Thursday, February 28, 2008

Profligate, prodigal, and a bit of Vermont humor

The words defined below bring to mind UVM professor Francis Colburn's "The Parable of the 600 Gold Pieces," about the young man from Eden Mills, Vermont, who inherited 600 gold pieces from his maiden aunt Lettie.
He headed off for that modern Sodom -- Burlington, Vermont -- then returned two weeks later, stony broke and hung over. The young man sat and took a reckoning -- where did Aunt Lettie's 600 gold pieces go?
"Well," he thought, "I spent 150 of them on alcoholic beverages, 150 on sightly women, 150 on games of chance." But what of those last 150 gold pieces, where did they go? "Them,' concluded the young man, 'I must have squandered."
(from the LP A Graduation Address, by Francis Colburn, (c) 1962)

profligate (PROF-li-git, -gayt) [From Latin profligatus, past participle of profligare (to strike down, to ruin), from pro- (forth, down) + fligere (to strike).] adj. 1. Recklessly extravagant; wasteful. 2. Given over to dissipation; dissolute. n. -- A profligate person.
Despite Bank Markazi's tsunami of petrodollars, the IMF has warned that profligate state spending spells future budget deficits.
-- Matein Khalid; Iran: Sanctions, Geopolitics and the Economy; Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates); Jan 7, 2007.

prodigal [from Latin prodigere --to drive away -- pro- forth and agere to drive ] adj. recklessly extravagant; n. a spendthrift

Then there were the New York State counterfeiters who got tired of printing tens and 20s and made up some $18 bills. They drove up to Eden Mills, Vermont, walked into the General Store.
"You got any of those smoking cigareetes?" asked a counterfeiter.
"I believe I do," said the storekeeper.
"Could you change an $18 dollar bill?" asked the counterfeiter.
"I believe I could," replied the storekeeper. "Would you like three sixes or two nines?"

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