The World… Explained #2: The Economy

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Snore snore, who cares? Am I right?

But that’s where you’re wrong. A brief understanding of the economy is vital for any responsible citizen. If nothing else, you’ll get to read the Financial Times and mutter comments about the retail price index to look clever.

As the degenerate piece of human filth that you are, however, you might at least come to understand why the war in Afghanistan has forced up the price of the smack that makes your life in at least some small way tolerable.

To illustrate the workings of the economy, I would like to tell the story of one Rufus.

Rufus was a small, ragged dog made of metal. Homeless, destitute and hungry he wandered the streets of London, begging for scraps of food. One day, he found himself lucky enough to win second place in a beauty contest and he became the recipient of ten pounds sterling. On his way to the casino on the Old Kent Road to try his luck, he noticed a property for sale at auction, its previous owner bankrupt. Figuring it as good a place to stay as any, he made a bid of £10. There were no other bidders, most people finding the adjoining mural of the word “GO” in letters fifty feet tall something of an eyesore.

The proud owner of his own house, Rufus found that there were many rooms still lying empty. So, he started his own business, renting out the rooms to passers-by at cut throat prices. Making a handsome profit in this way, he continued to roam the streets and soon found property for sale a short distance away in Whitechapel Road. Investing some of the money he was given by a mysterious stranger for passing the ‘GO’ mural, he expanded his business. Things were starting to look up for Rufus; business was booming and he soon could afford to construct luxury hotels on both sites.

He quickly became a huge property mogul, the likes of which London had not seen since the mid eighties, when Rupert Murdoch’s left boot had bought up vast swathes of Soho. Rufus dined only in the finest restaurants on the finest pet food that money could buy. He soon owned much of central London and was making a killing from it.

At this point again, Rufus got lucky. The Conservative government of the time was selling off national assets at cut throat prices, and Rufus invested wisely in utilities companies and in London’s largest railway stations. The streets were truly lined with gold.

Suddenly, Rufus’ world collapsed. His company became subject to investigation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, and share price plummeted. He immersed himself in a world of liquor and drugs. He was accused of stealing from the company’s pension fund to pay spiralling loan repayments, and was convicted and sent to jail. He was sent directly to jail. He did not pass go. He did not collect £200.

While serving his time, Rufus could do nothing to prevent the total collapse of his company. He was released a washed-up addict with a modicum of infamy. He was left facing the only option available to such dregs of society; he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.

It was here that he finally met his untimely end. He was mistaken by a drunken Anthea Turner for a Werther’s Original and swallowed whole.

The moral of this story is clear; if you hope to make money from investment, you should not trust all your money to small metallic dogs. It is generally accepted that irons have a much more rigourous approach to modern analytical economics, and studies have shown them to go on 68% fewer crack binges.

The Appointment

Today, I went to the dentist.

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Dentist: Open wide, please. Wider. Thank you. Ah, yes, I see. Well, that’ll have to come out. Ready?

Me: OK, is it going to hurt?

Dentist: Maybe just a little. OK, here we go.

Me: Ah-ahhhh.

Dentist: All done.

Me: Thank you, can I have my wallet back now?

Dentist: Certainly. Now, if you’d like to get on the chair, we’ll have a look in your mouth.

Me: I promise there’s no money in there.

Dentist: We’ll see. OK, well. You’ll definitely need braces, I can tell you that now.

Me: How could you tell so quickly?

Dentist: You’ve left your trousers over there.

Me: Ah.

Dentist: Don’t worry, it happens all the time. Let’s see. You seem to have something lodged behind your front teeth, I’ll see if I can scrape it out.

Me: Owww! That’s my tongue!

Dentist: Oh. Is it? Well, I’m afraid I can’t do anything about that for you, but you should probably get it seen to.

Me: I do. Every time I have a check-up, the doctor asks to see my tongue, but he never deals with it. He just ticks the box marked “Tongue”.

Dentist: What a shame. The rest of it looks OK, though. Now, have you been experiencing any pain?

Me: Well, it’s been tough at home recently. I don’t think my mother likes me all that much, we’re falling out all the time. But then I get so very lonely at night, and I don’t feel like I have anyone to turn to.

Dentist: OK, can you feel it if I press there?

Me: Nope.

Dentist: What about if I press this one at the back?

Me: Yes, there it is.

Dentist: Well I think you’re right, it might be the empty hole in your life that’s causing it, as you said. I’m afraid that’s going to need filling. I’d like to offer your companionship and intimacy, but all I’ve got is amalgam.

Me: Oh, not another.

Dentist: Ah, you’ve done this before? Good, so you know the drill.

Me: Is this really necessary?

Dentist: Well, either I drill and fill, or I’ll have to take it out.

Me: Can’t you just leave it alone?

Dentist: Can I just leave it alone? I’m a dentist, this is what I do. This is what I was made for. This is my destiny! I poke, I pry, I tut knowingly. I am a man of action! When my time is up, and I meet my Maker, how will I come before him and say, “I had a fairly nice life, I just left everything alone”? Do you think that is what he wants to hear? Is this what you want?

Me: Yes! Well, no, I mean, well, maybe a little. Look, what do you want from me?

Dentist: I want the tooth!

Me: You can’t handle the tooth!

Dentist: Oh, go on.

Me: No.

Dentist: Please?

Me: No!

Dentist: I never get to do any of that exciting stuff anymore, everyone has such excellent dental hygiene, and I’m just so bored. There’s one patient, Mr Lehman, he’s 85, and every winter I remove one of his false teeth, and every summer I replace it with a new one.

Me: Does he not notice?

Dentist: I wouldn’t have thought so. He left his dentures here in 1995, when he moved away.

Me: Well, I’m still not letting you do it. And also, I’m leaving.

Dentist: Wait, don’t go. How about a quick polish? This new one’s got anti-static. What do you say?

Me: You’re not right.

(I storm out of the room, and down the stairs.)

Dentist: …
Wait! You forgot your trousers.

The News 02/01/05

Good afternoon, the time is six-thirty-six-ish, here are this morning’s headlines.

Dangerous Chemicals Found In Iraq

Progress Made in Northern Ireland

New Year Recalled

First, tonight’s top story. In a statement today, President Bush has revealed the discovery of large stockpiles of chemicals in Iraq. The chemicals discovered have until now been hidden deep underground, in what are assumed to be vast reservoirs which stretch across much of the country.

“The chemical that has been discovered,” explained the President, “is a crude mixture of hydrocarbons of varying chain length. The experts dealing with it have taken to calling it ‘Offensive Incendiary Liquid’, or OIL for short.”

“This OIL,” he continued, “is already being used by the insurgents against our forces. They fill bottles with it, then throw them at soldiers. They fill cars with it, then explode them at our checkpoints. But don’t worry, Dick [Cheney] has had a word with some of his buddies at Haliburton, and they said that since they’re already in the country, they’ll take it away at no extra charge! How nice are those guys?!”

The safe removal of the OIL will begin as soon as possible. “The sooner we get the OIL out of the hands of the Iraqi people, the better,” explained Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Said Tony Blair when asked by reporters, “We went into Iraq with a purpose. And now we can finally hold up our hands and say ‘Look, you doubted us, but after all this time we finally have what it is that we were after’.

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An important concession has been made in the peace process in Northern Ireland, as the IRA, a terrorist organisation, have agreed to send artist’s impressions of the dismantling of weapons. Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness, a terrorist and politician, has described the move as “very exciting. Not only does it represent a real step forward in the peace process, but it will allow several talented, Northern Irish artists to receive some mainstream attention.”

It is believed that a large number of artists from the small but growing Belfast abstract art movement have been contacted to contribute to the project, which will be exhibited in the Tate Modern next March. Reverend Ian Paisley, a terrorist and man of God, is said to have accepted this compromise, providing he can have a couple framed for his home.

The couple, from County Down, were unavailable for comment.

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The new year, 2005, has been recalled after only two days. Despite intensive testing prior to the launch date, the new year has numerous faults and defects which have left the general public exposed to huge health and safety risks.

A spokesman has given some details of the problems in an official statement. “We can confirm that parts of 2005 did not meet up to our usual high standards. We were particularly concerned when February was given a full 31 days, which has be blamed on a misprint in the original specification. It was only spotted at the final minute by which point the month had been irrevocably stretched so that even when the extra three days were removed, the other twenty eight rattled around uncontrollably. A new version of February will be constructed from scratch for the relaunch.”

“There were other smaller problems that required adjustment. The months of March, April and May were adjudged to not be springy enough which was particularly worrying as many of our users expect a lot of spring in those months. The Summer and Winter Breaks needed tightening a little. Finally, early studies showed that January 1st was missing the New Year smell that many expect and, indeed, look forward to.” When further pushed the spokesman said that January 1st had a number of different smells, three of which were methylated spirits.

It is believed that nearly all of the new year has been reclaimed, and replacement parts procured. In most cases the earlier 2004 has been issued, though because of some shortages, other years have been allocated where necessary. This has caused many problems. A elderly man from Swindow suffered a fatal cardiac arrest when he could not keep up with the sexual appetites and inventiveness of his wife, who was in 1962. An office worker from Swansea were pleased, however, to gain up to five extra years to finish next Thursday’s presentation. The new Year is expected in the New Year.

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And finally, the Brief in News.

A horsebox involved in a serious traffic accident on the M40 has been rushed to hospital for emergency treatment. Its condition has been described as stable.

A Shell petrol station suffered several hundred thousands pounds’ worth of damage Saturday at their jet wash in Manchester when the jet in question misjudged its landing, crushing a Vauxall Cavalier.

A man from Birmingham had to spend Christmas Day in jail away from his family and children, despite posting bail on the 23rd. The man’s lawyers say he is regretting the decision to send it second class so close to Christmas.

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Thank you, and good night.