No Good News – The Penny

WOW. Something happened this week that managed to outdo Margaret Wente telling us her life is better than ours and Conrad Black saying he is a “guest” of the United States. Oh fine, here’s a couple of quotes from Canada’s finest wordsmiths to tide you over before I tell you what happened that was such a big deal.

At work, I joined an excellent defined-benefit pension plan. New employees don’t get it.

As a guest of the American people, my deliveries of the National Post — late and sporadic as they are — comprise my principal connection, here in the tenebrous, alligator-infested thickets ofFlorida, with Canadian public policy discussion.


Let’s face it: while it’s completely fucked that a can of Coke still costs a dollar yet you need to make six figures just to be able to have a salad once a week, it’s more completely fucked that we have a penny. You can’t get anything with it. When I was young, you could get as much as $5 for a CD at the used CD store. Those days are long gone, too. Also, why is everybody born after 1989 a Little Rascals-obsessed racist? What the fuck did society do to make those stars align? Let’s face it: if you were six when Weezer was cool, you probably think something weird and generalizing about “Asians” and get warm and fuzzy whenever someone mentions Penelope Spheeris, but you don’t know why.


So, it’s not that weird to get rid of the penny. Those things don’t even make wishes come true anymore. That said, it is very weird to compare axing the penny to budget cuts at the CBC. But we won’t get into that here, because I am saving my CBC jokes.

Why is everything about that photo so funny? He knows that’s not a statue of him, right? Well, I bet Mansbridge, like every other journalist inCanada, couldn’t help themselves when the penny was cut out of the Canadian Budget, and went crazy saying the dumbest things they’ve said in years. OK, months. OK, weeks. Days. All right, journalists say dumb things all the time. And either editors are too burnt-out and cynical to do anything  about it or they’ve all been fired, leaving articles spell checked but otherwise subject to no form of quality assurance.

The penny’s elimination also throws into question a number of popular expressions, such as “penny for your thoughts” and “mind your pennies and the nickels will take care of themselves.”

That comes courtesy of The Post’s Scott Stinson, apparently the only journalist to think of a penny pun. Or was he? I doubt it, but I’m going to structure this sentence as though you might believe I haven’t read all of the papers yet because I have better things to do. Like going to Whole Foods to buy a protein shake because my wife thinks I eat too many eggs. Like, ten to fourteen a week. That’s a lot of eggs. What am I, a cake?

The remedy to this new crisis is not readily apparent: does anyone really want to pay a nickel for someone’s thoughts? That’s a 400% price increase in the price of thoughts! And, if we are to begin minding our nickels, can we be sure that the quarters will take care of themselves? This remains an unproven thesis.

I feel like Stinson isn’t taking this very seriously. Does everybody inCanadamake so much money that we won’t notice the penny’s gone? Is that what’s going on? Well, I am reading the Post, a paper designed to be used as a coke straw when you’re done reading it. Surely, someone, somewhere,  must be taking this seriously. One National Post commenter, “quadibloc”, got straight as shit with his online pals:

There is one obvious prerequisite to abolishing the penny. First, the GST, and all provincial sales taxes, should have been abolished. Since that has not happened, this puts an intolerable burden on Canadians.

Well, not that we aren’t paying for the penny anymore, what are we paying for? Roads? Toll that shit! Libraries? People on welfare?

The joke train (ONEPENNY A TICKET!) continues over at The Star:

Soon we won’t have two pennies to rub together. That’s our two cents worth.

That knee-slapper comes from this anonymously-scribed column,  suggesting that Canadians of every stripe don’t take the penny seriously at all.

Congratulations Jim Flaherty — you’re the first finance minister in Canadian history to render the country penniless. And we mean that in a good way.

Even more jokes were to be found courtesy of The Sun’s Mike Strobel, the only man inCanada who can make Mike Strobel laugh.

After the federal budget capped the copper on Thursday, journos, bloggers and TV anchors unleashed a torrent of penny puns.

It was sadly nostalgic. Reporters ambushed pedestrians for their “two cents worth.” Some said the feds were being “penny-wise and pound-foolish.” Others griped that politicians pop up “like bad pennies.” A few rushed off to work, lest they not have “two pennies to rub together.” A couple crossed their legs and said they needed to go “spend a penny.”

What is it about journalists at the Sun that they don’t realize that they’re journalists and members of the media? Wait: is it because they aren’t? THAT WOULD EXPLAIN EVERYTHING. Including Strobel’s bizarre anterograde amnesia (GOOGLE. IT. YOURSELF.) causing him to not realize that his entire column up to that point was penny puns.

And if there are no pennies to pinch, what will Mayor Rob Ford do with himself? Let the social engineers in sensible shoes nickel and dime us to death?

Sensible shoes? What does that mean? What is Strobel wearing? Maybe by sensible shoes, he means those buzz kills over at the Globe and Mail.

Not everyone is relieved to see the one-cent coin abolished.

“As a coin collector, it’s a black day because the penny has been such an integral part of Canadian history. When Canada was young, a penny was a lot of money,” said Brian Grant Duff with All Nations Stamp and Coin in Vancouver.

God, that makes me feel terrible. OF COURSE I WASN’T THINKING OF COIN COLLECTORS. What is with those guys, anyway? Unless they swim in a pool of coins, that’s less interesting than a collection of boring rocks.

Of course, rather than lower themselves, and us, with humour, the basest of all human urges, The Globe take it out on a high note:

Federal officials said more than 35 billion pennies have been minted in Canadain the past 104 years. This, they noted Thursday, would weigh 94 million kilograms – or as much as 1,500 Leopard 2 tanks.

Am I the only one who feels like that’s what the government thinks they’re going to spend the money they save off of having no pennies on? I mean, sure, those things are cool, and if we get 1,500 Leopard 2 tanks, you can bet that unless the words “Leopard” and “Tanks” are in the headlines, nothing Wente or Black have to say about anything is going to be news to me that week.

About Matt Collins

Matt Collins is a musician (Ninja High School), cartoonist (Sexy), jock (Manhunt), and comedian (Matt Collins) in Toronto, Ontario. Please buy more Matt Collins. [Other Posts By Matt]