Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Synchronicity and "Where's George?"

“Where’s George?” (http://www.wheresgeorge.com/)– the Internet bill-tracking project – is generally either an obsession or a “Who Cares?” proposition. A couple of weeks ago, I was razzed by a Blockbuster employee for passing some marked Georges. He couldn’t think of anything more boring than tracking where your money goes. That is, perhaps, other than working the night shift at Blockbuster.

Curiosity seems to be the primary motivation driving the average George aficionado; though some rather ambitious enthusiasts have circulated marked bills numbering at or near 100,000.

By common standards, I’m not a rabid “Georger,” having only “EMS’ed” (Enter-Mark-Spend) a tad over 500 bills in a year and a half – more avid hobbyists will put that many bills out in a week or two, forsaking debit cards and other electronic transactions for the opportunity to circulate more green.

For me, it is an experiment in and perhaps a barometer for synchronicity. It is the odds and oddities, the stories – an initiative marker for the eerily recombinant possibilities in life.

Most “George” hits are mundane and disappointing, I’ll admit. Most bills that have been re-entered into the system have traveled a scant few miles, and been re-entered by people curious enough to login and type in the serial number, but not sufficiently cooperative to enter a note where the bill was received, nor inquisitive enough to follow the links to our web site.

Still, a few are out of the commonplace enough to keep me interested. One $1 bill left Steak & Shake here in Indianapolis, and was registered in California a couple of months later, having been picked up by said Californian on the island of Bonaire, in the Netherlands Antilles.

One left Steak & Shake only to return to South Bend Indiana when received in gambling winnings in Las Vegas. One was found on a sidewalk in Bloomington, IN. One was received in change at a fast-food restaurant in KY moments before the fellow was nearly killed by a drive-by shooter.

More prolific “Georgers” than I have astounding stories to tell, including receiving the same bill back in change months or years later; one bill I saw was re-entered by a cop who had found it on a dead body.

My fishing expedition for synchronicity paid off in pleasant strangeness only a few months after I’d begun. One evening, while too tired to accomplish anything particularly useful, I got out a box where I’d stashed the occasional silver certificate, two-dollar bill or other odd currency to enter into the online George database – one dollar that I’d received in change perhaps 10 years ago, was stamped


-not wanting to accidentally pass it on, I had tossed it into the oddity box, and it was promptly forgotten.

Out of curiosity, to see if other bills with the same serial number had been entered into the “Where’s George?” database, I entered the serial number and series info. Another bill of the same exact serial number, but different series (different year), had been entered, and less than two weeks before.

The fellow who entered that bill was unique, himself:

“Skozey Fetisch, the musical project of Mark C. Jackman, started out in Salt Lake City, Utah, and relocated to the Bay Area in 1992. Jackman is also a visual artist who is as comfortable working with oils and canvas as he is with computers and software to actualize his artistic vision.Jackman began his musical career playing in gothic bands in the early 1980's. Tiring of this, Jackman went on to do everything from composing film scores to composing and dancing to modern dance music for the Ririe-Woodbury International dance tour. Skozey Fetisch does what an artist does best: challenges and stimulates the observer. Momma:Key is for those who can accept that challenge.”

That brought me to purchasing a couple of “Skozey” CDs; the above quoted review is quite apropos. They are great soundtracks to listen to while writing.


So, this little foray into proactive synchronicity paid off, if in ways that perhaps are interesting only to me.

Some other “Georgers” appreciate the synchronicity factor, if only in quest of a sort of god.

Still, without any provocation such as “Georging,” life manages to churn out the oblique coincidence, the synchronistic pun, the ominous innuendo… and the deadly retrospective.

I have perhaps more than my fair, if not mathematically probable, share of those; something to touch upon again, in the near future.

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