Aside from inventing freedom and making wooden teeth cool (again), George Washington’s role in shaping our day-to-day lives is beyond measure. But, I fear our nation’s first president’s prevalence and relevance in daily life may be slipping. It’s a matter of George Washington and the future. One of them has conquered the Delaware River, the British, and that innocent little cherry tree. The other is garage door openers, GPS systems and iPhones.
George “Curveball” Washington managed to be such a good leader compared to his predecessor, our country decided to place his image on the $1 bill. Now, the U.S. Dollar represents a benchmark for the Euro, Yen, Lira and numerous other currencies around the world. But as society has advanced and Angry Birds has overtaken Starbucks as the best/worst way to spend four Georges, the dollar bill has failed to keep pace and is now in danger of being made redundant entirely.
George Washington was a wealthy Virginia landowner. He was too busy setting the example by which we measure patriotism to look 200 years into the future. However, since the invention of the electronic bill acceptor, President Washington has been doing a lot of yoga—stretched and creased along the 90-degree edge next to the all-too-picky bill sucker. Suddenly, the tiny imperfection of a crooked corner (representing the imperfections of our more perfect union) and the crumple and dirt of a dollar well-traveled were no longer good enough for technology—no longer good enough for the future. Innovation demands infallibility, inhumanity.
Remember when a bottle of Coca-Cola was just a nickel? Me either. I do remember when they were just a dollar. It was like Ol’ Curveball was saying, “Good job being an American. This Coke is on me.”
Have you bought a soda out of a vending machine lately? Even if you could get President Washington out of Garudasana long enough to follow the arrows to his demise, you need two George Washingtons: a dollar bill and a quarter, for that same classic taste. Now those vending machines have become remorseless machines, devouring green backs and quarters, taking them out of the world financial system in order to leave us with no other choice than a futuristic material, credit cards, to purchase our goods.
The state of our union is strong, Mr. First President. So strong in fact, we leave your pal, Abraham, on the ground despite our lust for better luck. (Oh, you didn’t get a chance to meet him? He’s great. Really great guy. He tells an awesome joke about this guy from Nantucket.)
Out of a job yet, President Washington?
Keep being more difficult than a MasterCard.