Thursday, June 28, 2012

Where's George?

Ages ago, somewhere back in the 90s when I was still living in Seattle, I got a one dollar bill with my change that had "Where's George?" scrawled over it--right across ol' George's mugshot as a matter of fact.  I just thought it was some kind of graffiti, or a joke; I didn't care what was written on the bill as long as the money was still legit.

The next week, I was paying for something and passed the note to a cashier.  Right away he noticed the "Where's George?"--frankly hard to miss as it was in a bright purple felt pen--and got all excited, asking me weird questions, like had I registered the serial numbers, where had the bill come from, how long had it been traveling...stuff that made no sense to me at all.

Eventually, I got the details, took the bill back from him, then dashed home to look up the Where's George? website on the computer.  I was able to trace the bill, from its beginnings on the site, for thousands of miles across many states.  It was really cool.  After registering, I sent that dollar on its way, and trailed it all over the country for the longest time.

I haven't seen another Where's George? bill since, though for more than half that time I wasn't living in America, which would obviously make a difference.

So.  Mother's Day weekend, this year.  Mom, my sister and I have gone out to lunch.  We get back to my house later, and as I'm organizing stuff in my wallet, I discover that somewhere along the line, I have miraculously gotten a bill that has "Where's George?" written on both sides in block letters.  I shriek, then wave the bill around with excitement as I explain to them what this means.

I quickly go to the website and look up the bill, hoping for a long catalog of states and adventures.  Unfortunately, it wasn't too thrilling:  it had just come 90 miles, from a town north of where I live.  Buggers.  I wanted a well-travelled dollar, one that had criss-crossed the country, been in many pockets, wallets, hands. 

In the end though, it was pretty cool that the site was still active and I could register the next leg of the bill's journey.   Then I had to figure out the right spot to pass it on.  My town is small, but it's at a busy crossroads where one can follow the four directions.  I decide on the Visitor's Center, a bustling place that helps folks find their way along those four paths.  I buy a postcard, pay with my Where's George? dollar bill and smile as I leave, wondering where it will end up.

This morning, after walking the boys, I had a few stops to make, the last one being the drive-thru coffee kiosk where I got my usual, stuffed the change in my purse and came home.  I'm sorting out my wallet and stop in amazement.

Who would believe this?  I'm astounded.  What are the odds that after 20 years, I would find two Where's George? bills in as many months?  I drop everything and get on the website to register and see where the bill has come from, and hooray!!  Though I'm only the second person, at least it came from somewhere farther away than just up the road.  It's from Fairbanks, Alaska.  (How apropos, considering Alaska is the origin of my species.)

I think it will help that it's Summer, with lots of folks traveling, so my task now is to figure out the best place for maximum exposure to get this dollar back on the road. A gas station? The Visitors Center again? One of the fast food joints beside the freeway?

I'll give it some thought, hopefully pick the right place, and with luck the right person will sort through their wallet, or pockets, and recognize what a Where's George? dollar bill means...


  1. :-) I've registered a couple of "Where's George" bills in my day. You're right, it's interesting to see how money travels (before I only knew that it left my wallet...)


    1. This last one, from Alaska, had been registered in September 2011. Either that person really knew how to hang on to a buck, or whoever the bill got passed to didn't follow through. It was weird--and cool--to get two in such a short time.

      BTW, the Liza Bean story was hilarious, though I really think the Fuzzster needs to be taken At least a peg or two.