One Thing Covid-19 Can’t Take Away

Penny Wisdom

By Emeka Uzoatu


     You there? Today I come with differential tidings. One borne out of a slip that is either Freudian, Machiavelian or both.

     Anyways, I remain the penny and I’m back once more. More like the bad of the species, often flung into a corner; than the good, that’s well and truly spent before its eyes can bless the sun and, or vice versa. 

     Of course, for fans of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns there’s no classification known as ugly in our clan. A coin is either good or bad; never beautiful or ugly. In fact, if the devil must be shamed, we are all born with the most unprepossessing of traits right off the smithy.

     Which is actually the most minuscule of my hassles presently. What with the rest of my siblings being half me in size but much more than me in worth – from the three- and sixpences, to the glorious guinea. 

    Yet I can never be swept aside in the gathering of all the currencies of the world. At least not as long as I officially became legal tender long before even the now-proudly pound. Way back the days there were no paper currencies.

     Well, to cut the tale short, I guess I ought to have that first salvo of Penny Wisdom by introducing myself.  

     Not unlike the protagonist in Sympathy For The Devil. Save you haven’t heard that extended hit by the classic rock band The Rolling Stones. A more nefarious entity nonetheless, his path remains a towable one in aspects. Yes. Despite the fact that he stood gleefully by as Pilate washed his hands and sealed Jesus’s fate.

     I must of necessity, however, distance myself from his over advertisement for malice. And for all intents and purposes, nothing stops my doing so right now – even with all the requisite trepidation applicable.

Higher fuel prices, more pressure on the pocket.

     Moreover, it should also be known this early that I’m in a class of my own. For unlike the dude Mick Jagger and co cooed about, I’m neither male nor female. Indeed, if any gender can lay claim to me being of their classification, it’ll be that often-purloined, middle-of-the-road loner characterised as neuter.

     Any wonder then the need for this refresher course on my worth and person. After all, overlooked, the small pot a-cooking vomits enough water to stymie the fire heating the broth. The same reason a three-foot-short dwarf stoops to pass a door as many as four feet higher up. Talk to me no talks about the reciprocity of respect itself.

     Ok, preambles reordered, I’m still the Penny. Yes, your selfsame pal without whom you cannot count those big numbers you cherish. Though thoroughly the pinkie if the hands were monetary, I’m invariably the thumb you cannot execute a fillip without. 

     Yes, I come cool and complete – a la a cucumber and a circle rolled into one idiotic bundle. Much more than like you’ve always known me sha. With hole and worthlessness to boot, I come emblazoned with the littlest monetary value of any substance. Unless you are in love with the farthing! 

     All protocols observed, the one thing no mortal, currency or COVID-19 can take away from me is wisdom. All the way back to the cradle and, all things being equal, till death do us part.To this day, closer observers in their midst still confess that even at birth I had a silver spoon of intelligence tied to my dreadlocks.

     In fact, so much is my grey-matter heaviness that recently some former naysayers have started linking the imminent end of me to it:

     “Ol’ boy!” one crosseyed one hailed me the other day as yet another shopkeeper fleeced me off him upon a bargain. “This your too-much sense fit kill you o. Na so you go de drop from poor people pocket into richmen dem coffers.”

     So much that it went abroad no sooner that I even had the innate propensity for solving all earthly cash problems. Inclusive, of course, of deciding who go blow next. And this just because nobody as much as raises a snigger when I’m withdrawn from their account. Till the aggregation hits destination and another Yahoo Boy breaks even with the system.

     Well, whatever happens here I still am. No shirking. Like you can still recall from that first salvo, endeavouring to worth more than me can even put an adversary in harm’s way. Like having to shop till midnight along the Marina like the Pound upon a time… 

     All the same, the offering of due respect to me remains the beginning of wealth acquisition. Prithee, who was it that put it on song that it takes the repeated dropping of cocoa -:a pod at a time – to fill a basket? Certainly not The Rolling Stones. Yes, for if you can’t use me well, then you definitely can’t do anything even with a bullion van of pounds. Like win the Edo guber!   

      Poor them that laugh me to scorn for my impecunity in the solitary state. Little do they know that it’s only my presence that will attract the crowd to follow. Then the millions roll in and I’m cast back where I’ve always belonged. At the gap in the shoe rack between the oft and seldom worn sole. 

     But someday the rack will need some dusting. Then there I am again, starring you in the face monocle, generally unamused.

Emeka Uzoatu, a seasoned journalist and writer, is the editor of He writes the occasional column, Penny Wisdom.