The other day, I got an e-mail from a friend who claimed to have had difficulty cashing a two dollar bill. Now I don't know if this was a genuine experience, or an urban legend passed on to my friend by someone else, but after witnessing several teenaged fast-food clerks try to make change when the computers were down, the tale didn't seem all that far-fetched. See, the two-dollar bill never really did catch on, but it is still in circulation. My son, in fact, collects them, and gets them from my parents several times a year for a variety of celebratory occasions.<br />
So what happened to the two-dollar bill? What made it the Shemp Howard of currency? I could have said the Rodney Dangerfield, but that honor I reserve for the Susan B. Anthony dollar. According to Wikipedia, the bill was in circulation from the 1800s until 1966. Then, it was re-introduced ten years later as part of our Bicentennial celebration. And yes, today, the bill is still legal tender, and is still being printed, albeit in fewer amounts than it's more widely used compatriots.<br />
Its scarcity has led to it being used to great effect to make economic statements over the years. In 1989, Geneva Steel paid its employee bonuses in cash --- and in $2 bills. When the bills started circulating everywhere in Utah County, it demonstrated the importance of that company to the local economy. Shops and individuals who support the second amendment are encouraged to circulate the currency to make a statement on the right to bear arms, particularly in stores that allow open or concealed carry on their premises. And since 1977, Clemson University football fans have been encouraged to use two dollar bills to buy concessions and souvenirs during away games. <br />
Did you know that most cash registers have a slot reserved for two-dollar bills? Perhaps you work with one. Fact is, that slot you use for rolled coins and personal checks was originally to field the two dollar bill.<br />
Personally, I'm a big fan of the bill. I think Thomas Jefferson was a terrific patriot, and he adorns the front. And the signing of the Declaration of Independence is immortalized on the back, a true symbol of freedom. I might just pick up a dozen or so with my next paycheck, just to see how much fun I have trying to spend them. I think I'll start at McDonald's.