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Quelle Douleur On:2011-03-20 00:00:00

I haven’t had a good rant for ages...

It’s awful! It makes us look like we must be the most backward and abysmal country in the whole developed world!
We ought to be ashamed! It’s a waste! It’s a disgrace!
We should be hanging out heads in communal shame, while the red of our contiguous blushes paints the town in a most untoward way.
I can hardly bring myself to annunciate the cause of our disgrace from sea to not-so-shining sea, but annunciate it I will!
It’’s’s our dollar bills!!

We are still using bloody dollar bills! Paper!---Paper for an amount of money so small it’s scarce enough to buy a cup of coffee and I’m not talking fancy-schmancy ventis here, but a mere cuppa Joe.
In this we lag, lag like snivelling dotards, behind the likes of the Euro-zone, Australia, even our neighbours in Canada have a dollar coin , though it’s called the Loonie which may have put off the more northerly residents of the USA (though I can assure them that it’s called a Loonie not because Canadians think it’s daft, but because it has a depiction of a loon on one side and of a Canadian bird on the other).
For goodness sake! having a paper dollar bill puts us squarely in the camp of the Red Chinese! And we all know why those buggers want money they can burn!

Britain, of course, forward-looking go-ahead guys to a man, has actually done it twice---in a manner of speaking. You see way back when I was a babe in my mothers arms going “Mewl, mewl, puke puke” and the like, we in Britain had pound notes and ten-shilling notes (and incidentally gigantic white ‘fivers’, tablecloth fiverfive-pound notes, which the more affluent persons would take into the countryside for picnics, to spread on the ground and sit on) Ah! we had quid notes and ten-bob notes and then, then on a dark day in February 1971, when, in deeds most foul, we did away with our old currency system, became decimal, and lost the ability to count on anything but our fingers, and we disposed of our ten-bob notes and turned them into coins. Incidentally at the time the ten-bob note was worth rather more than a dollar. Then a scant dozen years later, in 1983, after the pound had fallen and was itself only worth rather more than a dollar, we did it again, this time with the pound note itself.

So what makes Americans stick with a piece of paper when all the rest of the world has decent metal? Is it fear that some day we’ll really, really need to blow our noses and be short of any more appropriate handkerchief?
It can’t be any desire to be efficient and fiscally provident, I mean the Government Accountability Office (who surely ought to know) estimated that the government could save more than 500 million dollars a year by using dollar coins instead of potential handkerchiefs.
Is it that we fear some stinking Commie plot to pollute Americans' precious dollar-ly bills along with our precious bodily fluids?


It’s that we’re all stick-in-the-muds, terrified to try something new; anxious lest that hitherto friendly checkout girl we’ve flirted with all week will scream and hurl a proffered one dollar coin in our faces, snarling about stinky Commie plots, or (mutatis mutandis) that we will call the cops, or even the feds, on her for a counterfeiter and, to use the older term, a COINER---and a cheat should she happen to put one in our change.
Yes, from mud flat to shining mud flat we are all too often stick-in-the-muds, and don’t you dare say it’s that good old ’Mer’can independence and don’t-tread-on-me-ishness, ’cause it ain’t.
Our only hope now is that, following the example of all those state quarters that have been turning us into a nation of savers one novelty coin at a time, now (well actually since 2007)---now that Congress has passed a law that mandates lots of novelty dollar coins featuring lots of dead presidents be made every year, maybe now we will start using coins like real men with real reinforced pockets before the current vast pile of around a billion unused dollar coins (rapidly heading for two billion) that just sit, and unlike bills don’t sit and fester or mildew or get eaten by the rodent of your choice, and sit and grow to critical mass and collapse under their own gravitational attraction and Fort Knox or wherever it is that your attitude towards change has lumbered with them, becomes a black hole from which not even light, let alone coins or even paper can escape.

As the French say, secure in the armour of their metal Euros, “Quelle douleur!”
You have been warned!

Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton

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