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Don’t holler if you find a Zimbabwe dollar

In case you’ve heard of the economic crisis in Zimbabwe and are worried about the millions of people struggling to buy food and other essentials, let me give you some good news. President Robert Mugabe, longtime leader of the southern African nation, has come up with a brilliant solution: He’s going to print more money.

According to the Associated Press, Mugabe told a meeting of council members, “Where money for projects has not been found, we will print it.” A heated discussion followed, with some members favoring the Hewlett-Packard Laser Jet printer and others preferring Dell.

Economists in Zimbabwe were soon scratching their heads, asking themselves, “Why didn’t we think of that?”

That’s what separates the great leaders from the average ones. They know how to think “outside the box.” Mugabe’s ingenious strategy has caused American economist Craig Newmark to declare, “This year’s race for the Nobel Prize in Economics is over. Robert Mugabe will win.”

I don’t know if he’ll win the Nobel, but he’ll certainly be in the running, especially if he prints some Swedish money and mails it to the committee.

At least one of you is probably thinking, “But Melvin, isn’t printing money illegal? My cousin Sal tried to do it and he’s now serving five years in the penitentiary.”

Sal is not very smart. If he wants to print money, he needs to do it legally. He needs to go to Zimbabwe and work for the president. He’ll be able to print all sorts of items: one-million-dollar notes, land and property deeds, letters of admiration from economists around the world.

A million-dollar note may soon be necessary, considering the rampant inflation plaguing the country. Prices are rising faster than Salman Rushdie’s alimony payments. A loaf of bread costs 50 times what it did a year ago, which means that the only people who are eating bread on a regular basis are the night watchmen at the bakery. Poor guys, they can’t afford to nap anymore.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has just issued a 200,000 Zimbabwe dollar note, which will buy you a 1kg bag of sugar. That’s not much at all, especially since just a few years ago, you could have bought the sugar plantation.

Folks just can’t afford to buy necessities anymore. “It doesn’t make sense for me to spend 50,000 Zimbabwean dollars on a small bundle of firewood,” said a 30-year-old woman named Esther. “Especially when I can get a better, longer-lasting fire by burning the cash.”

A 25-year-old man named Gift said he would not pick a 1,000 Zimbabwean dollar note off the ground. “It is worthless,” he said. “No one will pick it up.”

Actually, some people do pick it up. “If we care about our country, we shouldn’t leave money lying around,” said a 50-year-old man named James. “We should pick it up and put it into a trash bin.”

Not only are prices too high, food and other items are in short supply. People have to stand in line for everything. There are lines for bread, lines for milk, even lines for lines.

Young man: “Excuse me, is this the line to buy fishing line?”

Old man: “No, they’re out of fishing line again. This is the line to call the complaint line.”

Young man: “Who do we complain to? Mugabe?”

Old man: “It’s not Mugabe’s fault. He’s been in power for only 27 years. You’ve got to give him time.”

Young man: “Time for what?”

Old man: “To print more money, of course.”

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