I heard a news story the other day that they were about to replace the Lincoln Memorial pennies with something new. (Hey, wait a minute, didn’t they just do that?) I remember clearly Kenny in my first grade class bringing in a roll of the new pennies and passing them out to everyone in class. Kenny’s father owned the Flying “A” gas station with the red Pegasus logo at the new shopping center near the railroad tracks and he was the first in town to get the new currency.
That was the gas station where I did my first fill-up and waited in line during gas rationing in the 1970s. And that was the station where my father and younger sister adopted a scrawny yellow Labrador mix that we eventually called Teeny. My dad grumbled about the new dog but eventually ended up bragging about the dog’s nose and retrieving ability. Many of my friends had part-time work at that station and it was a big part of our community.
The nearby train tracks led to the big city. I remember riding the double-decker train cars on our annual shopping pilgrimages to the City of Paris in December. I think I even have a dog-eared photo of me on Santa’s lap at a time before personal computers, polyesters, and ATMs.
OK, I know the anchor of this tale happened 50 years ago, but I have a point.
Part of my point is that Flying “A” was gobbled up by Mobil and then eaten again in the Exxon-Mobil merger—no room in that mix for community, dogs, or part-time employment for neighborhood kids. Gone also are the City of Paris and the railroad tracks where trains sailed freely into the City. They were torn up to put in an expressway that is constantly bumper-to-bumper. This latter action was a monumental piece of poor judgment.
I and others lost much when we allowed all of this happen. So the rest of my point is that maybe instead of charging forward with a new penny or merger or project that we do a better job of considering all the consequences. We are at a point where the Planet, our economy, and social fabric can no longer absorb our whimsical and ill-formulated decisions. We have also finally reached a point where we understand that all growth is not always best, bigger is not always better, and ignorance does not always lead to bliss. Perhaps the economic turmoil, global warming, peak oil, and loss of community are forcing us to grow up and be responsible. Perhaps in our maturity we will now have the fortitude and moral compass that will allow us to keep the good pennies we need and abandon the bad pennies regardless of how shiny they may be. We can only hope.
Just some musings….Bob