Right In The Old Bread Basket

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'd think the corners of those stacks would be especially tough to swallow.  Not to mention the fact that money is dirty, any one of those bills could have been touched by a politician.  (Image from picsbox dot biz)
I’d think the corners of those stacks would be especially tough to swallow. Not to mention the fact that money is dirty, many one of those bills could have been touched by politicians. (Image from picsbox dot biz)

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.

Since snapping this pic, I've squandered the twenty smackers on a cup of coffee and a handful of magic beans.  My wife scolded me about the beans and threw them out the window.  On an unrelated note, it occurs to me that swallowing a human thumb would be even more difficult than a rolled up bill.
Since snapping this pic, I’ve squandered the twenty smackers on a cup of coffee and a handful of magic beans. My wife scolded me about the beans and threw them out the window. On an unrelated note, it occurs to me that swallowing a human thumb would be even more difficult than a rolled up bill – hats off to you cannibals!

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.

I looked for photos of actual squatters, but felt the ones I found were demeaning.  This woman chose to dress this way to perform squats, and as such, she demeans only herself.  By the way, honey, love the shoes!  (Image from thegreatfitnessexperiment dot com)
If motel surgery was really an option, then the smugglers might have considered hiding the “wampum in dee bumbum” in the first place.  Though eagle-eyed customs inspectors who are twerking aficionados might spot tell-tale cash-stack lumps amid the curvy splendor of the booty.   (Image from thegreatfitnessexperiment dot com and/or dudelol dot com)

 

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.

Farewell To A Soon-To-Be Bygone Era

With the opening of pot stores in Colorado in January 2014, the writing is on the wall for the impending demise of what was considered by some to be the outlaw-vogue marijuana mystique.  I thought I’d better write this before this culture of cool disappears entirely.

Smuggler’s Blues

I recall a girl I encountered one summer in my youth.  She was wafer thin and very cute.  She may have had a twin sister, I’m not sure, my memory of such ancient trivia is worn by the years.  One thing I do recall was her ingenious method for hiding a bag of pot on her person.  The tube-top and hip hugger bell bottoms she wore left precious little room for smuggling illicit cargo.  Once she was convinced that I was “cool” she lifted up the hem of her bell bottoms and revealed a bag of weed held with a safety pin to the inside of the leg of her pants.  The fact that I recall that episode at all should reflect just how impressed I was at the time.  With pot legalized, the creativity of hiding such bulky contraband will go the way of dinosaur farming and rum running.

For the record, the girl in question wore no such hat, which would have provided her with yet another hiding spot.  (Image from etsy dot com)
For the record, the girl in question wore no such hat, which would have provided her with yet another hiding spot. (Image from etsy dot com)

A Weed By Any Other Name

Once upon a time, pot was known by relatively few names like Mary Jane, Reefer or Wacky Tobacky.  As the culture of marijuana grew, smokers could choose from (alleged) strains such as Panama Red and Acapulco Gold.  The monikers of today’s varieties are certainly a departure from the names of old.  As an example, one medical dispensary in Michigan is currently offering varieties such as Cataract Kush, Ziggy Starcrunch and  Death Star Clone.  As pot becomes mainstream, it’s only a matter of time before Madison Avenue gets involved and starts coming up with slicker brand names to appeal to target demographics and such.  Potential product names include Appee-Tight, U-Wanna-Ganja, and Happy Hippy Swirl.

The New Riders of the Purple Sage had an entire record album named after Panama Red.  That's an A side and a B side, folks, a big honor indeed.  (Image from en dot Wikipedia dot org)
The New Riders of the Purple Sage had an entire record album named after Panama Red. That’s an A side AND a B side, folks, a big honor indeed. (Image from en dot Wikipedia dot org)

Max Head Room

A unique byproduct of the illicit marijuana trade was the head shop.  Largely already gone from the landscape, head shops sold rolling papers, pipes and all manner of bongs.  In addition, there were lots of cool items to enjoy once one had partaken in some git-high, such as black lights, dashiki’s for white people and slow-motion wave machines.  It’s hard to imagine smokers choosing to spend their cash on a slow-motion wave machine when for the same money they could have bought a bag of Jamaican Lamb’s Breath Ganja and still had enough spare change left for Taco Bell.  With herb going legit, the few remaining head shops will be replaced by kiosks in the mall and maybe a special counter at the local Costco.  No doubt merchandisers like The Sharper Image will get in on the market selling bongs and marijuana vaporizers.  It wouldn’t surprise me if someone came out with some sort of Keurig-like device for the people who don’t want a lot of muss and fuss with their pot preparation.

It's like watching waves form in like cross section, but then it like crashes into the opposite side and starts over again like going the other way all slow and stuff, and then it's like whoa - going the other way and...oh man, did I miss my bus? (Image from plus dot google dot com)
It’s like watching waves form in like cross section, but then it like crashes into the opposite side and starts over again like going the other way all slow and stuff, and then it’s like whoa – going the other way and…oh man, did I miss my bus? (Image from plus dot google dot com)

Consume Mass Quantities

Back in the day, buyers could get dime bags, nickel bags, and something called a “lid”.  I’ve never purchased any of these amounts myself, but I’ve watched enough episodes of Mod Squad and Dragnet to have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about.  With legitimacy will come a new set of packaging strategies.  What was once referred to as a “loose joint” will become a “pre-rolled individual cigarette kick”, or P.R.I.C.K.  A “bong hit” will now be packaged as “single serving” or a “B-Cup” for use with the newly created Keurig-style electric bong.  The old ounce bag with be sold as a “Super Valu Pak” complete with a colorful logo and anti-theft chip imbedded in its plastic container.

You may find a nickel bag under Willie's hat, a dime bag in his pocket, and a Super-Valu-Pak in his tour bus.  (Image from Huffingtonpost dot com)
You may find a nickel bag under Willie’s hat, a dime bag in his pocket, and a Super-Valu-Pak in his tour bus. (Image from Huffingtonpost dot com)

Gather Round Kids, Pappy’s Gonna Tell You A Story About The Olden Days

I guess it was all inevitable.  The world changes and something which was once taboo becomes accepted, only to be replaced by a new naughty.  Perhaps someday, when there’s a break in the conversation around the Thanksgiving dinner table, I can clear my throat and tell the great-grandkids about the olden times.  They’ll look up from their heaping plates of genetically engineered turkey flavored nutri-paks with cranberry-essence gelcaps and listen as I tell them all about the exciting adventures of Panama Red.