A Coin in the Garbage
There is a legend (or they say there is) that, if you go to Rome, you can pitch pocket change into one of the fountains and it will draw you back to Rome. This is good if you enjoyed your first trip to Rome. If you were beaten and robbed on your first trip to Rome, for God's sake, don't drop any money in the fountain.
But that's not how fairy tales work. In the fairy tale, you go to Rome, you drop a quarter in the fountain, you magically return the next year, and you pick up where you left off with the raven-haired beauty who works at the gelato stand. Pretty soon, you marry her, and you bring her back to Iowa, and she opens your town's first gelato stand.
Actual fairy tales were often much darker. In the original fairy tales, kids got eaten by witches and giants and trolls. Children were a menu item in those days, like they are now.
People should have remembered that before they bought Alex Jones' brain pills, before they bought bitcoin, before they contributed money to "build the wall" and before they gave money to President Donald Trump to "stop the steal."
As it stands now, bitcoin is worthless, Alex Jones' brain pills don't even work on Alex Jones, the wall isn't built, and it seems like Trump may have used the "stop the steal" money to buy more solid-gold fingernails for that wolf-eyed wife of his.
You want to laugh, you really do, and it's easy to laugh if you didn't invest money in any of those things.
But you have to remember that, in the fairy tales, the kids don't WANT to get eaten by the troll.
The kids are just walking over the bridge, and the troll pops up and says, "Hey, wanna come down here and play video games? I got the new Assassin's Creed."
And the kids go, and there are no video games, and they end up in the toaster oven while the troll watches the Yankee game.
I want everyone to have the latest video game, even though I don't. I want everyone to have a new car, even though I don't. I want everyone to have a single-family home with a dishwasher, even though I don't.
I've lived among happy people who had good lives, and I've lived among unhappy people who had bad lives, and I liked the first group better.
So, I can't laugh at the people who went dead broke into bitcoin and came out dead broker. I can't laugh at the man or woman who sent $20 in grubbed-up paycheck money to save their country from the Mexicans or the Democrats.
The troll? He knows some kids are always going to believe there are video games under the bridge. Maybe only 30% of the kids are going to believe, but that'll keep a troll in business. A troll feeds on hope and belief and the tender flesh of the naive.
And a bunch of you can go under the bridge with flashlights and constitutions and writs and knives, and you can corner the troll.
And when you put the knife to his scaly throat, he'll squeak like the smallest of children, frightened and hurt.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion, and read features by Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, a collection of his best columns, is called "Devil's Elbow: Dancing in the Ashes of America." It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, and iBooks.