Saturday, 27 April 2013

The German Banker

I must give you some background on Herbert Von Wolfswinkle. As human beings, we are programmed to make sense of our surroundings and this puzzle called life. Von Wolfswinkle was, is, one of those riddles that takes some working out.

His career in the Wolfswinkle family bank was unremarkable prior to the banking collapse of 2008. For the first 50 years of his life he was a great disappointment to his father. Whilst other banks flourished in the devil-may-care years of government, corporate, and private borrowing, the Bank of Wolfswinkle stuck to old fashioned ideas of financial rectitude and the quaint idea that they should only loan, more or less, money which they actually had access to. Qualification for a Wolfswinkle corporate loan was an arduous process which few companies could complete.

One of the rare exceptions was Monsaint Medical Instruments, whose then chief executive, Melody Bigger, wove her spell on Herbert and got him to put his hand in his substantial trouser pocket. This largesse financed Monsaint's rapid expansion in the nineties.

But I digress. When the collapse happened and governments surveyed the smouldering remains of the the banking system, there, standing amongst the ruins, intact and solvent, was the Bank of Wolfswinkle. It's eponymous chairman was suddenly a hero for being tight and not going bust.

As banking contagion spread and threatened the collapse of the politicians' dream of a prosperous, united Europe, Von Wolfswinkle was propelled into a significant post in the European Central Bank. His role was to put some steel into the Eurobonds committee and make sure that Germany did not foot the entire bill for Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Irish pensions. He was flattered and took to his new role like a duck to water.

Unfortunately, as many in similar positions have found, his tireless civic duty placed a strain on his long marriage to Francine Beauregard Von Wolfswinkle. Even liberal use of Viagra could not repair marital relations. They came to an accommodation. He would keep quiet about her affair with the handsome head of the Federation of European football, and she would stand resolutely and publicly at his side whilst he indulged his voyeurism with intelligent and attractive young women. But Francine, a severe woman, did not believe in equality. Whilst she was allowed every Frenchwoman's right to have once-fit footballer in her bed, he was allowed only to look, not touch.

I did say it was a puzzle.

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