A woman who swal­lowed some big bucks

Springfield Sun - - OPIN­ION -

There was a short item in a news mag­a­zine a cou­ple of weeks ago that said a woman in Colom­bia ate $9,000. Her hus­band found that she had hid­den money from him. When he de­manded a share, she be­gan eat­ing $100 bills, ac­cord­ing Jim Smart to the ar­ti­cle.

She soon was Of All

hav­ing pains and Things was taken to the hospi­tal, where, said the ar­ti­cle, $5,700 was re­moved from her stom­ach in good con­di­tion. The rest of the bills were ru­ined by “gas­tric flu­ids,” a sur­geon re­ported.

This left me puz­zled. The in­gested cur­rency was de­scribed in U.S. dol­lars. Was she re­ally hoard­ing our kind of money?

The ba­sic Colom­bian bill is the peso, which tends to wa­ver a bit in value, but re­cently has been rated at ap­prox­i­mately 3,000 pe­sos equal­ing one of our dol­lars. If she ate $9,000 worth of pe­sos, that would equal about $27 mil­lion in our dol­lar bills.

I as­sumed that if she used lo­cal money, she prob­a­bly did her cash swal­low­ing in bills of higher de­nom­i­na­tions. On­line, I found pic­tures of some Colom­bian bank notes, and they do look tasty, if one feels the need to eat them.

I would rec­om­mend the bluish pas­tel 20,000 peso bill, which has a pic­ture of Julio Gar­cia Armero, a Colom­bian as­tronomer, on one side and the moon on the other. Each bill is worth about $9.70 Amer­i­can.

Af­ter read­ing about the in­ci­dent in the mag­a­zine, I checked on the in­ter­net. Most sources re­ported the amount de­voured as $7,000. Many also spec­i­fied that amount as com­ing in U.S. dol­lars. One TV net­work made it $9,400. The over­all re­port­ing was rather, to quote an old Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch ac­quain­tance, “slip-slop.”

A Bri­tish news ser­vice on­line claimed that “she swal­lowed around 57 hun­dred dol­lar notes,” and il­lus­trated the re­port with a stock photo of a pile of $100 Ben Franklins.

A Cana­dian news site called Global News had pho­tographs of sur­geons ad­mir­ing, spread out on a ta­ble, the ac­tual bills pulled from the woman’s in­nards, and they were U.S. hun­dreds.

The Bri­tish re­port quoted a sur­geon from the Univer­sity Hospi­tal of San­tander, who said that the money was neatly wrapped in rolls. Most were ex­trac­ted from an ori­fice opened in the stom­ach, he said, “through which some ex­tra rolls were found in the in­tes­tine, which ad­vanced to the colon, the lower part of the in­tes­tine, in or­der to be evac­u­ated by nor­mal means through the pa­tient’s in­testi­nal move­ments.”

He did not es­ti­mate the value of the money, pre­sum­ably ad­di­tional to the iden­ti­fied $5,700, that will ar­rive by those nor­mal means or guess its likely con­di­tion.

I be­came cu­ri­ous about the name of the hospi­tal and learned that it is not re­lated to the bank from Spain that has popped up in our area. San­tander is a city in Spain.

It is also the name of a Colom­bian de­part­ment (like a state) in the An­des, prob­a­bly named for Fran­cisco de Paula San­tander, an early 19th cen­tury Colom­bian po­lit­i­cal leader.

Its cit­i­zens, known as San­tandere­anos, are known for be­ing grouchy and out­spo­ken, though very gen­tle and friendly. One of their lo­cal food del­i­ca­cies is hormin­gas cu­lonas, which is roasted ants.

Adding to the un­pleas­ant­ness of re­search­ing the woman who ate the money, when I in­ves­ti­gated the sit­u­a­tion by typ­ing “woman eats money” into Google, that al­l­know­ing source also of­fered to pro­vide me with in­for­ma­tion on “woman eats baby,” “woman eats cat hair,” “woman eats mouse” and “woman eats mat­tress.” I de­clined the op­por­tu­nity. Visit colum­nist Jim Smart’s web­site at jamess­mart­sphiladel­phia.com.

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