IN GOD WE TRUST.
Logged-In Public: Can't get off the subject of your last column?
"Isn't that on the money or something, Sard?" asked Joe T.
"I used to be on the money," his father-in-law, Oedipus, responded.
"It's on the dollar bill," said Frank Weathers. "And I'm buying the next round."
"How come you're speaking Italian?" Joe asked the Sardine.
Novus Ordo Seclorum.
"That's on the dollar bill, too," said Frank. "Above the Pyramid thing and the Eye."
"The Eye of God," said McNulty. "A bunch of Masonic symbolism."
"Sounds like money talking," said Oed.
God-Believing Public: Or God!
"Wanna play liar's poker?" asked Frank.
"Not me," said Oed, "I can't tell a lie."
"George Washington said that," said Joe.
McNulty groaned and put down his drink.
"Joe, you astound me sometimes. Do you actually believe Washington cut down the cherry tree?"
"It's only a story, a myth."
"So? Does that mean it never happened?"
Sorry about the Latin. I was thinking aloud about the dollar bill.
G-B P: God can't tell a lie.
[Soap is the big lye, writes my Pun Pal.]
Amazing what a nation can do. Getting people to believe paper money is worth something.
"My kingdom could crank out some mean coins," said Oed.
"I thought you couldn't lie," McNulty interrupted. "King Croesus of Lydia is credited with the first system of coinage."
"The history books must be mistaken. I distinctly remember. . . ."
"Next thing you're going to tell me," Joe interrupted his father-in-law, "Washington didn't have any wooden teeth."
Whoever did coin money first, I have to give him his due. But paper has a greater burden. It doesn't have a coin's intrinsic weight or authority.
"I just can't imagine him chewing with them," said Joe T.
"Don't take any wooden nickles, Joe," Frank said.
"What are you talking about?" McNulty asked the Sardine.
The genius of paper money.
"You, not me, called it genius," said Oed. "I say it's the cheap way to go."
Sure, Oed, but you could have never gotten the Thebans to believe in paper money. YOU were the nation: One person, a loyal court, and the rabble. That is, when there were no plagues and famines.
"Ouch," said Oedipus, "you didn't have to remind me."
Sorry, but you get my point. The expanse of national power grew, and has grown, to the point where a nation can print money faster than it can count it.
"We don't even need money anymore," said Frank.
"That's a stupid thing to say," said Joe. "By the way, last call. Don't forget to tip your bartender."
L-I P: Jesus was a lousy tipper because he never had any money.
Not quite so stupid, Joe. Frank makes a good point.
"Am I hearing right?" asked McNulty.
"You made my day," said Frank. "It's one thing to appear in your column regularly. Now we've gone to another level."
"How are you going to buy things without money?" asked Joe. "How am I going to earn tips?"
"They've developed a money card," said Frank. "A chip on the card will register all purchases."
"Sounds like a privacy issue in the works," said McNulty. "Calling all lawyers."
"How strong is your nation-state now, Sardine?" Oed asked sardonically.
Kingdoms flourished with coins. Nations had paper money. We are now in the era of post-modern nation-states that started with checks, credit cards, and ATMs. Individual currencies will soon be worthless. Dollars, euros, yen, and the rest continue to exist as anachronisms. The same way we still use paper currency. The reality of the money card will mean that the global state will expand and absorb the old nation states.
"Sounds like a conspiracy," said Oed.
L-I P: Or the Internet.
"Probably the Masons," said McNulty.
G-B P: Damn all of you blasphemers.
Bob Castle is the author of A Sardine on Vacation. He has had two other books published this year: The End of Travel, a comic memoir and send up of traveling abroad (Triple Press) and Odd Pursuits, a collection of stories (Wild Child Publishing). He is regular writer for Bright Lights Film Journal and has over one hundred fifty stories, essays, and articles published. The first fifteen installments of his saga can be viewed at the old Unlikely Stories. Episodes One through Forty-Seven of A Sardine on Vacation (with five semi-canonical additional episodes) are also available in book form.