Cents & Centsibility

The other day I was texting a price to a friend on a must-have item.  This is while I was perusing treasure in the Dollar Store, which I frequently do.  But I am notoriously cheap, and when I find a bargain, I share the joy!  (But not the chocolate caramel pumpkin).

The item in question.
The item in question.

The text needed to say fifty cents, .50, $.50, fitty centz-you get my drift-but I couldn’t find the “cents” key. So I pushed that key that grants access into the world of “secret” keys, the ones with symbols and mysterious mathematical looking figures and characters, but still no cents. (Non-cents, as it were). Okay, I know coins have lost a lot of their caché-(see what I did there?) But seriously? No cents? Zippo, nada, big goose-egg? Makes no sense to me! I still deal in coins. Which is not to say I’m a coin dealer. Or collector really. I do have a clown bank from 1968 chock-full of coins, mostly from my birthday stash. The reason the coins are still in the clown, is because I’m scared of clowns. Yikes! So if I had a clown bank now, or even an ATM with a clown face, imagine how rich I would be!


But seriously folks, I’ve always liked money.  Not loved money-which is the root of all evil-but definitely liked it.  Specifically coins.  Even though they’re grimy and smelly and sticky-I just like them.
Back in the day (groan–here she goes…) My grandma & grandpa used to send me cards where little coins fit in the slots. Very cool. And they could send them through the mail without the coins getting stolen. (Imagine!) And coins actually bought you something.


Of course, I went straight for the candy-nothing really has changed.

Coins are under-rated.  For one thing, loose change is much more fun than cash.  Coins are jangly. What kid doesn’t love to play cash register or slot machine? (at grandpa’s, yup-teach them to gamble early)! No one plays swipe your card, or the new put your “pretend” chip card in the reader and don’t touch it till I tell you- that’s just wrong!  And who could forget the hours of entertainment rolling coins provides? Yawn. (I’ll give you a quarter when you’re through, yeah, right, a whole quarter.)

I had a ladybug coin-purse, which is not the same as a wallet, because it’s just for coins. (Always the trendsetter.)  My dad’s trucker hat was always plopped down with his stash of daily pocket-change at the end of the day. Sometimes under the cover of darkness, there were pirates, and the next day when he went to get his coins out of his hat there weren’t any. But enough about pirates-I can see why they like their treasure chest brimming with coins though.

Groovy, man, groovy.
      Groovy, man, just groovy.

So where is the ¢ sign? I found out in a weird way. Sometimes I voice text, because I can’t see my screen even on font ginormous without readers. So I did a little experiment, and guess what? When I voice text, the cents sign shows up! But it’s not on my tablet keyboard. Weird. So I turned to the experts. No, not Fort Knox, my local banker, or my favorite accountant. Google. Whose name actually sounds like a coin denomination. (Nevermind, I’m thinking of a googol in math. I suck at math but of course I remember that goofy word. It WOULD sound cool to say, “That will be five googles please.”) So what did the experts at Google have to say? Even Google chose to pass the buck. (insert chuckle) Apparently lots of other folks had asked the same question when faced with the same dilemma.

Q & A’s quickly became cerebral. Consensus focused around using the ALT button, (I never knew it stood for alternative, duh,) with a lot of discussion about code, and what is or is not supported by said code. (Yep, way-over my hollow head.) I learned that pressing ALT at the same time as typing 0162 makes cents. Literally. Who knew? And is this something anyone, on any planet would ever know? Which brings me to Unicode. Which I had never heard of before. But in Unicode it’s even more complicated. To make sense out of cents, you type the symbols and numbers: ampersand pound 162 semi-colon and ampersand pound 65504 semi-colon  to end up with: ¢ or respectively. Again, REALLY? We are talking spare change here. Who complicates these things? I found out that some programs have “character maps” or menus with “insert special symbol” options, but those too, are way too complicated when all you want is a simple cent sign.

No worries, the cent sign is not the only character that didn’t get asked to the dance. (But enough about me…) Got a fever? Too bad, no degree symbol either. Also denied: other currency characters, foreign characters, (hmmm…), trademarks, and certain math signs-(oh darn!)
Even typewriters had cents signs, for Pete’s sake, but apparently the switch to keyboards somehow changed things. And so the character for coins somehow became redundant, buried in a frustrating and complicated maze of programming and code tricks. And the best part? The name for all this hullabaloo is “shortcut.” That’s right, jumping through all those hoops is considered a shortcut.
What stumps me is that there are emoticons and emojis willy-nilly. Wouldn’t it be just as easy to add everyday symbols as keys as it is to add smileys, frownies, and moodies?
Well at least I can show my true feelings 😡 that the cent sign is not accessible on my tablet. For what it’s worth, that’s my two cents. 😜

2 cents

There are people who have money and people who are rich.

Coco Chanel