Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Kind O’Green.

It’s St. Paddy’s Day and traditionally everyone, Irish or otherwise, wears green.

I don’t look good in green (olive complexion here); don’t own any green clothing; not buying any green clothing any time soon; thank you very much.  So, I took a lesson from all the little lapel cause ribbons everyone is always wearing and designed my own green ribbon out of a good ole greenback, a buck, moolah, money - now that's a Green I can wear.

I wonder at all the nicknames we give our money.  I’m sure some originated or were at least promulgated in the general population by writers of the hard-boiled detective fiction of a certain era.  Then again, as we are a nation of immigrants, we can look at root words. Take ‘fin’ for the five-dollar bill. Fin, also finnif from finf, is Yiddish for five.  A ten-dollar bill is called a sawbuck; a twenty is a double sawbuck. I looked it up, and a sawbuck is a real thing - a sawhorse shaped like an X (Roman numeral 10), so it does make a kind of sense.  The hundred is a C note. I notice when we hit a hundred it’s a note and not a bill – classier appellation or it could be simply that C-bill sounds somewhat odd. 

Money in general has various slang terms.  Say you’re “bringing home the bacon” or “he’s rollin’ in dough”, or “man, that’s a lot of lettuce”, etc., and people always know what you mean. Money has long been associated with abundance of sustenance or the means with which to provide it, hence all the food terms.

I remember in Texas, the old-timers called a quarter 2-bits.  Seems that coins were scarce and taking a hint from the Mexicans who did the same to their Peso, the dollar would be cut into 8 pieces.  Bet most cheerleaders have no idea what they’re referring to in that old cheer (2-bits, 4-bits, 6-bits, a dollar…).

The Legal Tender Act was actually several.  The first signed by Abraham Lincoln to help pay for the Civil War in Feb. 1862 authorized $150 million; the acts of July 1862, and March 1863, provided more money issued totaling $300 million.

The act was challenged, struck down, and reinstated a few times by the supreme court, but eventually it prevailed, and survives along with it’s many aliases to this day.

Money - My Kind O’Green!

It’s March 17, 2010 – Happy St. Paddy’s day:  Also on this day:
1762, The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City
1836, Texas abolishes slavery
1845, the first rubber band was patented by Stephen Perry of London, made from vulcanized rubber. Perry owned the manufacturing company Messers Perry and Co., of London, England.


kayvinson said...

I like your green invention. Happy St. Paddy's Day.

Man Price said...

My dad used the phrase "two bits" but I'd never heard that "the dollar would be cut into 8 pieces. Interesting. Love your green lapel. Enjoyed this post. Thanks.