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Thursday, March 22, 2018

My Brother vs The Antipennyite

My Brother vs The Antipennyite

That retired teacher from Missouri, Val the Dictorian@, is a collector of pennies.  She often complains of antipennyites who do not appreciate the value of a penny. 

It reminds me of a story of my brother, an event I am quite sure he thought nothing of and will not remember.

My older brother was a lawyer and was quite successful.  He was later a Clinton appointee Federal Judge.  He retired a few years ago.

Besides being incredibly smart, (he graduated from Harvard Law) and hardworking, my brother is probably the most honest person I have ever known.  He is very competitive but would never think of gaining an advantage by cheating. 

The law came natural to him as the law is the only way to fairly settle disputes.  Without our legal system there would be chaos, and without honest people in that system there would be anarchy.


A few years ago, I was visiting and we stopped for a few items at a pharmacy, probably ibuprofen and some gum, before playing golf.  My brother paid with a fiver and when he got his change back calculated he was short one penny.  He told the cashier that he was short a penny, and the mathematical calculations were discussed.

Behind us was a lady who was clearly in a hurry.  She was exasperated over my brothers taking time to resolve the penny deficiency.

“Oh, for crying out loud, what is the difference?  It is only a penny.”

Now my brother, who I know for certainty would have also argued to return the penny had it been incorrectly dispersed to him, responded calmly in a manner which I feel defines his judicial personality and his honesty.

He turned and said calmly but firmly,

“The difference is, it is my penny.”

Of many experiences with my brother, of the things he has taught me, and the things he has accomplished that makes me admire him, this simple comment that made me laugh, somehow defines his value system and reverence to the law.

Whenever I hear someone complain about something they may think is inconsequential, I think,

“The difference is, it is my penny.”


  1. Too bad he didn't carry around a little hand-carved civilian gavel after retirement, so he could have tapped it on the counter, looked at that buttinsky antipennyite, and declared, "Order in the pharmacy!" THEN he could have dispensed that wisdom. But perhaps your brother is more accepting of antipennyites than I.

  2. That's a great response and I am totally saying it from now on. I wait for my pennies too and I pick them up when I find them. Also, I have a nice little collection of wheat pennies. They're my favorite. :)

  3. Your brother sounds like a lawyer I'd be willing to put trust in, should I ever need a lawyer. pity he's retired. Did he teach his younger staff the same?

  4. If that impatient woman was hard up she would know the value of a single penny. I like the sound of your brother... love it when people have the upper hand.

  5. Brilliant! I think that phrase could be used in many situations.

  6. So much truth in that. Some people don't want to be concerned about other people's property.

  7. . . . the law is the only way to fairly settle disputes.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. . . Oh, stop it, you're killing me. . . . HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. . . Whew. . . OK, better now. . .

    But I do have a couple of Indian-heads in my favorite penny-loafers. . .

  8. The law is often a chess game and the most talented player wins. Doesn't have to be fair. That's been my experience.

    I like your brother. Honesty is a great attribute.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

    1. I suppose in a perfect world an unfair legal system would be against the law.

  9. That’s a brother worth keeping!

  10. Perhaps the lady behind him should have handed him a nickel to go away, if she was in that much of a hurry. It would have been worth the four cents to her.

  11. It’s different when it’s your penny. I love this story.

  12. Honest, fair and quick of wit. If he wants to run for higher office, he has my vote.

  13. “The difference is, it is my penny.” <-- What a great line! I am looking forward to using it myself.


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