Penny pinch

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“A penny for your thoughts.” “She doesn’t have two pennies to rub together.” “Not worth a red cent.” “Find a penny, pick it up, and it will bring a whole day’s luck.”

We’re a nickel’s-worth of days into the post-pennies world and you can now probably honestly mark Canadian currency with the line of penny and post-penny.

The copper-brown one cent coin began its official disappearance on Friday, as companies and governments began rounding the number of cents either up or down to the nearest five-cent figure.

And for those who have never lived through this kind of experience before, be ready to have that experience date you.


Because there are any number of popular sayings that still linger in common parlance.

Sure, you can still give someone an inch and have them take a mile. But in this land of centimetres and kilometres, that can also serve to date you a little.

A country mile is still a measure of … well, something, and a miss may be as good as a mile … somehow.

In the same vein, a 10-gallon hat sounds positively stupid to someone who’s only ever had to measure the contents of said topper with 40-odd litres of some liquid or another.

Problem is, sayings tend to stick with you, and the older you get, the more hidebound you are about using them. (Perhaps that’s why people hear their mothers and fathers slip and say some of the most offensive words now and then, simply because those words weren’t always offensive. But that’s a different story.)

And when it comes to the penny, there are a lot of sayings kicking around.

Even though we don’t use the British pound, we can still be told not to be pennywise and pound foolish — or that we should be in for a penny, in for a pound.

A penny saved might still be a penny earned — if you can find any to save.

On the bright side, nothing will cost a pretty penny any more, nor will you find yourself cut off without a penny.

Poker games will no doubt be more expensive, too, now that the penny-ante penny ante will be a thing of the past.

It’s one thing to get rid of a coin that costs more to produce than it’s actually worth. It’s something else again to pry references to that persuasive piece of coinage out of the old memory banks.

When the penny drops, it will be too late: once a penny reference slips from your lips, young eyes will roll and you will be immediately shifted off to the legion of the oldsters.

It’s the first official step to fogeydom, folks. The first step.

At least there’s still the dime, which we can turn on, stop on, and legitimately argue that something’s a dime a dozen.

Just giving you our two cents’ worth.

Dang — see what we mean? 

Where’s our rocker gone?

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