Tag Archives: us currency

Lame Adventure 396: The Boomeranging Jackass Dollar

World-class hothead Alec Baldwin may have won his case against his stalker, but meanwhile, The Boomeranging Jackass Dollar has been stalking me.

George Washington's new look.

What’s in my wallet.

I am not sure how it originally landed in my wallet, but I vaguely recall spending it in my go-to grocery store, Fairway. A day or two later I noticed that it was back in my billfold. So, I spent it again: this time at Duane Reade. That cashier gave me a funny look when I deftly added it atop a pile of cash while purchasing a bottle of 150 Tums, the large economy size commonly referred to in my hovel as a three-day supply. A few days later, that bespectacled buck had somehow bounced back into my wallet again prompting me to wonder:

Me: Did I check my sanity at the door?

I consciously made sure to spend it once more at Fairway, the likely source of where I got it in the first place. About a week later, I was organizing the cash in my wallet from large bills — that’s an oblique reference to a lone five — down to singles, when I noticed that it was back in my wallet. I realized that this single had appeared in my billfold no less than three times in the span of two weeks. Possibly, it’s been nesting there every day since March, but I only roused from my stupor and began noticing it in November.

Like a stray cat that continually appears on a doorstep, this one particular bill is a barnacle to my wallet. Why is that? Why is this dollar stalking me? Is this a common occurrence that’s usually invisible because most cash I carry lacks an honored statesman buried under scribble? Is this dollar sending me a message? Some might say my worldview leans in the direction of skeptical but after deep reflection lasting the length of a sneeze, I concluded that nothing meaningful is happening here. This trinity of occurrences is just odd coincidence. Nothing creepy is going on; my wallet is not making sinister threats, nor do I wake in the middle of the night to find this dollar lying on the pillow next to me.

Last week I decided that I would unload it at my laundromat. As I was pouring my detergent, I had an epiphany. Is it possible that whoever defaced this dollar defaced several others and these dollars are floating all over the Upper West Side? I may not be getting the same dollar over and over again, but possibly it’s one in a series.

I concluded that I have been wasting far too much of what’s left of my mind dwelling on this dollar taking semi-permanent residency in my wallet for half a month. I approached the clerk to exchange it for four quarters. Just as I was about to do this transaction, the Voice In My Head suddenly screamed:

Voice In My Head: Banksy!

That grabbed my full attention. The elusive UK-based street artist spent the entire month of October in New York City setting up a different installation every day of the month throughout the five boroughs. One day, he had a stand on Central Park West where people could have purchased his drawings to the tune of $60 a pop. His art has sold for six figures. Very few pedestrians walking past that stand noticed. Only ten drawings were sold and easily one million bargain lusting New Yorkers were left banging their heads against the wall as they whined about this missed opportunity to win the art lottery.


No way would I disregard my close encounter with this art world renegade. This dollar could provide the windfall of my dreams, or the cost of a can of gourmet tuna. Excited, I did an Internet search and discovered zilch about Banksy defacing any currency on his visit. Furthermore, after I wiped the delusion out of my eyes, I admitted that this is not his style in the least. Forced to accept brutal reality, I admit defeat. This defaced currency is the handiwork of a bored twit with a ballpoint pen. Someone oblivious to this factoid:

Don't mess with George!

Redundant phrasing urging don’t get caught messing with George.

For the time being it sits on my writing table. When I next visit my family in California, I will take it with me and spend it there. If months later it finds its way back to me like a lost spaniel that has journeyed thousands of miles to reunite with its owner, then I pledge that I will frame The Boomeranging Jackass Dollar. If I forget this oath, figure I’ll probably unload it on zucchini at Fairway.