Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Weekly MUSE: 2 Dollar Bills

The 2 dollar bill I found!

A few weeks ago, I visited St. Monica Catholic School in Indianapolis. I had a great time helping lots of children find their creative writing MUSE.

When I do school visits, I always send a book order form ahead of time. This way, parents can purchase signed copies of my books for their sons and daughters.

While opening payment envelopes, I encounter lots of 10 dollar, 5 dollar, and 1 dollar bills. I sometimes open envelops full of quarters, nickels, and dimes, too. But I have NEVER received the mysterious, elusive, often called a “phony” 2 dollar bill. Until now!

When I first saw it, I thought, “Is this real?”

I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve held a 2 dollar bill. And when this one mysteriously showed itself, it felt magical to hold it in my hands.

I still have not spent it! And I don’t think I want to. EVER! (Wink)

Maybe that’s why we hardly ever see 2 dollar bills. When one is caught, it’s rarely released. You think???
I don’t know, but I do know that we’ve found our MUSE!

$2 bills!

Apparently there are still 1.1 BILLION dollars in 2 dollar bills in circulation. (Or stuck inside greeting cards, billfolds, or old desk drawers.)

Here are some other fun facts about the 2 dollar bill:

The original 2 dollar bill, printed in 1862, featured Alexander Hamilton’s portrait. (Alexander Hamilton was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. He is now featured on the 10 dollar bill.)

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804)

In 1869, the portrait of Thomas Jefferson took the place of Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson has remained on the 2 dollar bill ever since.

EXCEPT…. for the 10 years that the 2 dollar bill was retired (1966-1976). The 2 dollar bill was reintroduced for the U.S. bicentennial celebration. At this time the picture on the back was also changed.
On the back of the previous 2 dollar bill, a picture of Monticello was featured. The bicentennial 2 dollar bill features a painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The original Jefferson 2 dollar bill!
The bicentennial 2 dollar bill, still printed today! 

Here’s a crazy fact! Some businesses do not accept 2 dollar bills, and legally, they don’t have.

In fact, people often think they are counterfeit (fake). A man in Baltimore, Maryland was held by police in a Best Buy store, when he paid with 64 two-dollar bills. Secret service was called and had to verify that the money was real.

So, maybe THAT is why people don’t spend their 2 dollar bills. Who wants the police called on them?

Before you get away and write interesting stories FULL of money, I thought you might like to see how money is made. Take a look!

Sorry, I couldn’t find a video featuring 2 dollar bills. I had to settle for the twenty!

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these what if questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character planted two cents and a tree grew that flowered with 2 dollar bills?

WHAT IF your story took place inside the Bureau of Engraving and Printing? Are your characters people? What if they are ants, mice or LEPRECHAUNS!

WHAT IF your main character found an old safe deserted in the woods? When he/she cracked it open, hundreds of Alexander Hamilton 2 dollar bills were inside!

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

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