February 26, 2007


Here's my confession for today: I picked up a million dollars in rural Virginia last week. Yes, I am looking at it as we speak ... as I write this. It looks like any other dollar note, a typical greenback, it says "Series 2005", it has a serial number, a big portrait of Grover Cleveland in front and "In God We Trust" at the back. And it says "1,000,000" and "One Million Dollars", multiple times.

I'm rich. So I walked into the next CVS pharmacy on my route and picked up a $1.49 tube of toothpaste. I planned to offer this note in payment. I tell you, I was thoroughly looking forward to watching the lady behind the counter count out $999,998.51 in change. Though I was a little worried about how to carry it all in my pocket. That's a fair number of twenty dollar notes, you know.

Of course, that's when I noticed the fine print in the bottom-left corner: "This note is not legal tender for all debts public and private". I rather doubt that the lady behind the counter would have been as oblivious to that little word "not" as I had been till that moment.

I'm not rich. Just like that.

But the fantasy was fun while it lasted. Where, you might ask, did I find this note?

Answer: at Foamhenge.

Not Stonehenge, silly, not that imitation place somewhere in England. No, this is the real thing: on top of a low hillock near Natural Bridge, Virginia, a prehistoric structure made of huge slabs of styrofoam. Foamhenge. A structure that some hoax-sters then copied in every respect, but in stone, over at Stonehenge.

Yes Virginia, this is true. Our cavemen ancestors used styrofoam extensively. Besides Foamhenge itself, archaeologists have found styrofoam spear-points, styrofoam cutting tools, styrofoam axes and even -- get this -- styrofoam cups and plates. And Foamhenge even has an ancient inscription out in front that explains its origins. In the ancient English language of English, it says in part:
    Foamhenge was completed in six weeks using beaded styrofoam blocks weighing up to 420 pounds, delivered on four tractor trailer trips from Winchester, Virginia, 100 miles north. It took 4-5 Mexicans and one crazy man to construct. It's to educate and entertain.
As you can see, this is how we know that our cavemen ancestors had already invented tractor trailers, and pounds, and Mexico.

That "crazy man", incidentally, is one Mark Cline, of Natural Bridge, Virginia.

And stuck behind that inscription out front, wedged in there between the age-old pieces of wood, was the million dollar note. Somehow, it fit right in. In more ways than one.

I helped myself to the note, offering an ecstatic thank you to our cavemen ancestors.

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