I thought I would devote this week’s blurb to humankind’s biggest obsession: money.
This biblicly accused root of all evil is known by a thousand names, both collectively (eg. cabbage, greenback) and individually (eg. loonie, toonie, fin, ten-spot).
Who doesn’t like money? (Besides Buddha.) It’s why we constantly buy the gift that gives nothing: lottery tickets.
And there’s currently lots going on in Canada with respect to currency: We are about to say goodbye to our little brown friend, the penny, that pint-size coin that meant less and less as we grew older. I am going to miss the penny because it holds mostly childhood memories for me. I remember as a kid buying a mini-bag of Maple Leaf (ironically named) brand of chips for two cents. I remember selling soft drinks in Mount Royal Park for three-cents profit per bottle. It seemed like a lot of money when triplexes cost less than $10,000 in The Plateau.
Rounding things out to the nearest nickel seems to grind against the whole concept of the decimal system. How can you say a dollar is worth 100 cents if there are no more cents? I’m just saying.
Now our paper money is turning washing-machine proof. I’m not sure I like the new bills. They’re dull, slippery and screwy with holograms and transparencies. (I hear that if you stare long enough at the 20, you can see a space ship beyond the queen.) Okay, counterfeiters are supposed to be discouraged by the complexities of the new design. Yeah, right. If they can make a fake Rolex or a Mona Lisa, do you really believe that the cons can’t duplicate a plastic bill designed by Disney studios?
While I am on capitalism’s favourite topic, why is it that we rarely mint commemoratives on nickels? Our beaver’s fundament must be sore by now, sitting on that log for so long without so much as a brief dip in the lake. Why not give him/her a promotion? Put the pancake-tailed rodent on the quarter, replacing the moose, elk, gazelle or whatever that pronged beast is. Or what’s wrong with animals on both sides? (Oh yeah, then you couldn’t play heads or tails.)
On the toonie, I would like to see the forgotten marooned polar bear replaced by a Quebec anglo.
And where is the loonie celebrating the 100th anniversary of the CFL that we’ve heard so much about? It’s almost 2013 for gosh sakes. Were they all snatched up in Toronto?
Sprucing up our currency comes just in time for world recognition: As reported in The Gazette this past week, the Canadian dollar “may soon join the elite club of global reserve currencies,” neatly tucked it into the bread basket of U.S. dead presidents, British sterling, sun-setting yen, Germanized euro and the Swiss chocolate franc.
We should all be proud. Canada is certainly riding a wave of popularity, what with the recent announcement by Saputo that Jos. Louis and May West will soon displace Twinkie, Ding Dongs and Ho Ho’s as North America’s junk food of choice. (Go Vachon!)
Anyway, change is good as long as you can break a 100.