Don't Show Me The Money
by Mad Dog
Soon scanners will
refuse to scan money, probably with a warning that “Even though the
drawing in the center looks like your Aunt Gertrude, it’s actually
George Washington — or maybe Barbara Bush. Either way we’re not
going to let you scan it.
||Have you tried to print
money on your computer lately? Okay, put your hand down and be cool
about this, you don’t want to have Treasury Department agents swarming
around your house like lobbyists on a newly elected official, do you? If
you have tried printing money then you know it’s next to impossible.
If you haven’t, don’t bother. Thanks to a conspiracy — I mean,
agreement — between the central banks of 27 countries, computer
hardware manufacturers, and software programmers, you can’t do it. If
we could toss the CIA, World Bank, and a few alien abductors into the
mix we’d have a retrospective of all nine seasons of The X-Files rolled
up in one.
What’s happened is that the banks
have agreed to embed a hidden code on paper money, a code which can be
read by a lot of the hardware and software we use. On U.S. currency
it’s located right under the words “In God We Trust.” If you hold
a bill up to a light bulb for thirty seconds you’ll see secret writing
appear that says, “...the rest of you are highly suspect, except for
God’s press agent, Mel Gibson.” You’d think with all those techies
and government people on the project they’d have come up with
something better than printing it with lemon juice.
The new measures
won’t stop the real counterfeiters, who use fancy plate-making
equipment, printing presses, and silly dime-store novelty bills to earn
their living. At least that’s what a woman in Porterdale, GA seemed to
When most computer printers spot the code they choke, only
printing part of the image. This causes people to think the printer’s
out of ink so they pop in a new cartridge that cost more than the
printer. And you wonder why the printer companies went along with the
scheme. Adobe Photoshop, a high-end graphics program, won’t display
the image at all, though it will flash a warning reminding you that
it’s illegal to copy currency, then give you links to several online
job sites so you can find a career that pays better than a life of
crime. And in the latest twist, soon scanners will refuse to scan the
bills, probably with a warning that “Even though the drawing in the
center looks like your Aunt Gertrude, it’s actually George Washington
— or maybe Barbara Bush. Either way we’re not going to let you scan
it. Besides, even if you did you couldn’t view it or print it, so why
don’t you go back to sitting on the scanner and sending the butt scan
to everyone on your joke forwarding list.”
It’s true that we shouldn’t be
counterfeiting money. Of course we shouldn’t be making a left turn
without signaling, coveting our neighbor’s wife, or encouraging the
networks to air shows like The Littlest Groom either. But it’s
a little scary to think that our computers are starting to control what
we can and can’t do. What’s next, pop-up warnings that say, “You
already have enough scans of your dog, get a life. Or at least a human
friend.” and “ERROR: You are not the 18-year-old cheerleader named
Bambi you say you are in the chat room. Stop immediately or we’ll
Pike swears she thought the bills were real, had two more in
her purse, and never questioned why her estranged husband would have
given her so much money in the first place. Ignorance may in fact be
bliss, but it sure must be embarrassing.
The new measures won’t stop the real counterfeiters, who use
fancy plate-making equipment, printing presses, and silly dime-store
novelty bills to earn their living. At least that’s what a woman in
Porterdale, GA seemed to think. Alice Regina Pike walked into a Wal-Mart
recently, piled $1,675 worth of merchandise in her cart, and tried to
pay for it with a fake million dollar bill. Apparently she didn’t
realize that “fake million dollar bill” is redundant because there
is no such thing. Well, except at souvenir shops, toy stores, and in her
wallet. The clerk realized there was a problem when she kept losing
track as she tried to count back Pike’s change. Just kidding. Actually
no clerk knows how to count back change anymore. Pike swears she thought
the bills were real, had two more in her purse, and never questioned why
her estranged husband would have given her so much money in the first
place. Hey, maybe he’s just a nice guy. Ignorance may in fact be
bliss, but it sure must be embarrassing. Don’t be surprised to see her
starring in a reality TV show any day now.
You can’t blame Pike for wanting to
believe. After all, who wouldn’t like to have a couple of $1 million
bills in their pocket? Especially if you live in Finland and get a
speeding ticket. Not long ago the police there fined a man $216,900 for
driving too fast. See, in Finland they peg the fine to your income,
which helps explain why Bill Gates doesn’t spend much time there.
Well, aside from not wanting to be around so many people who drink a
lot, attempt suicide often, and live on their cell phone. You know,
people who work in advertising agencies.
The moral of all this is to not take
shortcuts when it comes to making money. Also to be careful what you try
to print, beware of gifts from exes, and if you’re caught speeding in
Finland, plead poverty. Or pull out that $1 million bill. They probably
wouldn’t know it was fake.
©2004 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them, but don't you dare try to print them.