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Song Parodies -> "A Joke My Song Reminds Me"

Original Song Title:

"The Girl I Left Behind Me"

Original Performer:

Traditional

Parody Song Title:

"A Joke My Song Reminds Me"

Parody Written by:

Patrick McWilliams

The Lyrics

While writing last week's parody about the German tourist, I was reminded of a story I read decades ago. It was set in Germany, just after the war, when the economy was in ruins. American cigarettes often circulated in place of the discredited Reichsmark. Cigarettes have some good features as currency: they were scarce, they had intrinsic value. In addition, they were compact, portable, and easily divisible. Of course, there were some other features that doomed them in the long run as a medium of exchange and as a store of value.
In Germany in forty-five
The Mark was worthless paper
And every woman lived in fear
Some Bolshevik would rape her

Business had come to a halt
When the armies stopped their shooting
There was no cash, there were no jobs
And not much left worth looting

A G.I. heard somebody ask,
"Give me a Zigarette".
He didn't know that from his gift
Things would start getting better

The man who bummed the cigarette
Soon looked around to spend it
He had a hole in his jackboot's sole
"I'll give you this to mend it".

The cobbler's roof began to leak
He had no means to fix it
But a cigarette to a carpenter
Well, it just might be the ticket

The carpenter, his work complete
Sought out a local farmer
"My daughter needs some food to eat,
Starvation's sure to harm her".

He showed the precious cigarette
And a deal was quick arranging
And for some bread and for some cheese
The "coffin nail" exchanging

And so it went around the town
The economy reviving
The burghers bought, the burghers sold
While at their trades were striving

A cycle of prosperity
Until some yahoo broke it
This fool obtained the cigarette
Then he lit a match to smoke it
Security Code: WW3. Wonder what they'll use for money after that conflict. If that should come to pass, I expect most everyone will be "smoking".

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Rob Arndt - July 20, 2015 - Report this comment
Nor only cigs but also Yankee chocolate which was thick and fortified with vitamins. Germans were rationed for three years after WW2. Many died of starvation, but then of course there was mass starvation in France and Holland too. Most people don't remember, but the Germans starved the Dutch as they pulled back and flooded their land. All slave laborers for the SS mammoth underground projects were starved to death in the hundreds of thousands. In an apocalypse scenario real money is cigarettes, alcohol, medicine, gasoline, matches, batteries, medical supplies including drugs, and other non-monetary items. Any area nuked makes gold and silver hot and deadly with radiation. So precious metals are a lie. Read the classic book "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank. Also Patrick, read his other book "Forbidden Area." I know you would like both.
Patrick - July 20, 2015 - Report this comment
I read "Alas Babylon" many years ago. I'll have to look up the other title. A drawback for the use of cigarettes as currency is indirectly alluded to in "Alas Babylon". In this case the medium was whiskey. One of the characters offered a fifth to a beekeeper in the hope of receiving some honey. The beekeeper was a teetotaler and didn't drink for religious reasons. A non-smoker might have little use for a cigarette since it would be hard to preserve while waiting for a trade. At least sealed bottles of whiskey are durable, and not terribly affected by age. Chocolate would be valuable, it is very dense in calories. Problem, at this time of year in Kansas City, I can't expect to get home with it from the store, due to melting in high temperatures. This would be even harder when air-conditioned cars are no longer running. Also, if you eat it, you can't trade it. A choice one would have to make. I recall an episode of MASH in which Major Winchester receives a parcel of chocolate from home. He gives it to a missionary who runs an orphanage. Later, Winchester sees the chocolates, which were of a distinct luxury brand, being consumed by G.I.'s. The director of the orphanage sold them to buy cabbage, which was more nourishing and would feed the children for a longer time. One more reason to work for peace and to displace today's worthless politicians, so such dilemmas won't have to be a part of our futures.
Rob Arndt - July 20, 2015 - Report this comment
Communists come ashore in "Forbidden Area" and sabotage America's B-99 bombers. A local couple figure it out...
Camden - July 21, 2015 - Report this comment
the only thing you said that is perhaps mistaken is that even non smokers could use cigarettes to bargain with other consumers. Same for non drinkers. Since that form of currency remains high one could be a Bible thumper who exchanges coffee for cigarettes to which he barters with a man for batteries.women would of course still barter sex for anything or attach themselves to a man of resources. That wouldn't change a bit ;-)
Patrick - July 21, 2015 - Report this comment
Loose or even packaged cigarettes would deteriorate with time, and humidity. Chocolate would melt. Good liquor in sealed bottles would keep for a long time. But you have to watch out for the unscrupulous who might water it down or replace it with tea or other colored liquids. Of course, the same thing happens with today's Federal Reserve "money". It can be reproduced indefinitely at little cost, not even ink. It's called "inflation".
Survivalist - July 22, 2015 - Report this comment
Patrick did not mention seeds for crops. Invaluable asset. Also, if the land survives and you know how to live off it, you can make it. Rural valleys flanked by mountains also can help you survive.

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