Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Change" You Can Believe In?

A cashier handed me this twenty yesterday after I bought groceries for my mother-in-law.

Obviously, the handwritten message brings up all sorts of questions. Where did it come from? Who wrote it? And why? Is someone trying to tell me something? And doesn't it look like a man's handwriting?

I've always been intrigued by the things people write on money. For a while, my oldest son collected dollar bills on which someone had stamped one of those cartoon dialogue bubbles with "I grew hemp" just above George Washington's head.

There's also a website where a person can track exactly where their money has traveled, as long as it is encoded with the link, and the serial number has been registered, and other people have actually submitted notes on its progress.

What's the most interesting thing you've ever seen on money?


Punch said...

I have a collection of currency that has been written upon. Most of the writings have to do with sex, drugs or rock and roll.

The 'where's George' was fun till shit for brains got elected. Talk a buzz killer. Who cares where he is as long as it is not in the white house.

The most interesting was two guy writing about the best line they ever did. Damn guys signed the bill. (not Franklin)

Oh by the way, we are all mad. And why did you think it might be a man? chuckle.

Dorrie said...

Punch... have you ever noticed that men "PRINT" instead of "WRITE"? That's what I have noticed, anyway.

Right MM?

jadedj said...

Well, I definitely misread that...I thought it said, "you are all MAN." Which of course changes the whole meaning, and my intended comment on that is null.

MauritaMason said...

No, no! It very clearly says "You are all MAN." Believe me. I can decipher the writing of doctors, attorneys, and aircraft mechanics.

And Dorrie is right. A woman would have written it in cursive, along with a heart or a smiley face.

Simon said...

I thought exactly the same as jadedj – that, on first viewing at least, it said ‘YOU ARE ALL MAN’. There’s probably some deep-seated insecurity that we share.

Defacing banknotes is actually an offence in the UK, though, contrary to popular belief, it’s nothing to do with the insulting the monarch (whose image appears on all currency); apparently the law was introduced to stop smartarses from putting adverts on them. Here it is:

Currency and Banknotes Act 1928 (c.13)
12 Penalty for defacing bank notes.
If any person prints or stamps, or by any like means impresses, on any bank note any words, letters or figures, he shall, in respect of each offence, be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.
I have no idea what ‘level 1’ means – probably beheading, or having your fulnes severed from the gimbals windwise.

I’m sorry to say the only writing I remember seeing on paper currency is numbers obviously jotted on to help keep count. I can only guess that I’m not the only one who’s concerned what ‘level 1’ means.

But I like the idea, and that message is intriguing, though what caught my eye more was that it was in quotation marks. Why? And are you sure you didn’t write it on yourself during one of your blackouts? (And please don’t say ‘I don’t remember having any blackouts.’)

jadedj said...

All right. So, you got this at a grocery store. The cashier got it from a male customer who was having a football party. He bought out all of the Schlitz Beer, and...and, the Manwich sauce with which his wife can make Sloppy Joes...while he and the guys booze it up and watch other guys slap each other on the butts. His wife gave him the $20 before he went to the store.

MauritaMason said...

You're all making me crazy! It says MAN! MAN! That is clearly an N at the end.

Please...someone...Marchelle? You work for Dan. Please tell me that's an N.

I think I'm about to have another blackout.

Simon: the writer used "quotation marks" because "Americans" are fond of "using" quotation marks "all the time." Presumably for emphasis, or because they don't want to be bothered with the HTML code for italics.

Thanks for the British legal lesson. I was curious, so I researched the punishments for Federal offenses, and found that our levels go all the way up to 37. I won't even post the language here, because no one could possibly make sense of it.

MauritaMason said...

jadedj, that's more like it. I can accept that scenario. Or perhaps Simon handed it to Steve just before Simon hopped on the plane back to England.

jadedj said...

I said man, I said man...and for Simon, I said "man". Didn't I?

jadedj said...

OK, the mail is not keeping up with the posts...not I'm getting crazy "crazy".

wildstorm said...

Way back when in the day of pizza delivery I got a tip--a bill with directions to the Holiday Motor Lodge in Montclair CA.

There's a website called or something like that. I think there are some bills that are displayed there with some kind of message.

Simon said...

1) I’m afraid I took so long researching that comment I posted it while you were writing your comment.

I’m still not entirely convinced though: it’s like one of those ‘is it two faces or a vase?’ visual tests; it flips from one to the other. No doubt Freud would have an unconvincing but amusingly sexual explanation for this.

2) I had been going to mention Steve, but then thought I’d give it a break, as all these gay allusions have been making it very hard for him lately.

3) Your explanation for the double quotation marks is clearly correct.

4) I’ve found that ‘level 1’ is a fine of up to £200, which is slightly disappointing. In the days when the value of coin-metal made it worthwhile, ‘clipping’ (slicing metal from the edges of coins to melt it down) was a capital offence.

Incidentally, British pennies and tuppenny bits (we no longer have farthings, thrupences, tanners, bobs, florins, or half-crowns, sadly; a great loss to the English language) are now made of steel with the cupro-nickel plated onto them, as the value of the metal would otherwise exceed the face value of the coin itself. Apparently in the US, the value of low-denomination coins does exceed the face value, so you should perhaps consider getting a furnace.


It resembles the notes that Steve keeps sending me - he always writes a 'sweet' little message. Quite the poet no?

Donna said...

Hahaa...How funny...we have one called "Wheres George"...I agree with Punch though! Who cares anymore...They're Blowing our money! Happy night sweetie!hughugs

Linda S. Socha said...

I saw a dollar bill with a fortune cookie type statement on it which I kept for a bit. It said simply ....

Search for happiness in the right places....
Not a bad idea....just sometimes difficult to know for sure where those places are!

MauritaMason said...

jaded - are you sure you aren't "mad" instead?

wildstorm - for some reason, your story about the motel directions makes me think of the movie Psycho.

Simon - hmm. There could be an interesting opportunity there. I could start a multi-level marketing scheme to show other people how to melt down their coins.

Lerm, Steve is a "man" of many talents!

Donna, indeed. Money used to go a lot further than it does now.

Linda, good words to live by. I'm guessing that bars, pool halls, strip clubs and the like would be the wrong places.

jadedj said...


MauritaMason said...

haha, best comeback of the week!! Let me just say this:


Halcyon Grace said...

I'm going to start writing obscure things in quotations on dollar bills - just to make people wonder.

Marie said...

I used to cashier at a gas station. Some times I would put a bill at the bottom stack in my til bc it had something so strange on it and I didn't want to give it to a little old lady. I don't remember exactly what now. There are a lot of bearded Washingtons with horns and the like. No great philosophical views though.

KingOfPain said...

A few years ago, I was resigning from an R&B band that I had been with for a year or so.
The old frontman gave me a 2 dollar bill as a parting gift and explained that it had tipped to him years before when he was a cab driver in Galveston, Tx. He kept it because of the message it had written on it... I think it was a sentimental message to a granddaughter or something like that. He said it was the only special thing he had.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool and still have it... and now I need to go and find it.

taxitalk said...

Drugs? Coke lace with chemicals has a distinct smell. Stays on the bills. Blood too. I have a twenty right now I got from a client slightly stamped with some red.

Toria said...

I found a dollar bill once, laying on the pavement, It had the words, 'Run from Love' on top of it...That was pretty strange. I spent all afternoon wondering what it'd meant...and ti it were me who was meant to find it.