by Keith Kanderski

penniesWhy don’t vending machines accept pennies? What other purpose could a penny have? No one wants to be the jerk who shows up at Noodlecat for a nice dinner and then heaves a burlap bag full of pennies, which he has collected during his lifetime, onto the table when the bill comes. Are pennies just the Government’s way of forcing the American citizen to save at least a small fraction of their income? Is the Government in cahoots with the piggybank manufacturers to ensure there will always be something for kids to slide through the little slot, making sure kids continue to receive piggybanks as presents? I’m sure you’d even get a mean glance from the homeless guy outside your building if you dumped a hundred pennies in his palm when he asks for a dollar. I know the obvious answer is to deposit them into your bank account, but who has the time to roll all those pennies anymore?

So…after doing diligent research, here are some things that pennies can supposedly be used for. These ideas sound good but have not yet been tested (for some of these, proceed at your own risk):

  • Pre-1982 pennies have a higher copper content than those made in 1982 to now (now they are made mostly of zinc). The higher copper content is supposed to stunt the growth of algae. If you have a birdbath in your yard, throw in a couple pre-1982 pennies to help keep the water clean. I am reading that copper sulfate (a combination of copper and sulphur) can be used to kill algae, so I’m not sure how effective a penny would actually be in keeping a birdbath clean. Copper Sulfate is said to not be that toxic for birds, though, so throwing in a penny to see if this works does not seem like it would be a problem. However, Copper Sulfate is said to be very toxic for fish, so I wouldn’t test this out in any water housing fish. On a similar note, a penny is also supposed to help keep your flowers fresher for longer.
  • The space from the top of a penny to the top of Lincoln’s head is 1/16 of an inch, which is also the minimum amount of tread, which is suggested to have on your tires. Keep a couple pennies in the car and insert them into your tire’s tread. If any part of Lincoln’s head is covered, then you’re fine. If you can clearly see all of Lincoln’s head, you better get to Conrads.
  • Keep a few pennies in your pocket. Use them to hand out for people who offer their thoughts on something or to try to get their thoughts. Also, you can always put a couple pennies on the table during a meeting when you are giving your own thoughts. Whether you would use this as something fun for others or to enhance sarcasm, that is up to you.
  • Use pennies as tiny weights when you need a little extra something.
  • Use pennies to help level out tables and chairs.

The next time you look at the pile of pennies on your desk at work or in the ashtray of your car and that little bit of penny rage starts to rise, just remember that there may be some usefulness after all.

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