Why the penny, aka trash-money, is relevant again

October 25, 2016

It wasn't too long ago when I was keeping a store of pennies in my cupholder, just in case I needed something to hurl out the window at someone else's car when I got road-rage. The penny was perfect: they were enough to leave a slight ding or scratch on a car when you rained the rage down by the handful, though the noise of them hitting a vehicle was perhaps the bigger win, yet not as aggressive as, say, a rock, or getting out of the car and murdering the dickhead who doesn't know how to use his fucking blinker (I will seriously castrate your child next time you fucking HONDA). Moreover, they were meant to be a monetary symbol, telling whoever just pulled that dick move that, Hey, I'm mad enough to throw something of actual value at you, but not mad enough to throw real-money, like a nickel. 


Enter the 2010s. Those twilight years of penny-throwing are behind me now. But the penny is making its way back into the mainstream in a real way. This time as metaphor, rather than actual money. Here we go, three examples of how the penny is relevant again. 


1. Investigators report that Donald Trump "didn't donate a penny" to his foundation between the years 2009 and 2014. It is not enough anymore to say that someone has donated ZERO money to a fund, apparently saying someone hasn't even donated a penny is more descriptive than saying they've donated nothing at all. I actually dig this one -- I remember one time we were eating at a Friendly's Ice Cream as children, and the service was so absolutely abysmal (they gave us melted ice cream and spilled water on us) that my mother, the saint, left a PENNY as a tip. As a kid, this was a badass move, one I haven't seen replicated since. No, you janky-ass waitress with the awful manners and shaky hands, we did not simply forget to tip, we did not just stiff you, we left you a penny, because that's all your ass deserves, now clean up the 20 sugar packets I poured on the ground under my seat. (For the record I tip 20% regularly and say please and thank-you to all my servers and yes I know I'm going to hell anyway.) 


2. Ally Bank, Detroit, launches its 'Lucky Penny' promotion. This is some real Willy Wonka shit right here. Hoping to change the way we look at pennies (yeah fuckin right) and encourage people to be more conscious about the way they waste money (okay that's better), a Detroit bank will be scattering 100 Lucky Pennies, redeemable by the end of the year for 1,000$ each, around the nation's major metros. Great! I hope I find one of these suckers the next time I'm in LA so I can pay for my brunch and my Uber home. Seriously, shit is expensive out here I spent 40$ on avocado toast last weekend and I still haven't started my 401k why am I broke Grandma please send money I have to get new ties and leather shoes. 


 3. Local woman reports "penny from deceased loved one" was placed in her path. "I was leaving the restaurant where I work when a glimmer caught my eye," she writes. "The sunlight reflecting off the face of a shiny penny lying in the doorway. Just a penny , I thought, stepping over it, leaving it for someone else to pick up. I used to believe that 'pennies from heaven' were a sign that someone was watching over me. But with all the stress in my life lately, I’d stopped believing in such silly things. Until now..." Yeah, you really should have left that "until now" part out you trifling bitch, get out there on the streets and hit the pavement, make them dolla bills, quit wasting your time looking at "shiny" hobo-metal you junky butt-napkin. She later goes on to describe how God scrawled pennies in the initial of her deceased son in her driveway. Believable.  Plot twist: this is the same lady who my mom tipped a single penny for spitting in our puddle of ice cream. Double plot-twist: she still works at Friendly's. 


TL;DR -- I used to throw pennies at expensive cars until I got my ass whooped by a mean old lady. Donald Trump is scum. My mom is a boss. God is everything. 



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