Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Speaking of Counterfeiting

In honor of my counterfeit $10 bill, a story by Giovanni Guareschi:

The Thousand Lire Story

I went down to the center of town to make some pur­chases, and in the end found myself without cigarettes and with a single thousand lire note in my wallet.

I went into a tobacconist's, asked for a package of Swiss cigarettes, and laid the thousand lire note on the counter.

The tobacconist looked at it with interest. "What is it?" he asked.

"A thousand lire note," I replied.

The tobacconist called to his wife, who was reading a newspaper at the other end of the counter.

"Maria, look at this!"

The woman turned her head and without bothering to come nearer glanced at the note.

"Ah," she said, "it's back in the center of town again."

The tobacconist asked if I lived at Porta Volta.

"Lambrate," I said.

"Then it's moved around," he remarked. "It hasn't been here in about a month. We all know it."

I looked at the note again and caught my breath. It was the falsest thousand lire note in the world, so shamelessly counterfeit as to inspire the liveliest disgust.

There ought to be a certain amount of care, profes­sional pride, taken in the production even of counterfeit thousand lire notes. But the note I had in front of me was no more than a free and arbitrary interpretation of a real thousand-lire note.

I handed back the cigarettes and picked up the offending note.

"Too bad!" cried the tobacconist. "But in this life you've got to learn to take the knocks philosophically."

I started off for the parking lot but of course had to give up the idea of reclaiming my car-or of taking a taxi, or even a bus. I arrived home on foot, in an unenviable state of mind.

"Everything go all right?" Margherita asked me.

"Fine," I replied, ashamed to admit I'd accepted the counterfeit thousand-lire note.

"Oh, good!" Margherita cried. "You were able to get rid of that awful counterfeit note I put in your wallet."

I am not speaking here to children, I'm speaking to grown men, to old hands at matrimony. They'll understand: they know that the ladies play these little tricks.

Read the rest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are the first person I have ever known who has been landed with a counterfeit bill. Congratulations!