Saturday, March 11, 2006

Dollar Dollar Bills, Y'all

We had a lovely little birthday dinner Friday at my old place of employment (although I was sad to see that most of the Vietnamese guys from the kitchen were gone). Quite delicious, and a good time was had by all.

The dark-hearted lady and my half-drunk self (photo by Mary T.)

Now, perhaps you're looking at this picture and you're thinking, "What the hell does he have on his shirt. Is that money?"

The money shot (caption by Mary T.)

"Yes, it is! It is money. What's going on? Does he always do that? Is it his 'look'? Does he think it looks good? Or maybe he's crazy. Maybe he's psychotic. You know, I always had a suspicion there was something wrong with that boy. And now it's confirmed. Really, I somehow feel betrayed. Violated, even."

Wait. Wait. Please let me explain. It's a local tradition (do they do it anywhere else? I've never seen it). Friends, family, strangers on the street, anybody will walk up the birthday person and pin a dollar (or maybe even a five) onto his or her shirt. There are strict rules of conduct. The person is never supposed to pin the money on themselves; the donor does it. Counting it before the night is over is bad luck. On previous birthday bashes out in busy bars, I've come home with serious cash at the end of the evening. And a clerk working at Walgreens making five-sumthin'-sumthin' an hour can bring in an extra hundred on her birthday. Everybody instantly knows it's your birthday and anybody who wants to can participate. It's genius.

And of course now, in these post-Katrina times, it gave me the perfect license to harass people: "Now more than ever, we must come together to preserve the traditions of our great city... You must give me money."


  1. Dang. I'm movin' to NOLA. Cause tomorrow's my birthday, and so is the next day, and the day after that and...

  2. And don't forget weddings... Pinning money at weddings even merited a photo in National Geographic.

  3. I have to admit that the first thing I noticed was not, in fact, the money pinned to your shirt. Nope. It was what your lovely wife was wearing. I have that same top/dress.

    She looks infinitely better in it though.

    Oh. Glad you had a good and productive birthday!

  4. I've heard it done at weddings but never on birthdays!

  5. Can you pin the first dollar on yourself so people know it's your birthday?

    1. Anonymous2:49 PM

      No, that would not be appropriate. Someone else pins the first dollar

  6. It is a habit here in Mississippi also. Frequent usage. On my daughter's birthday, we saw an old friend in the movie store who'd never met my child, but gave her a dollar without thinking twice. : )

  7. Anonymous11:10 PM

    Now this process is digital go to

  8. Anonymous10:01 AM

    I am so doing this on our next trip to NOLA! What fun!! It will be my 60th birthday!

  9. These things are very important, good think so - I think so too... convert $14.99