There's this Romanian expression going "ori la bal, ori la spital". A bal would be a high falootin' affair, something involving countesses, fine dentellerie & fine chocolaterie, all that stuff chicks like. And dancing, of course, and guys in colorful uniforms, like for instance red, or blue, or both. Spital is the hospital, and the meaning of the entire phrase is a sort of live free or diei, we either make it or else we're screwed sort of proposition.
Well... it just so happens that I found the source. It's French, and it reads as follows :
Lundi, j'achetai des actions;
Mardi, je gagnai des millions;
Mercredi, j'arrangeai mon ménage,
Jeudi, je pris un équipage,
Vendredi, je m'en fus au bal,
Et Samedi, à l'hôpital.
Which is to say, Monday I bought shares, Tuesday I made millions, Wednesday I went shopping, Thursday I bought a new car, Friday I went partying and Saturday I was in the hospital. The entire thing proposes to satirize the perceived ill effects John Law's landbank and land-backed paper money brought upon the kingdom of France in a string of financial nonsense known to this day as the Mississippi bubbleii. In practice Law was a sort of Keynesian a la Krugman or Bernanke : inflating the money supply was proposed as the universal cure for the corruption of the bureaucracy, the ruinous expenses of the President, the general laziness and uselessness of the population, everything was to be resolved by the Quantitative Easing of the times. Pro tip : it didn't work.iii
I fished the ditty out of the pleasant "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Mackay, which much to your good fortune is made available online by the Project Gutenberg, and I'd be willing to bet that I'm pretty much the only Romanian alive who knows of this root of that particular expression.
In closing, tits.
- Which reminds me : New Hampshire population dropping at accelerating rate as millions unable to live free die. [↩]
- Just a few years before the same sort of madness hit England and extracted out of Sir Newton the observation that the folly of men is more refractory to his numerical methods than the movements of astral bodies. [↩]
- It did however lead to making specie illegal to posses. [↩]