|WHEN A HA'-PENNY WON'T
We have heat! The apartment is now a balmy
71 degrees -- which would be more impressive if the day itself hadn't reached
an unseasonably-warm 70 degrees, but a win's a win.
I'm actually just back from dinner with my
parents -- dad grilled pork barbeque and mom made seasoned potatoes, and
I, for my part, ate enough of both to choke a horse. Now I'm fighting a distinct
and overpowering urge to drift off, so let's just see how far into this entry
I can get before that happens.
Wow, that wasn't far, at all. Lemme try again.
So -- mid-December. Christmas is coming, geese
are fattening, and old men are inexplicably finding pennies and ha'-pennies
in their hats, all of which are unceremoniously thrown away because it's
no longer worth fifty cents to put 'em all in those little coin wrappers.
I read on Slashdot the other day that they're
going to be changing the composition of our metal U.S. currency because the
cost of producing them, particularly as it applies to the raw materials involved,
has overtaken the face value of the coins themselves. One would imagine this
sort of thing would have taken precedent in discussions over coin issues
of the recent years, but apparently most folks in charge were still debating
over whether Alabama would be better represented on the back of their state
quarter by either an engraved confederate flag or the state seal crossed
over with a shotgun and a moonshine jug.
Legislation has been introduced to keep people
from melting the coins down in order to sell the raw metal for a profit...
but I gotta ask this -- if it's illegal to do that, what's protecting
those jerks who do tasteless alterations on U.S. coins and sell them back
to the public for twenty times their face value as 'patriotic collectibles?'
I'm talking about the companies who take a dollar coin and paint over Sakagewea's
face so she looks like she's crying over litter on the highways, or those
special 9/11 tribute quarters where they've engraved images of the twin towers
into a thin extra layer of silver which was taken from the actual dental
fillings of genuine 9/11 corpses.
I suppose the rationale for the legal distinction
between the two practices is that melting the coins destroys them completely,
forcing the government to create new coins at an operating loss. However,
as a concerned citizen I feel compelled to point out that, even though the
altered collectible coins may still, technically, exist, they're
effectively dead. People aren't likely to part with an ugly coin that they
paid a ridiculously high amount for, and as long as at least one supermarket
cashier is still awake in this country, those little abominations are NOT
gonna be re-entering circulation. It doesn't take an eagle eye to spot the
coin where JFK's hair has been rendered in day-glo orange.
In short, dear government, in the name of decency
and, more importantly, a return to profitability, please find it within yourself
to prosecute all altered-state-coin-retail-profiteers, regardless of their
Shoot 'em if you have to.