Ben: You should be ashamed of yourself, sir!
Jack: What are you talking about?
Ben: Do not play the innocent with me, sir!
Jack: Stop calling me 'sir,' please. 'Jack' will do.
Ben: Very well, then... Jack. I'm referring to the outrageous effect you have had on your country. Our country, I should say!
Jack: Errr... ahhh... As I recall... Ben... you weren't all that moderate in your own dealings with the ladies. Besides, none of that stuff came out until after I was long gone. And surely you're not suggesting my personal life has affected the USA as it stands today.
Ben: I am not speaking of your dalliances with the fairer sex, Jack. I can sympathize with those, certainly... But I digress. (pause) I speak instead of your disastrous effect on the economy, as it affects the common citizens of these United States.
Jack: Now, surely you can't be blaming me for the financial mess this country's in, Ben. I've been dead since 1963.
Ben: Again you miss my meaning, Jack. I'm not speaking of Jack Kennedy the man, nor even Jack Kennedy the President.
Jack: Errr... ahhh... Then what's left?
Ben: Jack Kennedy the half dollar, of course!
Jack: What the f-- errr... ahhh... I mean, I beg your pardon?
Ben: Almost immediately after your regrettable assassination, the nation chose to honor you by replacing my image with yours on the half dollar coin!
Jack: Oh, so that's what this is about? Jealousy?
Ben: Pish-tosh, sir! That's preposterous! (pause) And totally besides the point, I should add. I still have the one-hundred-dollar bill! Thus, as they say in your era... So there! (pauses) But I digress, once again. Do you fail to see what the people of these modern times call "the bigger picture," Jack?
Jack: Errr... ahhh... I'm afraid I do.
Ben: Then allow me to elucidate, Jack. When the Kennedy half dollar first went into circulation in 1964, many people -- most people, I daresay -- refused to spend them, keeping them instead for either sentimental value or their perceived value as a collectible.
Jack: And what's wrong with that? I was kind of flattered, actually.
Ben: The problem is that no one saves only one of these coins. They hoard them by the dozens, or more. Nearly fifty years since their appearance, they have almost disappeared as an economic force. And doesn't it seem rather ridiculous that a coin worth half a dollar has all but disappeared, in an age when it's the one-cent and five-cent pieces that are almost worthless?
Jack: Not to mention the dime and quarter as well...
Ben: Good point. (pauses) If the down-trodden souls of the lower and middle classes were only to remove their hoarded coins from their stocking drawers and coin collectors' albums, they could fight off their debtors by spending these coins. In fact, some of the earlier mintings contain up to 90% silver, so those coins could be sold to coin dealers or pawnbrokers for much more than their so-called face value. The influx of such an amount could bolster this sagging economy!
Jack: Errr... ahhh... Surely you don't think that that's all it would take? I thought that you, of all people, were smarter than that.
Ben: (long pause) No... no... (sighs) I suppose not... And stop calling me "Shirley!"
* * * * *
The (90%) Silver Fox: Errr... ahhh... Thanks for your time.