Sunday, June 29, 2008

Uttering A Forged Instrument

When I lived in a small town, south of Boston, I saw the yearly report from the police department. Someone was arrested for “Uttering,” or, more formally, “Uttering a forged instrument.”

In other words: Trying to cash a stolen check, or something to that effect.

Uttering was a new crime to me. Cashing, or presenting, or putting into circulation a stolen or forged check. Or a homemade dollar bill, I guess.

You can utter a word, but not a liquid asset; you’ll get in trouble. Actually, many people have found themselves in deep doo-doo because they uttered the wrong word at the wrong time to the wrong person. Usually after imbibed too much of “that which makes us infallible,” as one writer referred to alcohol.

Anyway, don’t utter forged instruments if you stand out, like, being as queer as a three-dollar bill. I’ve known many a person who has been thus described, but never seen a queer three-spot. And I’ve been around money enough.

No, has nothing to do with being gay; at least, not directly. “Queer” just means, at least in the dictionary, “differing from what is normal.” It also used to mean money that was fake, counterfeit. And what was more queer than a $3 bill? Anybody who was really off the center line became known to be “as queer as…”


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