We found a use for the penny

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2006

We’ve finally found a use for the penny.

There are a number of people out there calling for the abolishment of the coin bearing the likeness of Abraham Lincoln. They say the coin has no value whatsoever.

Noted New York Times Columnist William Safire is one of the many who have called for the discontinuance of the penny.

In his column on the subject, Safire said, &uot;The time has come to abolish the outdated, almost worthless, bothersome and wasteful penny. Even President Lincoln, who distrusted the notion of paper money because he thought he would have to sign each greenback, would be ashamed to have his face on this specious specie.&uot;

Though my stature in the columnist ranks compared to Safire’s is roughly the same as comparing Dan Marino to Ryan Leaf, on this subject I find that I am right.

You see almost all of us here in the main office of Roanoke-Chowan Publications found we had a drawer full of pennies. We never used them and they seemed to be accumulating.

We weren’t sure whether to stage a demonstration and take them to the bank in unison or what exactly we were supposed to do with them.

Then genius struck one of us. I’m not sure who it was, but either former Composition Manager David Taylor or current Circulation Manager David Friedman offered an idea of what to do with the pennies.

Now, before I go further in explaining, I’ll have to ask Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan and my pastor not to read the rest of this column because I’ll be admitting some activity that may not be in favor with those two.

We found that a good use for the penny is to bet them. We placed wagers on everything you can imagine, from the time people would come in to work to who would win a ballgame.

You see the penny isn’t worth that much in all honesty and we all had enough in our desks to make 100s of wagers. Who cares if you lose a penny, right?

Well, you may be surprised at how important a penny can be because it has absolutely nothing to do with the insignificant amount of currency that changes hands between us. It’s about the pride of winning and losing.

We hold the pennies over each other’s heads like they are some sort of trophy. We enjoy the specter of having someone whom we deem a friend have to fish that penny out of their pocket or desk drawer and bring it over.

If you walk into our office and find a mound of pennies on the half wall between Composition Manager Lauren Morris and Staff Writer Patrick Campbell, we’ve got a little wager on something.

My favorite to date is the two pennies I won – one each from Friedman and Campbell – from Duke’s lacrosse team beating Carolina. (Yes, that’s the type of significant item we spend time on in our personal lives.)

My least favorite has been this week when I have to hand over a penny to the same to Carolina fans for a victory they may have gotten in a sport with a round ball in a place in Durham.

So the penny has a use, maybe not monetary use, but it has a use for the purposes of pride and getting over on your friends. What other use could you get from a small round item that you can’t use to buy anything?

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? All are welcome. You can reach me at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.