So there I was, second in line at the supermarket checkout. The cashier was about to make change for the guy ahead of me, but rather than having the girl break a dollar bill, the guy says: “I’ve got two cents.” With a bit of a twinkle in his voice and peering directly at her, he said: “[Do] you want my two cents?” She didn’t get the reference so I responded for her with an emphatic “NO!”
We both (the guy and I) busted out laughing and he said: “I’m just trying to make change and all of a sudden it’s political!”
This begs the question: from whence did this idiom originate? Some associate it with the biblical story of the widow’s mites; two coins of little value, donated to the temple treasury. A poor woman giving her all; as opposed to the rich giving but some, and then only for show.
How that evolved into an unsolicited opinion of dubious worth is anybody’s guess. Today we bear witness to the universal tendency to opine on any subject (give your two cents) regardless of our level of expertise. When the news of the day hits the internet everybody chimes in with their two cents worth – whether it’s worth anything or not.
I personally prefer an expression I picked up in the good ol’ US Army:
“Opinions are like assholes – everybody’s got one.”
And that’s just my two cents.