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Page 167

What if we had currency (say, the three-dollar bill)
with a blank oval where the face (Washington, Lincoln,
Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin...but not Bill, no, no Bill
on our bill) -- where the face should be. Or blank,
but for the words "Your face here -- attach photo" --
each man able to pay with his personal bank (or blank) note?
They personalize credit cards. Why not customizable dollars --
or to tame money, replace the face with reflective
material (we should all reflect on our good fortunes),
so that we can see ourselves in our money.

Why not a little legal tenderness for oneself? Of course,
A wife is legally tender, even legally tinder
where the laws of suttee apply. This quibbling or my loving
makes my wife sore -- that is, tender. Tenderness gives
to the touch (touching), gives more than it owns.
That green piece of paper (no connection
to Green Peace) is legal to give, offer in exchange for.

Money is scary stuff. It teaches that not all tenderness
is legal. Beware of the love. You can get crucified (the X
in exchange) for illegal tenderness. (Emperor Gods and their
ambitious godlings are jealous of those who are too much
loved. He who loves too much must be angling or angeling
for love. He must want to be King. Listen
to the whispering of the high priests. All agree,
this man is dangerous to the common good.)

In olden times, money might be a cow. I like the idea
of using meat for money, so that when the fat man says
to his wife, "I'm not made of money, you know," she can
cock a shiny eye and say, "You could have fooled me!"

Funny how beings become bodies and bodies become
faces with ruffled or high-collared necks and just a hint
of shoulders; then faces become ideas: The Minnesota
Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI -- Yay!
Minnesota! Have I mentioned I was born there?) --
the MMPI asks if you prefer Washington to Lincoln
(the presidents, not the cities), and its oracles proclaim
that juvenile delinquents prefer Washington. Is it
something about powdered wigs? Wooden teeth?
Warrior? Ruler? (Reluctantly both, but sucking it up
and seeing it through.) Wealth? Clean shaven?

No, probably a matter of simple chronology: There was a book
of American History. Washington came early (first in war,
first in peace -- he da man!), then came many words
not understood: treaty, Constitution, inauguration, term,
federalism, fobblede flippery fuck history! History sucks!
The delinquents are the ones who never made it
to Lincoln, never made it to John Adams. They're the ones
whose votes are so eagerly pursued by both parties
two centuries of blankness later.

Note: From the blankness of Kerry and Bush to the blankness of money. Suttee is the Hindu custom whereby a live widow used to throw herself on the funeral pyre of her dead husband and burn up with him, thus becoming legal tinder.

I say that "this quibbling or my loving makes my wife sore"; be ye consoled, reader, to know that my wife, though she says she married me for my sense of humor, can get irritated by my long strings of allegedly humorous word play.

In stanza 4, the wife can "cock a shiny eye" – that's a perhaps arbitrary echo of a childhood rhyme, something about "Birdy with a yellow bill/ Hopped upon my window sill,/ Cocked a shiny eye and said:/..." – probably "Rise and shine, you sleepy head!". (A less sarcastic wife might prefer to eye a shiny cock.)

In case the last stanza is confusing, the idea is that the reason preferring Washington to Lincoln is, allegedly, an indicator of a juvenile delinquent might be because the delinquents are often kids who never achieve literacy, so soon after they get started on a subject, decide it sucks and give up on it. Since Washington gets praised early in their American History textbooks, they might have gotten that far, but seldom far enough to appreciate the textbook views of Lincoln.

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