George Gets Around
How a people tracks the travel of one man.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Since March 15, 2002, George has been spotted in a Kentucky fast food restaurant, a Tennessee country store, a Texas strip joint known as the Penthouse Key Club and the Flying M Restaurant, a Utah diner located near the sandcastle spires of Bryce Canyon National Park.
This George is not a rambling man with a predilection for unclothed females and fast food, but rather the most entered dollar bill on wheresgeorge.com, a Web site that tracks the movements of our nation’s currency.
Recently, while in downtown Monterey, I received a dollar bill stamped with the phrase “track me at www.wheresgeorge.com” as change from Walgreen’s. After visiting the site, I registered the bill online by entering its serial number and series date. A few minutes later, I discovered the bill’s recent history: it had first been entered into the system just 20 days earlier in Pacifica, Calif.
Started in 1998, Where’s George was created by Hank Eskin, a Massachusetts database architect. Like a lot of Internet phenomena, Where’s George has a rabid fan base. It includes a game where competitors can attempt to attain the highest George Score by entering a large amount of bills on the site and gain points when others register the bill.
One gentleman, known as Wattsburg Gary, has registered 529,591 bills on the site and released them into the economy with Where’s George stamps. On his user profile, Gary maintains that his bills have surfaced in far-flung locales like Afghanistan and Timor.
I’m just hoping my little George gets to a cushy Hawaiian resort or a nice little Napa Valley spa.