pieces o' eight
By Tim Grobaty - Grubbco
Once, back in the early 1980s, a reporter friend of ours covered a meeting of stockholders who had invested in a treasure hunter, a world-famous guy who scoured the seafloors of the Caribbean and the Atlantic seeking sunken treasure.
Our friend came back breathless, bug-eyed and sort of pea-green with greed telling us we had to invest in this guy's next expedition.
He told us tales of great wealth: Not only did the treasure hunter dole out to each investor a check with more zeros than a soccer tournament, but he also parceled out gimcracks from his last haul: doubloons, pieces o' eight, gold crosses encrusted with rubies and sapphires, the odd amphora.
Our friend said the modern plunderer of the deep was hot on the trail of the biggest discovery ever, and he (our friend) was good for $4,000 in stock for the treasure-hunter's next expedition; another friend of ours, all caught up in the ravenous quest for easy riches, plunked down a couple of thousand, too.
Now, what are you gonna do ? In our case, we knew a sucker's game when we saw one. We also knew a ruby-encrusted cross when we saw one.
Further, we envisioned staying far afield of this folly only to see, in a few months, our friends coming back from their stockholders meeting all swaddled in velvet and ermine like the archbloke of Canterbury or one of the lesser Medieval popes, spangled in jewels and drunk on mead, the juice from roasted capon legs glistening on their chins already a-wattle with wealth.
So, we put down a thousand. We called it insurance against the gloating of our stock-holding friends. Soon, we talked yet another friend — this was back in the days when we had a lot of friends and, apparently, tons of money — into putting up a grand or two by convincing him of the wisdom of buying, if nothing else, protection from the original two friends growing wealthy without us.
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