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July 16, 2013

When discussing “filthy lucre,” it can be useful to specify that the filthiest type of lucre is paper-lucre of the lower denominations, such as $1, $5, $10, lucre-bills. Coin lucre is also fairly filthy, but unlike paper-lucre, it is rarely tucked into intimate clothing and virtually never used as a toilet paper substitute.

Here in Romania, the lucre is made of a hardy plastic material which does not fit in the wallet, but can be placed on a cookie sheet, stuck in the oven, and shrunk down to 1/3 its original size. Warning: vendors are unlikely to accept shrunken bills as currency.

The famous “Sacagawea gold dollar” is the cleanest lucre available, because it rarely comes in contact with the filthy human hand. Instead, it travels directly from the lucre-mint to various obscure vending machines across the U.S., which are hand selected by the President. On those rare occasions when one receives a “Sacagawea” from a vending machine, it is appropriate to pause and recollect the rich Native American culture existing in our country, before opening one’s candy bar, M&M-bag, or nut-sack.

People who choose to pronounce “Sacagawea,” SaCAGaWEa, constitute a vibrant sub-culture in America, and should not be threatened with violence, unless they attempt to bend the wills of others to agree with their own pronunciation preferences, in which case the use of “reasonable force” is forgivable, in accordance with Article 35 of the Penal Law.

Three days ago I purchased a nut-sack from a vending machine, but found the nuts to be unsalted and therefore unpalatable. True will power is to eat but one salted peanut. To eat but one unsalted peanut is not a test of will power at all. To eat but one unsalted peanut is merely to be less fortunate than the person who has not eaten any unsalted peanuts.

My German roommate, Henning, recently said, “Did I mention Hitler had only one ball?” I replied that I didn’t know this fact, but asked if he knew that Lance Armstrong also possessed only “one ball.” Henning said he did not know this, and we both walked away from the conversation having learned something new, which is what I value most in intercultural dialogues.


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