THE REDUNDANT PAPER CLIP          - 10/ 7/ 2006      <--Prev : Next-->


I came across a large stash of paper clips the other day, paper clips that I used to hoard carefully in order to clip the various Zimbabwe currency notes neatly together. Neat little bundles of 500 dollar notes, 1000 dollar notes, then later on 5000, 10000, and those eagerly awaited 20,000 dollar notes.

It was then that ubiquitous paper clip became redundant in favour of the lackky band (elastic band) Now we have to bundle our money together in giant bricks. And unless you are a bank one does not even bother to count the individual notes anymore.

The queues at the Supermarkets are horrendous, get behind someone with an unusually full trolly and the poor shop assistant has to count out hundreds of notes laboriously while your bread goes stale in your trolly !!

With the brown notes, denomination twenty thousand, a brick is worth ten million Zimbabwe dollars. First you lakky band a hundred of these notes together into a two million baby brick, and then you lakky band five of these baby bundles together with a larger lakky bank to form a ten million dollar daddy brick !!

Now this Zimbabwe money brick is about the size of a building brick, you know the sort one uses to build a house, and they are probably worth about the same in value !

In fact if I were a thief wanting to break into a jewellery shop, these bricks might just do the job to toss through at the glass to smash the window !!

A million dollars will buy 5 litres of milk ...... A million dollars will buy seven loaves of bread !! ..........

A visit to the bank in January 2006 necessitated the production of a brown envelope to carry ones loot home, in March, a Meikles carrier bag had to be produced to carry one's spoils home.

Yesterday I took two large strong plastic bags to the bank, they have to be strong these days. The bank only had brown bricks of the twenty thousand dollar notes - That gave me enough money to buy my weekly groceries.

Now HeeHoo and I are Derby and Joan, just the two of us, so I would hate to think how many plastic bags it would take to carry enough money to feed a family of five !!

We all got very excited when the purple notes appeared (the fifty thousand dollar note) so now our purple bricks in elastic banded bundles were worth twenty five million dollars !!

And just recently A HUNDRED DOLLAR NOTE !! GREEN IN COLOUR appeared on the scene !! Oh bliss !! Now our green bricks are worth FIFTY MILLION ZIMBABWE DOLLARS EACH !! (Enough to buy 250 loaves of bread )

My purse which was had become a quart/litre ziploc bag can now go back to being a pint / 600 ml ziploc bag !!

However on a far more sombre note .... my own personal way of dealing with a serious situation is to try and make light of it, to take the flippant stance, just to keep up one's own morale perhaps ?

But it is far more frightening than I am indicating. With our unemployment running at 90% according to the pundits, that would indicate that 90% of Zimbabwean housewives will have a purse that is stone cold empty. Their stomachs are also empty, their children' stomachs are empty and their hearts are empty.

And with our Cost Of Living rising at 30% per month, the ramifications are too horrifying to even contemplate.

I seldom use this column as a political platform, but if anyone is listening, this is a heartfelt cry for HELP for our people of Zimbabwe.

And so back to the paper clip, a real gem of an invention.....what to do with them all ?

I suppose we could hang them all in a row and use them as Christmas decorations, also quite useful to hang up the Christmas lights, but by then, will we be able to afford to pay for the electricity bill ...........

On the other hand I wonder what a paper clip tastes like ............