I was twenty minutes late for work today.

The minimum wage in 1938 was 25c, a number inconceivable now. I was considering it yesterday as I finally walked up to the shop for groceries. The street is lined with windows and nowhere on any of the numbered price tags could there be a number less than five dollars. Industrialization has created a world with such mythical numbers, you read of billions of dollars being dropped on a project. How is it that exists? Digital editors are sitting in darkened rooms with sickly green text scrolling past. Math as myth. Arithmetic the new alchemy? When pennies can add up into a heavier weight than an office building, I wonder. Pennies are the small change that isn’t worth picking up from the sidewalk. It’s a copper gleam embedded in every intersection. Even in Hollywood, where there’s glitter in the very pavement, I could see them there, pressed in by countless daily tires. I remember children being impressed by the colour, the metal the colour of fallen leaves. I had a penny collection, I started my bank account with one. One Hundred and Eight Dollars, counted out cent by cent into little brown paper rolls printed in blue with FIFTY CENTS. Sadly, the attraction has darkened to a commodity wholesale, every celebrity a symmetrical face, a stamped out piece of Too Little To Count, in spite of the newspaper obsession. I still pick up pennies, and I look at the Queen, thinking of wishes and luck, and I question, “How could anyone count out a million in these?”.

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