I’m no stranger to the dinner table. In fact, I’ve got over five decades of anecdotes of my over-eating. There’s the time I gobbled so much food at my grandmother’s Thanksgiving table that I fell asleep with my face in the plate. Were it not for the tryptophan, I might have eaten myself to death that fateful turkey day. In college, the local Mexican joint suffered mightily during my attendance at their all-you-can eat taco night. The same thing went for the place in Colorado with the all-you-can-eat steak dinners. A note on that last one, swimming isn’t the only thing you should avoid doing immediately after eating; driving a truck loaded with all your possessions in the dark of night while the majority of your blood flow is busy trying to digest the better part of a cow is also to be avoided.
Given my rich history of gluttony, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the recent news story of the woman who was found by customs inspectors in the Dominican Republic to be smuggling seventy thousand dollars in her stomach. She had another sixty-nine thousand found hidden in her suitcase. I’m guessing they found the suitcase loot first, and then noticed her bloated belly. Typically, airline passengers have a tough time filling up too much on the palm sized portions of pretzels they give out these days. Even if she bought one of the sixteen buck turkey sandwiches and washed it down with with a couple of splits of champagne, her tummy would still have appeared relatively normal.
Of course the news outlet which carried the story helped to make it all the more amazing by using an illustration featuring a file photo of stacks of crisp hundreds bound with red rubber bands. The size of a stack of hundreds is rather substantial when juxtaposed with the opening of a standard pie hole. I whipped out several number two pencils and some scratch paper and did a little math. After a half hour of cyphering, I can say with a degree of confidence that she would have had to swallow seven hundred of those c-notes to come up to the total listed in the story.
I didn’t have a hundred dollar bill laying around, but if memory serves, they’re pretty much the same size as a twenty, which I did (miraculously) have handy. I folded it as small and tight as I could, then took a pic of it next to one my allergy pills. Since these pills have no effect whatsoever on the molds, stink bug droppings and various other things which make autumn as fun as spring for me, it’s nice to finally have a use for them.
I suppose that someone will point out that she could have gulped down a mere seventy one-thousand dollar bills or the tiny paper currency of the island nation of Tonga* to minimize the gut bulk. Even so, seventy thousand clams adds up to a whole lot of swallowing. Perhaps she dipped them in butter or possibly apple sauce to help get them down.
I’m no expert in human physiology, but the “harvesting” of the cash poses a few lovely options. Perhaps her colleagues had planned on an ipecac syrup cocktail and a few reruns of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” with a well placed bucket. Another choice would have been the colonoscopy prep approach, which would have run the risk of partially digested c-notes and a new high bar setting for the term “dirty money”. Lastly, there was the possibility of some motel room surgery, which is usually performed for more cosmetic purposes, such as silicone-caulk buttock enhancement.
Irrespective of how the money was to be rescued from this woman’s digestive system, swallowing that much money is pretty impressive If I have more than five bills in my wallet, my sitting posture gets all catty-wampus and I end up having to spend that cash on chiropractic adjustments. How ironic is that? I recently took a short flight to Florida and spent the entire two hours squirming around like a meth addict with ADHD. Every time the seat belt light came on, I surrendered any fleeting hopes of comfort. I can’t help but wonder how anyone could sit in one of those seats with seventy large in their breadbasket. Maybe on the way to the airport, she decided to treat herself and burped up enough cash to upgrade to first class.
* A quick Google search revealed that the people of Tonga do not actually use paper money at all, and in fact used to pay for everything with plastic. Sadly, the huge amount of plastic which washes ashore there on a daily basis nearly ruined their fragile economy. They have addressed the problem by changing their monetary system back to the original forms of currency which consisted of puka shells and human teeth. An online calculator estimated that seventy thousand US dollars would convert to roughly 1237 pounds of shells and enough bicuspids to outfit every player in the NHL with a flawless smile.