Mona: Phew. You really stink! Where have you been?!
Lisa: The dumpster downstairs.
Mona: Why? Did you accidentally drop something valuable in the garbage?
Lisa: No. I was just trying to get rich.
Mona: Hm-mm. You lost me there. You were trying to get rich by sitting in a rubbish skip?
Lisa: You see, I read on the paper this morning that a woman in New York found a painting when she scavenged rubbish bins for discarded articles of bric-a-brac. It turned out that the painting was a stolen painting of a really famous painter. The painting’s estimated value is about one million US dollars! Although she returned the painting to its original owner, she was rewarded fifteen thousand US dollars, still a fortune for someone as poor as I am.
Mona: Ok, now I am starting to get some inklings of what you are trying to do. I do hear stories like that from time to time. But there must be cleaner ways to do it.
Lisa: I consider it necessary sacrifice for getting rich. There is an old Chinese saying that describes exactly that: “You cannot get hold of a tiger’s son without going into the tiger’s house.”
Mona: Er, there may be a Chinese saying like that, but your translation is definitely lousy.
Lisa: Ok, “the tiger’s cave” may be better than “the tiger’s house”. But anyways, you have to dig deep for the good things.
Mona: I don’t even want to ask how deep you dug. So did anything turn up?
Lisa: Not really. The only thing that remotely resembles a painting is this 1000-piece glow-in-the-dark jigsaw puzzle.
Mona: Urgh! Take it away from me, it stinks even more than you do. I recommend this news story to you. (Handing Lisa the newspaper she is reading.) That is what I call a clean treasure hunt.
Lisa: (Reading) “A Berlin student found a baroque painting stashed in a second-hand couch she bought at a flea market.” Wow, the painting fetched her 19,200 euros. Sitting on a sofa bed seems much more comfortable than diving into a garbage bin. Hmm… where is that dusty armchair Grandma forced us to accept as a family heirloom?
(Lisa went to the storage room and, moments later, came out triumphantly.)
Lisa: Mona! We are going to be rich. I think I found a really valuable painting!
Lisa: See, this brightly colored painting is painted on a wooden panel, just like the “Mona Lisa.” I think this is probably some modernist parody of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece. The artist turns it into an abstract painting to express the modern sense of alienation and anxiety…
Mona: Hahahahaha. Lisa, seriously, you are not so much of an art aficionado as you might imagine. That wooden panel is our old closet door that I found in the garbage when I was five, and I was painting you. Lisa, I declare that you have found an authentic piece of trash, congradulations!