pennies to the bank to cash in, for milk money or a loaf of bread. (May they never experience lean times.)

My professional grocery store cashier training, of course, forces me to just smile and calmly place  rejected pennies in a dish of other unwanted pennies we keep on hand in the cash register drawer for those who haven't pinched their pennies and are short on change.

Inside, however, I get a little growly because personally, I don't mind the penny. In fact, I occasionally offer my husband one for his thoughts...usually during the middle of a Hawkeye basketball game, or some other inappropriate moment when he is loathe to share. Hence, my return on the penny, in those instances, ain't much.

But overall, the penny -- in my life, anyway -- has been a monetary godsend on more than one occasion. As the Yiddish proverb goes, "A penny is a lot of money if you have not got a penny."

Yes, I'm all about picking up pennies whenever or wherever I find them, heads up or down.

"Penny, penny bring me luck because I'm the one who picked you up," and all that jazz.

My fave shoe
 My favorite shoes back in the day were -- you guessed it -- penny loafers.

I remember helping Daniel count out 100 pennies for the 100th day of school celebration during his grade school years.

The only beef I've got with the tiny coin is that it was at the heart of one of the more embarrassing moments of  my grade school years

As I recall, I was in fourth grade and we were learning about old adages, and I had memorized "A penny saved is a penny earned" to share with the class that morning. It was also my turn to lead the school in the Pledge of Allegiance via the intercom.

My public speaking debut, if you will.

Chalk it up to performance anxiety, I suppose, but moments after the principal announced, "Ann Heise will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance," I put my hand over my heart and blurted out loud and clear, for the entire school to hear, "A PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED..."


That wasn't nearly as embarrassing as the time that same year I pulled my windbreaker off over my head after recess not realizing I had pulled my blouse off with it, and there I stood in front of the class in my undershirt and skirt...but I digress.

My point -- and I do have one -- is that I truly do not see why people get so hot under the collar over pennies.

Money by Liza Minnelli on GroovesharkGranted, as explained in a recent issue of Time Magazine, I may be in the minority these days when it comes to my tolerance for the long-derided-as-obsolete penny. The penny, come to find out, has been dropping in value for decades. High production costs -- one penny costs two pennies to mint --  and  declining utility does give some credence, I suppose, to the battle cry to get rid of it.

But really, what's not to like about the penny?

Oh, who am I trying to kid...

I try to remain patient and smiling...
Truth be told, I guess I do find pennies to be from somewhere other than heaven every now and then.

Like when I have a checkout line of customers winding all the way to Chicago and the customer at the head of the line is rummaging through their purse or pocket -- seemingly forever -- for the exact change to the penny...ARGHGHGHGHGHGH!

I try so hard to remain patient and smiling as they pull out lint, screws, mints...

Pennies From Heaven by Frank Sinatra on Grooveshark
"Just give me a damn quarter, take the change, and be done with it!" I want to bark....but I don't.

At least, I haven't.



Linda said...

Great post. So true about people throwing away money and not having experienced lean times. While I have experienced lean times and have never thrown away money, as it were, I am relieved that the penny has been discontinued here in Canada. I am a 56 years young baby boomer. Nice blog.

Annie said...

Hey Linda!

Thanks so much for reading The Home Stretch and for taking the time to leave such encouraging comments! Appreciate it! Hope you stop by again!

Annie :)