Sep 14, 2012

Musings of $100 Bill - My first night in a cash drawer.

I last told you about the day I was printed and my journey to the first cash drawer I had ever been in. If you missed that, you can catch up here.  

I was the only Benjamin in the drawer.  At first the other bills were quiet. I didn’t realize it then, but they were intimidated by my presence.  You see, since 1969 when the fed did away with the larger currency bills, the $500, $1,000, $5k and $10k bills, I have been at the top of the food chain.  My crisp nature didn’t tip the other bills off.  Most Benjamins stay crisp longer than smaller currency bills.  One’s and Five’s get the most hazing in a drawer when they are hot off the press.  Even 20s and 50s aren’t exempt from it when brand new, but most hundreds come in crisp and stay straight longer.  I had a crease from the start which made me seem more circulated.  

I think that first night in a drawer shaped me more than ever.  The other bills talked about the system, about how all the other hundreds wouldn’t associate with them.  A hundred is rarely even seen associating with a 50.  The Benjamin’s acted like they were a class above and refused to associate with the other bills.  I didn’t have much to say, being new, so I just listened and asked questions.  I heard tales from the other bills about our purpose and existence.  I learned what currency was.  Oh the stories they shared over those three days.

One bill had traveled around the world and shared stories of other coins and bills from other countries.  Another had been washed and reprinted with a higher value by the Mafia.  The roughest $1 bill in the drawer told us about how in the same day he was used as drug money, was traded in for a 29 cent hamburger, stolen by the cashier, and won and lost in a poker game.  He said he ended that same day under a pillow as tooth fairy money.

The next few weeks I got to meet hundreds of crisp Benjamin’s in drawer after drawer and wallet after wallet.  They were stuffy and rude and I committed very early on to living a different life.  I was one of the few big bills that wanted to be around the little guys.

The life of a one dollar bill is shorter, busier and more dramatic.  I can see where the vain attitude can come in when you are a Benjamin.  Folks hold you differently, they treat you with respect.  You don’t just get to know other bills. Y ou get to see people and how they act around you.  You see them at their best and at their worst.  When they have to cough up a $100 bill they grip it a little tighter instead of just letting go.  Emotions are emphasized when folks use a $100.  More fighting and tears and pain seem to move around with big bills.

The humans don’t even think about it, but they hold all of the bills, both big and small, in a sacred way.  There is always a place to put us and usually it’s nice.  A gold plated money clip, a fine leather wallet, a $600 purse.  They constantly check in on you to make sure you are still around, safe and sound.

When people are on the street at night they will guard you with their lives, constantly worried that someone else wants to spend you worse than they do.  I hate it when they take you out of the wallet and cram you into a sock when they travel.  It’s just disgusting.  Money belts, and hidden compartments, and safes, and banks--industries have been created just to keep me in the right spot for the night before spending me in the morning.
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