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Life Arts

Do You Know Who's in Your Wallet?

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Why is Alexander Hamilton on a $10 bill, while all Thomas Jefferson gets is a lousy $2 bill? Nobody ever sees $2 bills (at least I don't), but I see $10 bills all the time.What's up with that?

Sure, Jefferson gets a nickel too, but a nickel is five lousy cents. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence for Christ's sake. Was that chopped liver? A nickel and a bill that nobody ever sees? It's a travesty!

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Besides, Hamilton wasn't even a President. Yes, he was the first Treasury Secretary (big deal), but he wasn't even born in the United States.The rest of his resume includes having an affair with a married woman and losing a duel to Aaron Burr. So he gets the $10 bill for that?

What about Lincoln? He gets a$5 bill, which he deserves. But a penny? It's an insult! Pennies piss people off and end up in drawers. Panhandlers won't even take them. Congress should probably get rid of them, but when was the last time Congress did something useful? Besides, without pennies, how would greedy retailers keep thinking we're too stupid to know that $5.99 is 6 bucks?

And why is Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill? Sure, he won the Civil War and he was the 18th president, but he was also a drunk, a bore and a ruthless butcher.

Then there's Benjamin Franklin, who somehow got his mug on the $100 bill. Give me a break. He held no elective office. He didn't write any great documents. He just made a kite with a key on the end of it. So what? Using that logic, how come there's no bill with Alexander Graham Bell's face on it? Not too many people fly kites anymore, but everybody uses a cell phone.

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Here's where it really gets ridiculous. The large denomination bills aren't in circulation anymore, but some Treasury Dept. dunderhead made the incomprehensible decision to put William McKinley on a $500 bill, Grover Cleveland on a $1000 bill, and Salmon P. Chase on a $10,000 bill.

Salmon P. Chase? Chase was Lincoln's Treasury Secretary. He was so obnoxious Lincoln put him on the Supreme Court to get him out of his hair. What's with that? And William McKinley? Grover Cleveland? McKinley's claim to fame was getting shot. Cleveland was the onlypresident to serve two nonconsecutive terms and that gets him a $1000 bill. It's unconscionable.

George Washington is the only one who gets a fair deal. The $1 bill and a quarter. You use the $1 bill a lot and the quarter is good for parking meters.

But what happened to Theodore Roosevelt, FDR (whose kisser is relegated to a lousy thin dime), Harry Truman, and IKE? Eisenhower gets a useless silver dollar that you only see in Vegas. He won World War II, folks. Now he's getting plunked into slot machines by elderly ladies and usually losing. Same goes for the John F. Kennedy half dollar.

The Bureau of Printing and Engraving assures me that there are lots of $2 bills in circulation. Where? In Tibet?

To save Jefferson from this monstrous monetary oversight, I'm working on a petition to send toCongress. Anybody want to sign it?

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John Blumenthal has been a professional comedy writer for 25 years. A former associate editor and columnist at Playboy Magazine (following a short stint at Esquire), he's written 8 books and 2 produced movies. His films include "Short Time," (major (more...)

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