It's long past time that the lowly penny has met its demise.
On top of all the reason and rationale offered for tossing it into the forgotten piggybank of history, its very existence has been a personal annoyance to me.
My thoughts are worth more than a penny, thank you very much.
Indeed, inflation has long since pushed the value of my brain's production well into the realm of the plugged nickel.
Or so I have been told on many occasions. I am amused, however, at the musings of those who worry that "penny" adages will now necessarily fall out of the language.
Fear has been expressed that such expressions as "Penny wise, pound foolish" and "In for a penny, in for a pound" will pass outside of the ordinary understanding, as we move forward into a non-cents economy.
Yeah. As if a pound of tobacco (the quid, which has since been reduced to a mouthful) is still legal tender in this country.
Somehow, those expressions survived a century of poundless currency in Canada. It's doubtful there will be any significant effect on them, now the penny has dropped.
People still routinely refer to the quarter as "two bits," without realizing that they are refer-ring to an archaic Spanish dollar equivalent, which was chopped into pieces of eight, with each "bit" worth twelve and a half cents.
Frankly, most folks don't know what they're talking about, anyway, when they babble off mindless adages.
Underway is a word in common usage today, bastardized from the original "under weigh," as in: a Spanish galleon or other vessel weighing anchor (that is, the anchor was pulled up so the ship was prepared to sail- or steam- out of port, and get "under weigh").
It doesn't matter that there are only a few of us pedantic-ally inclined folks left who know why it means what it means, the meaning of "underway" is perfectly understood in the modern context.
(See? I told you my thoughts are worth a plugged nickel.)
But watch for subtle changes in the language to reflect the penny's demise.
For instance, we might currently suggest the worthlessness of an object, animal, person- or thought- with the phrase, "It's not worth a red cent!"
Notwithstanding pennies never were terribly red, and that they quickly turn brown - or at least, they used to in the old days when we still had pennies - I predict that in the near future that phrase will resurge, but without the "not."
"It's worth a penny," will come to mean that it has no value at all.
Or perhaps the phrase will morph into some-thing like, "It's about as useful as a penny."
In keeping with my earlier recognition of the value of my thoughts, I'll make a further prediction with questionable currency: the nickel, too, is doomed.
Consider the two-dollar bill that was reincarnated as a twoonie not too many years after the dollar bill solidified into a loonie.
It will soon become obvious to even the slowest bureaucrats and politicians that removing the nickel from circulation can easily turn the dime into a new penny, with the simple shift of a decimal place.
Or maybe the nickel will be allowed stay on as a "new" ha'penny dredged from our currency's past.
Perhaps the best thing to come out of federal budget's execution of the penny is that we finally have a clear admission from Ottawa: the Harper Government doesn't make cents.