It's all about money. It's always about money.
Someone doesn't have any. Someone has barely enough. Someone has too much. Money is fascinating. Money corrupts. Money soothes.
As a child I loved playing with money. Lightweight aluminum coins and fake paper money. I'd put it in my toy cash register, shut the drawer, pull the handle and do it all over again. And a jar of pennies was heaven. Line them up, stack them and knock them down. A few in my pocket and I'd run across the street to the candy store after school and buy something sweet to eat on the bus home. Or just hold a bunch of coins in my tightfisted hand and shake them listening to them clang against each other.
My parents were children of the depression and their feelings about money were different than mine. They were fearful of the lack of money and so they saved. They were not extravagant. I grew up to be mostly the same. I fear being without and imagine myself in a dark hotel room with a single bulb with a thin string hanging from the ceiling over a barren table. Outside the window is a buzzing broken neon sign flashing "OTEL." That's how I grew up imagining my life without money. That's my nightmare scene in the lizard part of my brain.
These days money is what has all of us fearful and angry. It's the way of money.
This booklet from the 1930s belonged to my mom. I no longer remember where she got it, but I think in the 1930s for a brief period she worked for the National Cash Register Company. I would sit for hours looking at the maps and photos imagining myself playing with money from all over the world. Playing with the fancy cash registers. And then of course when I got to school and had to do reports about exports from countries I'd get this little book out to help.
I still enjoy looking through the booklet, only now with a critical eye and a somewhat snarky attitude. Some of it haunts me because of a world long gone. Countries no longer under colonial rule. Countries that were about to face devastating war. Countries that would be broken in two. I've only included a few countries to be viewed.
And now, a little song, a little dance, a few coins down your pants.