Monday, November 16, 2009

The Yichis Breef Returns - El Rey Samuel Gronem de Menubal de Toracinia


The eldest son of Don Hayim Vital, El Rey Samuel Gronem de Menubal de Toracinia, brought the reputation of the de Menubal family to new lows with a whole host of schemes and scams which took advantage of the least fortunate of the population of the entire Spanish Empire.

Indeed, his infamous "Flores de Toracina" scam was known as far afield as what is now Tangier, Morocco and was then part of Spanish Andalucia.

First of all, El Rey Samuel Gronem was the first Jew in the Spanish empire to take on a non-Jewish and non-Arabic name. Somewhere, he had heard the name Geronimo, and decided that he would have a better chance of having his new medical discovery accepted if he added this name to his own, because at the time it was an unusual name. However, in Jewish pronunciation, it was truncated to Gronem (note: this is NOT a correct etymology for the name Shmuel Groinem and applies only to descendants of the de Menubal family, most of whom only exist on the section 8, welfare, Medicaid and SSI rolls and list Rabbi Dovid Azazel Schmoigerman or one of his wives as their legal guardian).

And El Rey Samuel Gronem, who indeed was recognized by himself and his handful of loyal subjects as the king of Toracinia after the passing of his extinguished father, also claimed to be a skilled physician, in the tradition of many Jews of the region.

But this self appointed king and physician was actually an expert in bloodletting not of the medical variety but of the financial sort. And his fortune was based on the "discovery" of an interesting species of flower growing in the precincts of Toracinia. It was yellow and of no particular beauty, but its real interest to the budding pharmaceutical tycoon was its reproductive form, in which it sprouted a ball of puffy white seeds that would disperse with the wind and eventually grow into yellow flowers before reaching the puffball stage.

If you guessed that the "Flores de Toracinia" were but common dandelions, you would be one hundred and fifty per cent correct, one hundred and fifty per cent being the wholesale markup which was charged by the "Compania Santa de Flores de Toracinia" - the "Holy Company of the Flowers of Toracinia" for packages of either the dried or fresh flowers or the white, puffy seeds.

And what were these seeds supposed to do for whoever ate or inhaled them? Well, the only people who could attest to their benefits were the "Locos de Toracinia," the insane folk who had been living in caves and mountain dugouts in the rocky, infertile region. Yet, the great pharmaceutical tycoon to be, the one and only El Rey Samuel Gronem de Menubal de Toracinia, would transcribe their stories of visions of grandeur, of increased energy, of being great noblemen and kings, and claim that all of this was due to their ingestion of the Flores de Toracinia.

In short, the self appointed king and florid scammer claimed to be selling hallucinogens. But to those for whom hallucination did not appeal, he claimed that eating the seeds as opposed to inhaling them would produce a calming effect, even for rambunctious children and teenagers. Yes, this great medical discovery was the predecessor to Ritalin, in that it supposedly caused hallucinations in susceptible individuals while calming others.

And who would decide what category each customer belonged in and therefore what price he would pay? Why, of course, a veritable army of gullible salesmen who themselves had to pay an initial fee of hundreds of reals in authentic currency to buy their own stock.

Yes, El Rey Samuel Gronem de Menubal de Toracinia was also the predecessor of Herbalife, Amway, and other MLM programs, both legitimate and in the case of its founder, completely spurious. Regardless of how many packages of Flores de Toracinia each "marco" (the first name used by the salesmen regardless of their actual name also became a term of derision for their customers and was the source of the term "mark" for a sucker who is recruited for a de Menubal type scam) sold, the "Compania Santa" would make a huge profit, for dandelions grow like weeds even in rocky Toracinia.

But the millions of reals in profit that came into the coffers of sovereign Toracinia, along with the profits from its debased currency that still was exchanged for actual gold at a ratio of 1:80, was not enough for its king.

He soon turned his greedy eyes toward a particularly weatherbeaten and unappetizing section of the Moorish fortress that had purportedly existed in Toracinia and was now a heap of rubble. The castle was still known as "Crede des Moros" - "The Faith of the Moors," and soon it would be put to use as a medical treatment facility of a type similar to a modern day facility in Queens, New York that bears a similar name.

In other words, El Rey Samuel Gronem de Menubal de Toracinia would build an insane asylum amidst the ruins of his purported fortress. While the patients may have been insane, its founder's motive in building the new hospital was, as always, pure greed.

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