Tag Archives: bills

New hundreds

They just updated the hundred-dollar bill. It’s got this holographic strip on the front, Ben Franklin’s profile is a little bigger, and on the back there is a giant 100 printed at the end. I hadn’t heard that the hundred was getting a makeover, but I never hear about these things. When new currency is rolled out, it’s like it’s done all at once, there’s never any forewarning.

new hundred

One day it’s old hundreds, and the next day I’m at work and someone pays in cash, and I see the new hundred, I immediately recognize it as something different, but I don’t question it, I’m not like calling out to my boss, “Hey boss, is this a new hundred? Is this a real thing?” no, he’d be like, “Rob, please don’t waste any more of my time than you have to, OK?”

I just think it’s crazy because, what’s stopping someone else from making their own new hundreds? You know, besides federal laws and stuff. I’m just saying, if you’re going to make counterfeit bills, wouldn’t it make more sense to make up an entirely new design and then hope that people like me simply won’t question anything?

And then the next day, I see more new hundreds, every time one of my coworkers gets a new bill, they’re like, “Oh my God, a new hundred. Did you see this?” and in my head I’m thinking, do you really have to announce that? Who are you talking to? But then I remember my reaction the first time I saw one, I think it was identical, I held it up for whoever happened to be standing next to me and I was like, “Ooh, look at this.”

How much longer is paper currency going to be a thing? Don’t get me wrong, nothing in life feels better than having a gigantic wad of rolled up cash bulging out of your front pocket, but I can’t really foresee where it’s all going to go. I’m talking, each upgrade in bills has featured some cool new technology. When I was a little kid, it was those cotton strips only visible when held up to the light. Then watermarks, gold foil, now holograms.

Why the need to keep changing the money every few years? I’m guessing that it’s all an effort to stop counterfeiting. Which, since the US dollar is basically the global currency, it’s got to be like the Holy Grail for every nefarious criminal operation. As sophisticated technology becomes more and more accessible to everyone else, you’ve got to think that eventually the Treasury is going to throw its hand up in the air and admit defeat.

And what are they changing, really? It’s all minor, cosmetic details. I say, if you’re going to change the money, we should like really change it, get all of those old Presidents and whatever Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton were and replace them with some fresh faces. Obviously the Republicans are going to want to put Reagan on everything. They’re still pissed off that FDR got the dime.

But what about maybe some novelty currency? I remember when the second Fantastic Four movie came out, some marketing company got in trouble for making a bunch of quarters with the Silver Surfer on the back. You can check them out on Ebay, I think they regularly fetch pretty high bids. But why does it have to be mostly Founding Fathers? Maybe we could put Bryan Cranston on something, you know, to commemorate the last time that our country was united over anything, in this case, everybody loved Breaking Bad. And then we could put Walt Jr. on the nickel, Hank would definitely make a great limited edition fifty-cent piece.

ff quarter

Nah, let’s just wait, fifty years from now, it’s definitely going to be Obama. Who do you think is going to lose their spot? If I had to guess, I’d say Andrew Jackson. That guy is always looked to as a badass, but more and more, history is showing us that he was super racist and a little too bloodthirsty.

Finally, every time they introduce new money, it always starts its way with the hundred, then trickles down to the fifty, the twenty, the ten, the five, and then nothing. Come on, don’t you think it’s about time we had a new one dollar bill? It’s the odd man out here. You never see old fives or tens anymore, but every single dollar bill looks like it’s out of a time machine. Maybe the cost isn’t worth the trouble, but I say, let’s just do it, let’s make a new one-dollar bill. And let’s put Obama on that one also.

I used to be rich

Growing up is tough. Like when you’re a little kid and you have to beg your parents for everything. “Mom! I want some new action figures! Mom! Take me to the comic book store!” and, I shouldn’t assume everyone had the same childhood as I did, but my parents weren’t the type to drop whatever they were doing to satisfy the demands of their snot-nosed little son. Before I was old enough to get a job, this meant waiting desperately for some sort of a special occasion, Christmas, my birthday, one of those automatic days where I was entitled to presents.

Now I’m an adult, and yeah, I guess if I really wanted to, I could buy whatever I want. You know, within reason. If I don’t have the cash, just put it on the credit card. Theoretically speaking, there’s really not too much that’s off limits. But at what cost? Am I really willing to put myself into unnecessary debt because I want something that badly?

And so I don’t know what’s worse, being a little kid and having no sense of money, or being an adult and knowing all too well the true cost of material desires. I think back though, and there was an exception to this, it was a period in my life right after I got a job but before I had any bills to pay. It only lasted for about two years or so, but man, I was a god amongst men.

I started working at a restaurant when I was fourteen, scooping ice cream and making cappuccinos at a place a few towns over. After an eight-hour shift, the boss would give me sixty bucks, cash. It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but to a freshman in high school with absolutely no responsibilities besides doing homework and working at this restaurant two nights a week, this job meant that I was rich.

Like, really rich. I remember the first time I got paid, I went from having absolutely nothing in my pockets, ever, to having sixty bucks. I might as well have been carrying a grand. The day after my first shift, I rode my bike to the park to play basketball with my friends. Normally, we’d all be lucky if we could pool a dollar and a half together to buy a soda.

But like I said, now I was rich. I took everybody to the pizza place and bought a pie. It was incredible, all of that cash, just burning a hole in my pocket. And that’s how it went for the next two years or so, before I bought a car, before I wound up throwing all of my money into a 1991 red Dodge Stealth.

The car gave me an even greater sense of freedom, but it was just a taste of what lay ahead, bills, insurance, gas, repairs, tickets. I still had money, but now when I went to the comic book store, I couldn’t just buy every new release without consequence. I’d been living the past two years never in want of anything. If I even remotely saw something that I liked, I bought it. But little by little, the adult world sucked away my surplus of money.

After school it was rent, and then cell phone service, and healthcare premiums. Whatever, everybody has to pay bills, so I’m not going to go through all of the things that I currently have to save my money for. But nobody prepares you for how it’s really going to be. I think back to when I was fifteen, when I had stacks of twenties in my underwear drawer, how I couldn’t imagine a time where I’d be even remotely close to having to stick to a budget.

I had no idea how good I had it. Maybe it’s a pattern, always looking back and waxing nostalgic. Maybe ten years from now I’ll look back upon right now as the best time of my life. I don’t know, I just remember going to the mall and buying like twenty new CDs. I think this summer I bought two albums on iTunes. What happened to my priorities?