Do you remember the movie “High Noon,” the western in which Gary Cooper stands tall in the middle of town as he single-handedly takes on the Miller gang? In movies, as in life, there comes a time when a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Sixty-three years later, the U.S., the greatest country in the world, is beset by a scourge much greater than the Miller gang. A scourge that if not stopped now will undermine the very fabric of our society. Of course, I’m talking about the penny. That’s right. The shifty, merciless, take no prisoners penny.

I’ve had it with pennies. How about you? Are you just as perplexed as I am that we’re still dealing with this nuisance in our daily lives?

Picture this: You’re in a store, having just made a purchase. The total with tax is $8.97. Exactly how happy are you to get those three pennies back? Let’s be honest here. Don’t you secretly wish that the bill came to $8.95 or an even $9?

So, now you’ve got these three pennies in your palm. What do you do with them? Place them in the penny tray on the counter? Quarantine them in your other pocket until you get home and place them in what was once your penny jar — but is now your penny lobster pot? Or do you say, “keep the change”?

Pennies have been the subject of many a wise saying. For instance, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” OK, let’s put that one to the test. Here’s another survey question: You’re walking down the street, when you spy a penny on the ground. Do you pick it up and jump for joy at your incredible fortune, walk right past it, or look for nearby quarters?

I’ll grant you, there was a time when pennies served a vital function in our society. Many of us can still remember penny candy, penny gumball machines and those scales that told your weight and fortune for just a penny.

But this is 2015. You’d be hard pressed to find nickel candy, or even dime candy for that matter. Those gumball machines are now a quarter. And, from the “what ever happened to” department, has anyone even seen a penny scale in the last 20 years?

To quote Albert Finney in “Network,” “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore.” Are you with me on this one? Are you willing to write letters? Sign petitions? Call your legislators? March on Washington and picket the U.S. Treasury?

It won’t be easy. Change is never easy, especially when you’re dealing with a stodgy, lumbering institution like the penny. We’ll need to be creative and resolute.

So here’s my plan: For a one-year period, all pennies will be exchanged for silver at local banks, fetching a return of two cents a piece. That’s a 100 percent return on your investment. Try getting that with your mutual funds.

All the returned pennies will then be gathered, loaded onto freight cars and hauled to Yucca Mountain in Nevada to be buried, eventually, with all of our nuclear waste.

At year’s end, all pennies still in circulation will be worthless. All future store purchases will end in a zero or a five. (There will be no complaining, since you already made a killing when you turned in your pennies.)

Think of it. A life bereft of pennies. More time to spend with family and friends. Penny jars that return to fruit canning. Pants that make less noise when you walk. Cleaner sidewalks. The upsides are endless.

As with any bold vision, though, there’s bound to be resistance. To all those naysayers who are too nostalgic or too exacting to part with their precious pennies, I say, “Get out of the new world if you can’t lend a hand. ‘Cause the times they are a change-in.” (Ooh, that was bad!)

“A nickel for your thoughts?” You heard it here first.

Eddie Adelman is a writer who lives in Belfast.