Ladies, there’s no need to be stupid

By Barbara Dinkel

Barbara DinketWelcome, gals, to another meeting of the Omaha Women’s Investment Club. To honor our tenth anniversary, we want to find something real nifty to invest in. I’ve been asked by Geraldine to present our idea.

Bitcoins. If you’re not familiar with Bitcoin, it’s a new currency. As you can see on this hand-drawn chart, the exchange value has gone up significantly since earlier this year. Sure, ladies, we are in a dip at the moment. It’ll go back up.

Sorry, Lillian, you’ll have to speak up. I didn’t catch that. Come again? Oh, what is Bitcoin, you ask? Certainly, Rose. Help yourself to the crumb cake. Does everyone have coffee? I can make some instant decaf.

Beg your pardon, Lillian? Oh, right. You want to know more about Bitcoin. Funny you ask! Geraldine’s grandson found some information for us on his computer. That’s right, he is a really neat fellow. Geraldine says he’ll be starting the eighth grade this year.

Grace, are you asleep or just playing possum? Could somebody wake Grace up?

Glance at the information in front of you. That’s fine. We have plenty of time.

So there you have it. All those in favor of purchasing six thousand dollars’ worth, raise your hand.

Lillian, what is it about “a digital currency created by an anonymous genius and secured by an open source cryptographic protocol” that you don’t understand?

Would anyone mind if I opened the window? I’m feeling a bit flushed. Oh, and before I forget, I’m passing around a collection basket for a present for Marion, who will celebrate her ninetieth birthday next week. Come on, gals. Fork over your two bits.

Lillian, I don’t wish to be unkind, but there’s no need to be stupid. “Digital” means it’s a line of ones and zeroes that represent other numbers and letters, a code if you will, which has a trade value.

What’s really nifty is that when we give our grandchildren birthday money, we will no longer need to send a check one month in advance. Hazel, you can just call up your granddaughter Christine, ignore the fact she pretends not to recognize your voice, and give her a code she can use to buy pretty sweaters and candy.

Lillian, I know abstract concepts aren’t your strong point, but do try to remove your head from your caboose. When I said anonymous, I meant that no one knows who issued the first bitcoins, if it was a person or even a group of people.

Before taking a vote, I want to remind you that the Elk’s Lodge is hosting a potluck next Saturday afternoon. They have all sorts of fun things planned, from a cakewalk to bingo. I’m going to make a fun salad. All in favor of bitcoins, raise your hands.

Lillian, you’re really starting to rile my feathers. Look, a bitcoin is a private code — called a “key” — that matches a public key, both of which are generated when powerful computers find a solution to dizzyingly complex blocks of problems. If you can’t make sense of that, then you’re a real nosebleed.

Shall we vote?

Grace, if you hadn’t been sleeping, then maybe you’d understand. What was your question? What do I mean by “a solution to a block of problems?” Well I’ll be darned. I feel like Geraldine and I are in a funny farm surrounded by a bunch of basket weavers. What I meant was that powerful computers calculate cryptographic hash functions, the reward of which is a bitcoin.

There it is, clear as day.

All in favor? Only two votes? Well gosh darnit. If  you can’t wrap your heads around the idea of “a digital currency created by an anonymous genius and secured by an open source cryptographic protocol,” then Geraldine and I need to find a new group.

You are all too stupid for words.