My career as a counterfeiter

My dazzling career as a professional counterfeiter started one Friday when I used a tiny image of a banknote to complete a piece of advertising artwork for a friend.

A couple of weeks later, the lawyers from HSBC complained that I had illegally duplicated their currency — even though the mud on the bottom of my shoe would have been smart enough to realize it wasn't a real banknote.

A couple of months after that, I wrote a newspaper report about new banknote designs. HSBC complained again, even though I was printing a press release from HSBC about HSBC banknotes!

That was when I realized bank staff were clearly sniffing too many chemicals wafting up from the printing department.

I used advanced spiritual techniques (“kicking furniture”) to defray my aggrieved feelings, but since then I have always felt an affinity with counterfeiters, particularly those from Vietnam, as they do no harm since their currency isn't actually worth anything.

***

The other day, I came across a two-dong note from my first visit to that country in the 1980s. Since it takes 200 dong to make one US cent, I just need to find another 99 two-dong notes and then I can go out and buy something, a molecule perhaps.

How much is a molecule these days? Probably more than one US cent, thanks to the scourge of inflation!

***

On that first visit to Vietnam, I remember wondering how people bought homes in Vietnam. The price of a house would surely be a pile of dong considerably bigger than most homes.

Why not skip the purchase entirely, and just live in a structure made of "bricks" of banknotes?

It would be cheaper, more distinctive, and you could avoid dealing with smarmy realtors.

***

A friend who knows my dark past as a counterfeiter sent me a recent report from the Darlington and Stockton Times, a British newspaper.

A counterfeiter walked into a shop and asked staff to change a large denomination banknote.

"It's not fake!" he announced, merrily.

Staff immediately realized that it was fake and called police.

This is Mr Jam’s Law of Irony: Things you have to tell people are true aren't.

That guy should have heeded that classic line from the Bible: "The wise man knoweth when to speak and when to shutteth up.”

***

Perhaps the most ironic tale from my counterfeiting files is another true story from Vietnam, but from the 1990s.

A forger from Ho Chi Minh City used a piece of cheap iron to make a counterfeit piece of "precious metal" and sold it to a group of investors for a large bundle of cash.

But when he got back home, he found they paid him with counterfeit money.

I know it's mean to laugh at people, but I couldn't stop myself. He was hopping mad, no doubt telling his family members: "You can't trust anybody these days.”

Having finished this post, I shall now reward myself with a visit to the coffee shop, stopping at an ATM on the way.

Or maybe the photocopier.