We have to treasure our historic days. We get only so many. No more than three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter a year.
There’s always something historic happening, if not on a day that we designate as today, then on the same date of the month some day in the past, in which case it becomes a day to commemorate something historic on a day we call today.
What the buzz is about today, that we alternatively describe as February 4th, 2013, is that the one-cent piece has been officially legislated out of existence. Only in Canada.
There’s a qualitative difference in this historic day. You see, the one-cent piece is still around. And will be around . . . for centuries to come.
Centuries from now, I will still be bending down to snatch a penny from the dirt and grime on the sidewalk of some city . . . on Mars, maybe. Okay, maybe not me, but you get my drift.
Today I bent down to rescue a dime from the slop in a parking lot. A dime. Ten cents. No, not ten one-cent pieces, but the equivalent of.
For the penny, the one-cent piece, will never ever disappear. It will survive. Forever. Like a Roman coin. Or a notch on a mud tablet minted in Babylon, B.C. Or an obsidian bead on a broken string in a Neolithic tomb.
And it is not only the physical presence of the penny that will survive. Its meaning will survive. Can you name me one banker, one credit card conglomerate, one pain-in-the-ass computer with a calculator built into its DNA, that will forget, let alone forgive, your debt, even if you’ve paid it off except for that one last cent? Or fraction of a cent?
“Oh, sorry, sir. We thank you for your last remittance, but since then, the interest on the balance has compounded and rebounded and propounded so that you still owe us point zero zero zero one one two two cents. Please remit the balance in full.”
“Okay. I must have a penny here somewhere.”
“Sorry, sir. A penny won’t cut it. Send us a nickel. It’s the law now. You have to round it off to the nearest nickel. And by the way, that balance is now point zero zero zero one one two six. Send us a dime, sir, just in case.”
Okay, folks. Listen up.
What’s that sound, you ask?
It’s the penny dropping.