i wish i was a wonderful storyteller. no, i don’t even need to be a wonderful storyteller. but being able to share a decent story every once in a while would be wonderful.
i just finished reading ‘el hablador’, the storyteller – a brilliant novel writen by the peruvian author, mario vargas llosa. the machiguenga, an amazonian tribal group highlighted in this novel have one of the richest oral histories. and vargas llosa, un hablador himself does such a wonderful job sharing this story with reader. and i’m so jealous.
and today, my 75 year old accounting professor told us stories for an hour and a half. and they were wonderful. as a fraud auditor, he spent years searching out fraud; meeting and taking down some of corporate america’s smartest criminals.
here are a few wonderful stories from today. in the 1930’s, during the heat of the great depression, a large pharmaceutical company purchased millions of dollars of crude drugs. stock prices went up in the failing stock market, something unheard of in the late 30’s. audit went on as usual and the external auditor found noting unusual. the warehouse where they were storing all of their recently purchased inventory was right across the street from the office of the audit firm in montreal, nothing wrong was found there. why? because the warehouse didn’t exist, but the auditor didn’t even realize. all of the invoices received with the inventory were stamped with ‘shipped via company truck’. the goods were coming from johannesburg, south africa. think about it. needless to say, it was all a scam. no pharmaceuticals were ever purchased. and in the middle of the depression, they conducted a 15 million dollar fraud.
my professor paid 93.35 a year to go to college. and to cover some of the costs, him and his friend went door to door selling kitchen gadgets. well his friend did. he went door to door being obnoxious, trying to sell little odds and ends that clearly no one wanted to buy. and then my professor went door to door the next week selling ‘no solicitor’ signs. for 50 cents a piece. and he’d bought them for 2 cents. they shared the profits and they both walked away rich.
now i’ve just told you two terrible stories and you probably struggled to read through them. give me a break, i’m trying. but i’m no hablador, so forgive me.