If it wasn’t for the Internet, I’d never have known that there was a new $100 bill.
Because to know that it was new, it would mean that you’d need to have one. And to have a $100 bill, it means you need to be wealthy enough that you regularly carry around triple digits worth of money in your wallet.
So with that logic, it stands to reason that it may have taken years for me to come into possession of a $100 bill, and then actually notice that it looked different than it used to.
Look at this monstrosity:
I found a $1 bill in the parking lot outside my office building, and I felt like the luckiest guy in the world. No, I’m not poor, but I’m not used to stumbling upon money that I didn’t earn from my job. I rarely gamble, I don’t win any of my fantasy sports leagues and I never play the lotto. I honestly haven’t earned a cent in three years outside of my fixed work salary. So the mere thought of coming into possession of a $100 bill anytime in the near future in laughable.
But in some circumstance in which someone actually handed that to me, I would probably look at them quizzically and say, “But I didn’t pass Go.” And then I would run away, because somebody probably just handed me one hundreds dollars that I didn’t earn.
This is a pretty radical change from our traditional U.S. currency. I know that the newer twenties from about a decade ago became a little more creative, with hidden illustrations that you can see if you hold it into the light.
Well, this new $100 bill also contains colorful illustrations, as you see, and apparently has hidden pictograms that are visible when exposed to light.
Additionally, when exposed to light, a watermark of Benjamin Franklin appears on the far right side of the bill. Supposedly, all of these changes were done to make the bill harder to counterfeit and easier to authenticate. And with that, there goes my Walter White-like ambition to begin my own large-scale counterfeiting ring across the east coast.
These bills are so stylish and so colorful that the next time Lil’ Wayne goes to a strip club and makes it rain, he’s going to make it look like a German discotheque hosting a neon rave.
Anyway, the rate at which people even notice this change could be a good indication of how affluent you are. The richest of the rich may notice it right away, as they sort through their next wad of $100s. Someone like me, meanwhile, who is less than five years out of college, would need to hit a lucky streak at a casino to be put in such a position. Or maybe I’ll strike gold and some collector will overpay for my extensive Beanie Baby collection. But that’s a story for another day. Or never.
In the meantime, I’m going to start hoarding Monopoly sets and collecting the game money, because I feel like we’re only a few years away from making the full transition.