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June 17, 2024

The Many Faces of George 03

By Sand Pilarski

Long ago, I worked in the vault room of a large retail store. A secure, windowless room, the vault's daily sameness was driving me nuts. In a feeble bid for some entertainment, I began collecting defaced one-dollar bills.

The portrait of George Washington was made to seem as though his eyes follow you, no matter how you turn the dollar bill. Some people don't like that -- they think he's watching to see if they're doing anything wrong. But others find it somewhat comforting to make eye contact with the great man.

George: "Are you certain that you really want to be taking this bus to Philadelphia?"

Artist: "Dude, I was about to put you in the vending machine! I didn't know that a dollar bill even had a voice!"

George: "I would not even consider stooping so low as to remind you of the phrase, 'Money Talks.' That would be heinous."

Artist: "That's funny, man. Yeah, I have to go to Philly. It's where the future is. I got a friend there who says I can sleep on his floor until I get some money coming in. There's a lot of places I can try to sell some writing or maybe some art work."

George: "You could wait to move until you were sure you had an income. That would be prudent. Philadelphia was a dangerous place even in my day."

Artist: "No kidding? Wow. I'll do all right, George, don't worry."

George: "I worry about all our young people who must make their way in an uncertain world."

Artist: "That's something like what my Uncle Sal said to me yesterday when we went to his place for a goodbye barbecue. He told me he was worried about me, and asked me if I didn't want to stay at home for a couple more years. He said he can't figure out how kids can make it in the world today and keep their souls."

George: "Your uncle is a wise man."

Artist: "You know, you kind of remind me of him, except he has big bushy eyebrows. And a moustache. Wait, I've got a pen, I'll show you!"

George: "I have never been able to abide facial hair, young man."

Artist: "Yeah, I was right! You look just like Uncle Sal. I'm not putting you in a vending machine, no way. You're going to come with me, and remind me like Uncle Sal to keep my soul. Okay?"

George: "The things I tolerate for the sake of the country. Very well, as you say, 'Okay.'"

Article © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2006-06-19
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