Saturday, June 20, 2009

All About George (June 28, 2006)

A few months ago, my best friend, Kim, brought me a dollar bill. It was just a standard bill, a little rumpled, but pretty typical. Except that it had a stamp on it. Several stamps, really, though they all said pretty much the same thing:

Track this bill at

Well, how intriguing is that?

So, anyway, she hauls this dollar bill around for a while, saving it for the next time she comes to see me. And, of course, as soon as she gives it to me, I have to know what it’s all about.

Turns out there’s a website where you can enter in the serial numbers of all your money, and if someone else has entered it before, you can see where it’s been. And, of course, if someone enters it after you, then you can see where it goes. Now, how cool is that?

Of course, I had to put all my bills into it right away. And I wrote the website on some of them, hoping that as I sent them back out into the world, someone else would be intrigued, too. (Don’t worry; I checked the Treasury regulations about defacing bills, and it turns out the bad stuff is pretty much all about the intent to make a bill useless, so I think I’m in the clear.)

Well, anyway, it was a little bit discouraging. None of my other bills had any “history”; I was the first person to enter them into the database. And, on top of that, this new hobby really made me realize how much of a cashless society we’ve become; I found myself trying to remember to spend actual money. But, still, I really find this whole idea very, very cool.

And, I should digress for just a moment and say that it’s pretty indicative of why Kim and I are friends that she knew I’d think it was cool. Everyone else has just thought it was kind of goofy.

So, why am I telling you this now? Because I just got an email from the site telling me that one of my bills was just re-entered. Yippee! It didn’t go all that far—just to our neighbor state of Texas—but I still think it’s pretty neat. Now I’m connected, however peripherally, to a complete stranger. Very cool, indeed.