Grant May Be Booted from $50 Bill, Family Reacts


Whose face would you rather see poking out of your wallet, Grant or Reagan?

Patrick McHenry, a Republican Congressman from North Carolina, recently announced he will propose that Reagan replace Grant on the $50 bill in honor of Reagan’s 100th birthday next year.

Currency buffs haven’t been this riled up since the $2 bill was retired. But at least the President on that bill, Thomas Jefferson, had already secured a coveted spot on Mount Rushmore. Reagan’s name is already dropped a rate of 18 times every 40 seconds (rough estimate) by nostalgic Americans and adoring conservatives. But Grant‘s legacy seems more obscure. If he’s pushed off the $50 bill, will he just vanish from the American memory all together?

We asked MainStreet Editor and resident Grant scholar, Kali Geldis, for her opinion on the matter. Geldis is actually a member of the Grant clan, distantly related to Ulysses.

MAINSTREET: Kali, thank you for taking the time away from copy editing that piece about the best restaurants for senior citizens to steal silverware and condiments. What is your reaction to this Grant/Reagan controversy? How is your family handling the news?

Kali: Our family is appalled. Ever since freshman orientation in college, I’ve used the “I’m related to the guy who’s on the $50 bill” line as an icebreaker. And, frankly, if I had to say “I’m related to the dude who USED to be on the $50 bill” it just wouldn’t be the same. So, my motivation for keeping him on the $50 is not only about protecting my family legacy but also because I don’t want to pull out the story about my dog eating laxatives that one time – it’s not as distinguished.

MAINSTREET: Do you think this could hurt Grant’s legacy? Do you think it’s fair to boot Grant from the $50 bill?

Kali: I definitely have a special bond with good old Uncle Ysses (only close relatives call him that). Most Americans only know Uncle Ysses was a famous Civil War general, then president, and also kind of a heavy drinker. But what they don’t know is that he was a champion cow pie thrower and grew some really fantastic radishes. I’m hoping all the controversy will help educate others about how great this man was (and, by extension, how cool I am).

MAINSTREET: What kind of person uses the $50 bill these days, anyway? I’m more of a $5 bill guy myself…

Kali: I want you to imagine what a world without $50 bills would be like, Seth. Chaos. I couldn’t buy 10 $5 footlongs at Subway using only one bill. A world without the $50 bill is one I don’t want to live in.

MAINSTREET: I hear you are also distantly related to Johnnie Walker. Are you worried legislators may come after your Whiskey next?

Kali: I think you have your facts wrong, Seth. I’m actually distantly related to Captain Morgan. And I’m not so worried about that legacy being attacked seeing as everyone has a little captain in them and we already have “Talk Like a Pirate Day” devoted to the celebration of my ancestor. The only threat my family’s pirate legacy faces is from that horrible Bacardi family.

MAINSTREET: Last question. You’re a relative newcomer to New York. Have you visited Uncle Ysses’ tomb yet?

Kali: No. I prefer to remember him as he was. A wonderful, radish-growing, cow-pie-throwing, military genius.  I will say, if they exhume him and decide to turn it into Reagan’s Tomb, neither the Grants nor the Morgans will sit idly by. It’ll be on. You hearing me, Rep. McHenry?

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