Funny money



Jane Austin purists put their tea cups down with a clunk this week when the Bank of England displayed a mockup of the planned 10 pound note that will honor the author. It’s the quotation from Pride and Prejudice on the bill that’s left them aghast: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

The Guardian calls it a blunder. … “The trouble is that these words are spoken by one of Austen’s most deceitful characters, a woman who has no interest in books at all,” the paper says. “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of” — from Mansfield Park — would be more appropriate, the paper reports.

Time magazine calls the Pride and Prejudice quotation a “false note” on an otherwise grand idea. And it got writer Lev Grossman to thinking: Wouldn’t it be great to honor American authors on U.S. currency. Some of Time’s suggestions:

Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Money often costs too much.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” (Or the less obvious, but to me more profound: “The victor belongs to the spoils.”)

Edith Wharton: “The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it.”

But I’d rather see funny money. Some of my suggestions:

Johnny Carson: “The only thing money gives you is the freedom of not worrying about money.”

Will Rogers: “A fool and his money are soon elected.”

Bob Hope: “A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.”

George Carlin:  “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”