August 28, 2006
Penny for Your Thoughts
So I had to work and run some errands in down town Boston today when I was confronted, yet again, with the ineptness of the MBTA. Now, granted, the MBTA (aka the subway/bus system of Boston) perhaps isn't as big a deal as The Big Dig--that multi-gajillion dollar project that is mired in scandal, the least of which is the death-by-falling-tunnel incident. But I digress...

So I've finished running my errands and I'm actually excited to get on the T as I'm in the middle of Robin Hobb's Mad Ship and things are starting to get real interesting. I spend what seems like an eternity fishing around in my bag for change to pay the $1.25 toll. This is a stressful event in itself because I luckily (insert sarcasm) live on the infamous B Line.

Sidenote: If you're not familiar with Boston, is the line that runs from downtown Boston past Fenway, past Boston University and all the way to Boston College. Red Sox fans are incapable of reading the sign that clearly states they can take any other line except the E Line and therefore crowd the B Line. Boston University and Boston College Students infest the B Line as well and apparently seem unable to walk a block from one building to the next as the stops are literally one block apart. So, long story short, it is the most crowded line with the most stops and least amount of cars thus making the five mile commute to downtown Boston a 45 minute trip. And oh, did I mention that in comparison to the other lines, a B Line train comes along literally once in a blue moon? No joke, I've waited an HOUR before, in the freezing cold, for one of these bastard trains to appear.

Anyways... I'm now stressing cause I can't find the correct change. I've got a dollar bill and two dimes. Frantically I paw through my bag and produce... five pennies! Silently praising the gods above because I can see a B train wending its way around the corner, I plunk my change in the receptacle and eagerly await my token. When I hear...

"Don't take no pennies." Now, not only is this the WORST English ever, but the MBTA is refusing a perfectly legit form of currency? This baffles my mind people, baffles! Long story short, I missed the T, had to wait for another.

The whole thing got me thinking. The penny is the bastard child of the change family. People throw them out, discarding them walletless on the street, entities such as the MBTA "don't take no" and have you ever noticed that the "leave a penny, take a penny" cups at Quik-e-Marts runneth over these days?

When did the penny become so unloved? Does the public not realize that behind every good dollar are one hundred hared working pennies? If the penny goes, what's next? The nickel?
posted by Tina at 7:44 PM
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