A One Dollar Bill

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I acquired a one dollar bill the other day.  Well, sort of.

To be anal retentive (precise—however you want to boil it down)) it was three-quarters of a dollar bill.

What the hell happened to it?  I don't know... but now I have it.

No worries, I have some laundry to do; I"ll just use it to purchase some quarters, and there you go: problem solved.

You see, this is a problem.  How does that work?  Is that three quarters of a dollar bill still worth one dollar?  What's the mysteriously missing one quarter worth?  I mean, if you want to get down to brass tacks, neither is worth a damn thing.  A fresh, unused one dollar bill is worth nothing.  It's a fancy piece of cotton and paper that represents currency backed up by gold.  It's the largest mutual make-believe game that we as adults play on a daily basis.  We make believe money is worth something, with each other... and quite frankly, we really go balls deep when it comes to how much we play this game, and how much we believe in it—so much so, that it is no longer a game.  As a continued thought experiment, how many of you would do this with a large pile of money?

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I wouldn't.

We are born and raised into a society in which we play make believe about a lot of things.  Off the top of my head, land property is another I can think of, but we can save that for another day.  Let's just all agree that money is fictitious.  It is used as a representation of rare natural resource, which because it is rare, is henceforth, valuable.

But we all don't know whether we like to pretend about it.  We just do.

We buy things with it.  I mean, here I am with three-quarters of a dollar bill, at a quarter machine at the laundromat, trying to buy 4 quarters with three quarters of dollar bill—and you know what?  The machine is not fooled.  It won't take the three-quarter dollar bill.  It just keeps spitting it back out at me.  I don't blame the machine.  It has one job, and it does it well.

I realize that I am left with few recourse, and that perhaps I must do what was done before, if I were to continue the journey of this three-quarter dollar bill: I must give it to someone else.  Whether it be used as tender in a transaction, or simply giving it to someone else as a gift.  I mean, I could burn it, but that sounds silly for some reason.

So I do.  I move its journey forward throughout the world.  I am no longer concerned with the ramifications mentioned previously, or all the over-thinking I just did moments ago (as much fun as that is for me—deeply and truly).  Instead, my curiosity lingers on where it will end up next, and where it has been.  All the people it has touched.  How it came to be as it is.  Where it will go.  How it will be used.  Sure, it's not a complete one dollar bill.  Maybe it's the perfect representation of me, or you: a human being.

Incomplete.

Worth something.

Just moving our way through the world the best we can.

Touching as many people as we can.

Trying to be helpful.

Until we are of no further use.

Perhaps we are all three-quarters of a dollar bill.

And our worth?  It's left to our own imagination.


- Mike