On Value: In Conversation With A One Dollar Bill

Welcome to the deep end, kiddos. [~900 words.]

large_bz16bill

Lucy: Who the hell decided what you’re worth, anyway?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Like, how are you even different from a five or a twenty or a Benjamin? Because of what the ink on you says?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: I have ink on me, too, but it doesn’t mean I’m worth more or less than another person.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Wait–now that I think about it, that probably depends on who you ask.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: I mean, don’t get me wrong, tattoos have come a long way in the public perception. There’s a lot to be said for that, but the same is true for the conflation of art and commerce and the elements of cultural appropriation inherent in a phenomenon like that.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: I just mean: middle class suburban white kids obviously didn’t invent the practice of tattooing and yet I think most people take it for granted that it’s natural that they have them now. And how can we justify paying for art that becomes a part of our bodies, especially given the spiritual roots of the practice?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: But listen to me–telling a dollar bill about how Americans will monetize basically anything.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Don’t change the subject like that again.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Anyway, I’m sorry to be so hostile, but you and your buds really do stress me out a lot of the time. What little money I do have goes so quickly, and it feels like less than pocket change next to my debt.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: How am I supposed to believe in something like money when it’s so obviously used to hurt people and maintain a status quo that I can hardly abide? Is that even the point of money–belief?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Because there’s obviously some kind of faith involved. I mean, most of the people I know take it for granted that a piece of paper or a hunk of metal is worth something as long as it’s got the right dead white guy’s face on it. And there’s no real reason for that other than a bunch of words and promises from the people that make this shit.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Oh, I get it. Mum’s the word on believing in money, eh? Can’t rock the boat on that account too much, I guess. Especially now that everything is basically just digits on one side or the other of a decimal point.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: How would I even explain to one of the guys on a piece of money that the bulk of my finances are managed through electricity turned to pixels?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: I will admit you have an uncanny knack for adaptation. But, then again, the realities of inflation kind of make it seem like you don’t.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: So, is that really the bottom of it? Money has value because enough people agree that it does? Have we really advanced so far as to remove any notion of appraisal from the vast majority of our everyday lives?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Would I even know what to pay for a cup of coffee if the barista didn’t tell me?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Because that seems like an alarming level of faith to put in something that doesn’t even give me the comforting promises of a god or the occasional victories of a sports team. I mean, what have you done for me lately other than provide a steady and reliable source of anxiety and stress?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: I’ll admit you have value to me to the extent that you can provide for my survival, but what else could you do for me that’s not obviously materialistic to a degree that makes me want to vom?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Still not talking, eh?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: This silent treatment is bullshit.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Would you say something if I wiped my ass with you?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: You hear that, you smug bastard? I’d turn you into shitpaper if I could afford it!

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Okay, I’m sorry; I’ll calm down. Maybe we can just compromise on reforming you in ways that would reconstitute our society in a fashion that makes it so the ownership of money isn’t a de facto determinant for success?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Because I think that’s my biggest issue. The dollar has become a symbol of America more than the bald eagle or Uncle Sam or seasonal Budweiser cans ever could. And it’s a fucked up symbol to have. It’s an endless pursuit for something that’s designed to be given up. What is this fucked up hamster wheel of a society you’ve created?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Doesn’t it piss you off?! Knowing that you and all your buddies oppress and subjugate so many of the Americans you tried to liberate?

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Alright, well, I guess if you don’t want to talk, I can’t make you. I’m already in way too deep to really take a stand against whatever it is you represent anyway.

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: […]

One Dollar Bill: […]

Lucy: Did you hear they’re thinking about getting rid of the penny?

One Dollar Bill: Say what now?!?!

 

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