There’s Change and Then There’s Change

I’m referring to change in two ways — the constant ebb, flow, morph, re-engineering, nuance, invention and innovation that is a regular part of all our lives, our society and our species.  That is the kind of change dealt with in Who Moved My Cheese?  And then there is pocket change — dimes, nickels, quarters, etc.   I’m going to discuss both.

I just read yet another article about how folks are freaking out about one more report from the feds on the push to eliminate US $1.00 bills and replace them with those Sacagawea golden dollar coins that supposedly everyone hates.  One of the findings is that the paper-bill-to-metal-coin switch being considered would save taxpayers an estimated $4.4 billion over the next three decades.  Is this a no brainer or what?  For that kind of savings, when fiscal cliffs and economic recessions are the topics that have arguing politicians filibustering and talking heads drawing blood, and when Social Security is in jeopardy, I say just do it!

The Brits have long had a one pound sterling coin.  And Canada has both the loonie (a $1.00 coin with a loon on it) and the toonie (the nickname for the $2.00 coin).  And I was recently in Botswana and they have a one pula coin (with an image of a zebra on it).  And we are freaking out about doing away with the paper one dollar bill?  I say we should join the twenty first century.

If the federal bank just took the paper dollars out of circulation and put the coins into circulation, in a very short time we’d all adjust because we had no choice.  Or would we go around lamenting about the good old days of the dollar bill and how it has just never been the same now that Sacagawea has supplanted George Washington?  Would we be circulating petitions outside markets, Walmarts and Target stores to ask the feds to bring back the dollar bill?  Would there be political debates and would the GOP blame President Obama?  There are already many presidential golden dollar coins in circulation too (similar to the state quarters — they are releasing golden dollar coins in the same order that the presidents served their terms).  So there should be ample variety of images and faces to please everyone.  Vending machines that dispense coffee, pastries, sandwiches and fresh fruit already take these coins and return them as change.  Stamp machines in post offices already take them.  The prices of everything have gone up to the point where there isn’t all that much one can buy for under a dollar.  So why are we so attached to the paper dollar?  I for one just don’t get it.

I’ve heard the argument from men that it will mean too much heavy change in their pockets and it will weigh down their trousers, and then wear a hole in their pockets.  So get a man purse (also called a murse)!  Haven’t you heard?  Man purses are on the rise.  Listen up guys:  women, wives and girlfriends are tired of carrying your stuff in our purses.  We have enough to carry around already, in addition to diaper bags and stuff for the baby.  If you are macho enough to cope with your own large egos, then you are adult enough to learn to manage a murse.  And no, it should not imply anything at all about your masculinity, or gender identity, or how in touch you are with your feminine side.  With almost all men having cell phones and business cards and pocket knives and keys and sun shades, and handkerchiefs or tissues, I say there is a growing argument for the murse.  Louis Vuitton already makes a murse.  Did you know that?  If modern men have evolved to the point of being able to help with housework, cook meals, help with child rearing, change diapers, manage a 2:00 a.m. feeding, and be stay-at-home dads without a testosterone meltdown, then they can darn well learn to deal with a murse.  Many already have and to them I say Congratulations!  You’re trendsetters, ahead of the curve. And, don’t forget the ubiquitous ATM card or other type of debit card that is a viable alternative.  A lot of folks already use this because they don’t like to carry a lot of cash. 

If the dollar coins weigh down your pockets too much, keep some of them in your car in one of those little trays or niches and use them for fast food drive-throughs and toll plazas.  Put them in the collection basket at church.  Use them for tips for cabbies, and tips at the car wash, the airport and hotels, bars and restaurants.  Write to men in Britain and Canada and ask them how they’ve managed to cope.  There must be bearable transferrable coping skills that can be shared.  Did those other countries have to have therapy groups to get through the transition?  Instructional videos on TV and the internet?  A Dr. Phil special? 

It pretty much comes down to dealing with change – the other kind.  We have somehow managed to evolve from vinyl music platters to 8 track cartridges to CDs, from Beta Maxes to VHS VCRs to DVRs, from 5 x 5 floppies to thumb drives, from transistor radios to iPods, from Kodachrome to digital pix, from carbon paper to photocopies and faxes, from creating fires with flint and sticks to heating dinners with microwaves, from analog to digital high def TV, from paper books to Kindles and Nooks, from gasoline powered cars to the Tesla, from fingerprinting to retinal scans, and we are still intact.  So c’mon, America, let’s take this next little step.  Let’s prove that we can move our cheese as well as the next nation.  If we can heat with solar power, then we can adopt the dollar coin.  If it would make you feel better about traditions, perhaps we could lobby for one with a cherry tree on it (for the George Washington connection, get it?).  Then again, maybe not.  Someone would probably call it “the pits” and I’m not quite ready for any more cutesy names for coins.

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About Connie

Connie Pursell is a baby boomer and a technical writer in the world of healthcare claims. Did Jesus Have a Cat? is her first book of essays. Connie misquotes Shakespeare: “Some are born quirky, some achieve quirkiness, and some have quirkiness thrust upon them.” She thinks she was born quirky but didn’t find her voice or full quirky potential until her later years. She grew up in Lancaster, California and earned a BA and an MA in English from Cal State University, Long Beach. In addition to essays, she also writes poetry – a couple of poems are included in the book. She is active in volunteer activities, makes beaded jewelry and lives in Laguna Niguel, CA with her three cats.