A penny’s worth of treasure in my Jeep

Do we really need pennies anymore? Other than the old superstition of gaining some good luck if you find a stray one on the ground, the usefulness of the penny seems a thing of the past.

I can’t think of anything you can purchase anymore with a penny. Even the gum ball machines granddaughter Addi Claire lures me to on occasion now cost at least a nickel.
I read a story recently that said the U.S. government lost $60 million last year producing pennies. Apparently it costs 2.4 cents to make a single one cent coin.

Joel McNeece

The penny’s uselessness was evident recently when I was cleaning everything out of my vehicle. I filled a quart size Tupperware dish with coins scooped out of my middle console and glove compartment and at least 90% of them were pennies.
The exercise was quite revealing as the tub of pennies wasn’t the only find.
I uncovered three flashlights, only one of which I knew I had.

Packed under the seats and in every pocket in my Jeep were 4X8 reporter’s notebooks – 16 in all. And naturally only two writing pens.
I pulled out enough unused napkins to stock a Starbucks, and yet every time I’ve spilled something in my vehicle I can never find one.
I found three old press ID badges, dental floss, a tin of breath mints with the warning best used prior to 2009, and a key to the Bruce Museum I’ve been looking for for six months.

I counted 19 auto insurance cards. It seems I get a new one in the mail every other month. I’m certain there’s a reason they send them so often, but I’ve proven I can keep up with them for a long while if they would just send me one every few years.
I found two travel-size containers of wet wipes – never opened. That’s something else I’m certain I’ve needed a time or two but didn’t know I had.

I unearthed a battery to an unknown digital camera, two lint rollers, a mini-tripod for a camera and two very nice business card holders I think I can make use of now that I’ve learned I have them.
There were two old pairs of sunglasses and a dozen micro-fiber wipes I can’t explain.

I now have a huge ball of tangled cords that must have attached to some gadgets at one time, but the cords are all that remain.
I found two knives – one an old pocket knife at least 20 years old and the other a Bowie knife I inherited from my grandfather Gordon Ferguson of Utica. It dates back much farther than the pocket knife and has much more sentimental meaning, which left me wondering how it ended up in my glove compartment.

I pulled out a few press parking decals for events I’ve covered over the years and a handful of receipts for who knows what.
There was a baseball cap and a visor stuffed under the passenger seat and several bungee cords to tie something down to the luggage rack on top, although I can’t recall ever doing that.

I hauled all my loot in the house and spread it out on the counter to take stock of all I had. My conclusion was the most valuable thing I had  in my vehicle was probably the plastic tub of pennies.

Email Joel McNeece at joelmcneece@gmail.com & follow him on Twitter @joelmcneece