by CLINT YOUNTS
Okay, who’s the wise guy that changed the size of my pocket change? Who thought it would be funny to make the quarter smaller and lighter without informing the American public, namely me? The other day, I reached in my pocket to tip a pizza delivery fella, and I pulled out several coins of different sizes, but I couldn’t tell a nickel from a quarter. I’m sure it’s printed on the coins somewhere, but these eyes of mine were minted in 1958 and these new-fangled coins were made last year. For 50 years, I carried U.S. currency around in my pockets, and I could tell what coin I grabbed deep down in my pocket before it ever reached the light of day. Now, I have to carry a magnifying glass with me so I don’t over-tip the bellboy for carrying my luggage.
I suppose someone up in Washington thought we needed some new coins to toss into wishing wells and Salvation Army pots. Maybe it was going to save us taxpayers some money if we had smaller nickels and skinny quarters, but, dagnabbit, they should’ve told me first. When a homeless guys begs for a quarter, I’m gonna look cheap if I hand him a nickel instead, just because I can’t tell the difference. And how the heck is Maw supposed to play the nickel slots in Vegas if she can’t tell the difference between a nickel and dime? God help us if she puts a whole quarter in a machine!
A while back, some goober in the U.S. Treasury decided to change up the currency by putting new pictures of dead presidents on paper money. No one warned me of this change either. I thought I had Canadian money the first time I saw a new $10 bill because Alexander Hamilton looked like Queen Elizabeth. I carried a new $20 in my wallet for months before learning it wasn’t counterfeit. I was afraid to spend it, thinking the Secret Service would arrest me.
Who decided to change up our money? Congress, maybe? Or maybe it was Joe Biden. I could see him pulling pranks up there in the White House. I bet one day when he got bored and couldn’t find anything to watch on Nickelodeon, he went up to the Oval Office and begged for something fun to do. Just to get rid of him, President Obama probably tossed him a quarter and told him, “See what you can do with this.” Yep, let’s blame this particular financial deficit on the Democrats, too. I don’t recall having funny money while Bush was in office.
Speaking of small change, why do we even have the penny? When I was a kid, you could buy bubble gum with a penny, but now gum costs at least a nickel. What good is a penny? My grandmother used to say “a penny for your thoughts,” but I don’t recall ever making much money for telling her what’s on my mind. As a kid, I used to play penny-ante poker, but again, I never made much money. In high school, when I should’ve been studying or reading Homer’s “Iliad,” I was behind the last shelf in the library pitching pennies with Anthony Wright. If I was lucky, I’d make 9 or 10 cents.
Instead of making our nickels and quarters smaller, why not do away with the shiny penny? And while we are at it, can we change the color of the coins? For those Americans who have half a dozen pairs of reading glasses scattered around the house, why not color-code the coins? Make nickels blue and quarters red. That way, if we can remember what color’s what, we will know what coins we just pulled out of our pockets without yelling, “Maw, the pizza’s here. Fetch me my glasses, will ya?”
Clint Younts is at an age where he needs a pair of glasses hanging from a chain around his neck. Thank goodness his wife is there to always hand him his spectacles.