Common cents

Common cents

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I was at the convenience store the other day to get some milk because my wife called me at work and asked me to get some milk.

"Pick up some milk," she said.

I said, "I am so sick of your annoying phone calls. Don't you realize that I have a very important job at a very important company where I do very important things? Why don't you drag your lazy ass out for once in your life and go get some milk yourself? Do you think I want to pick up the phone and hear your whiny voice asking me to pick up some milk? I don't even drink milk! If you want milk so bad, pick up the milk yourself! Now if you don't mind…leave me alone!"

Yes, that's exactly what I said. 

Really, really quietly in my head.

"Sure sweetheart. Can I get anything else for the love of my life?"

So there I was at the convenience store standing in line getting ready to pay for my milk. The clerk said to me, "$2.53." 

Apparently in his country, they don't use words like "Hello." 

Not that it mattered what he said anyway, because I was too busy trying to look over his shoulder to see what was in the new Penthouse.

"$2.53," he said again, kinda irritated.

Apparently in his country, they don't have things like naked breasts, either.

I reached into my pocket and discovered that I only had $2.50.

I showed it to him. "Sorry," I said, "but this is all I've got. Guess I'll come back later."

He didn't even flinch. He just reached into that little green dish by the cash register and took out three pennies.

"Next person," he said.

I've never walked out a store so fast in my life. And I didn't look back.

Because apparently in my country, other people are allowed to pay for my milk.

God, I love America.

The thing is, I know those little green penny dishes have been around for a while. And I always see people putting pennies in there.

Personally, I've never put a penny in. I would say that it's because I'm cheap and Jewish, but that would be redundant.

Until I got that free three cents, however, I never realized the limitless possibilities of the almighty one cent piece.

Now, I'll be doing all of my shopping in convenience stores, gas stations and Walgreen's. If you have a little green penny dish at your store, your store will now be my favorite store.

Have I told you that I have a brand new bank? It's called The Bank of First Federal of Little Green Penny Dish and Trust.

At my new bank, I make withdrawals. And everybody else makes the deposits.

As we speak, people all over the country are getting change, looking at their pennies, and saying, "Y'know, I like money as much as the next guy. But gosh, I dunno. These little brown things just seem like more trouble than they're worth. I wish there was a place to put them."

"Hey, look! A pretty little green dish. Hey, isn't this whatshisface's bank? What the heck. Let's just give our money to him. He seems so nice. And handsome, too."

Thank you, thank you one and all. Thank you. Thank you for giving me your cash money and expecting nothing in return.

God, I love America.

I've now done something that every man on earth has tried to figure out how to do, but has yet to crack the code. Until now. 

I've beaten the system. 

I've figured out a way to get around this whole going-to-work burden that society places on our shoulders.

Working people are good for the economy. Let's promote commerce! It's important to be a productive member of society. 

Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Stick it in your big fat ear, society. There's a new sheriff in town. And he's got a pocket full of copper circles embossed with Honest Abe's mug.

Starting today, I have one purpose in life. 

Pennies. Lots and lots of pennies.

The thing is, I like a lot of things, but I'd have to say that free money would be at the top of that list.

Unless I missed something, a penny is still a part of U.S. currency system, right?

Five pennies still equals a nickel, right? 

Ten pennies still equals a dime, right? 

Eighty-six pennies still equals three quarters, a dime and penny, right? Or four dimes, eight nickels and six pennies, right? Or twelve nickels, a quarter and a penny, right? Or seven dimes and sixteen pennies, right?

Or two hundred and eighteen dollars Canadian, right?

I know most people look at a penny and think, "Crappy little waste-of-time piece of crap penny."

I look at a penny and see the start of a new company. The beginning of a down payment on a brand new car. 

One half of two cents.

I'm confused. Why would people give money away for no other reason that they don't think it's enough money?

Apparently, no one other than me sees the value of the tiny penny anymore. 

Which is fine. I'll keep them all for myself.

Personally, I think it's a sad, sorry way for Americans to treat this lasting symbol of honor for the greatest president of all time, Abraham Lincoln. 

Abraham Lincoln. The man who walked to school every day. 

The man who chopped down cherry trees and told the truth.

The man who invented electricity. Sewed the flag. And created invisible fencing.

If I'm not mistaken, he was also the original drummer for the Beatles. 

Two hundred and thirty two years ago, this country wanted to commemorate him forever by placing him in a ring of honor. In the middle of a penny. 

The penny that people now give away without a thought.

Poor Abe. Poor tall, ugly Abe. 

First, shot in the head. Now, tossed aside as an irrelevant piece of commerce.

Don't worry big guy. I'll keep your memory alive.

Important Penny Fact of the Day:

Do you know that more than 300,000,000,000 pennies have been minted since they started minting pennies?

Aside from the fact that that's a lot of money, that's a lot of pennies. And to me, nothing says wealth like large amounts of money. In tonnage.

Believe me, I now plan on getting every free penny available. One at a time. 

It may take a while. But I'm a very patient man. I root for the Bills and the Indians, remember?

Store by store, I'm going to get them all. From every Walgreen's. Every Sunoco. Every 7-11. I'm gonna get every last one of them. 

I'm sure the clerk at CVS might be a little surprised when I walk in, step up to the counter and take all of the pennies out of his little green penny dish.

It probably won't help that I'll laugh really hard and smart-alecky when I've taken them, too. Y'know, one of those chuckle-and-point-your-finger-in-somebody's face "Sucker!" kind of laughs.

The kind of laugh you only laugh if you can run really fast. Or if you kept your car running out in front.

But c'mon, those pennies are there for the taking, aren't they? So why can't I take them all?

I don't have to tell him or anybody for that matter what I need those free pennies for. 

Need a penny? Take a penny! 

There's nothing written on that little green dish that says you can only take a penny for something you need at that exact moment. 

Maybe I need a penny because I just want all the free pennies.

Maybe I'm just a greedy good-for-nothing penny whore.

But if they're there for the taking, guess what? I'm taking.

Guess what else? Maybe I'm not going to stop at those green little dishes, either. 

Maybe I want all the pennies.

I'm going to ask people at work for their pennies. I'm going to ask total strangers on the street for their pennies. 

I'm going to buy the movie "Pennies from Heaven." And then I'm going to sell it. For pennies.

I'm going to walk into JC Penny's and ask if I can have all of their pennies.

And then, I'm going to ask you for your pennies.

So here goes:

Give me all your pennies. 

Please, let's make this easy on everyone. I know you don't want them.

I realize you now may be thinking my idea is a brilliant one. Only because it is. 

But the bottom line is, I thought of it first, so back off. 

Soon, your pennies are going to make me a pennyaire.

Send me e-mail. Tell me where I can pick up your pennies.

Better yet, why don't you just send me your pennies? At your cost. 

Better yet, instead of a stamp, tape thirty-three more pennies on the envelope.

From this day forward, I will now do anything at any time to get free pennies. 

And believe me, as greedy as I am, this is more than me just trying to get all the free money I can.

I mean, somebody needs to protect the legacy of the great man, Abe Lincoln. The guy invented Mattel Electronic Football, for chrissakes.