Hartley: Whatcha looking for down there, Dr. Cornbeef? | AspenTimes.com

Hartley: Whatcha looking for down there, Dr. Cornbeef?

I love the underlying concept of gold, silver and gemstones, which basically boils down to this: Wars will be fought, empires will be toppled and countless millions of people will die because human beings like shiny things. That’s pretty much it. That’s what we’re about: We like shiny stuff enough to kill people for it. If that’s not a sign that we evolved from raccoons, I don’t know what is.

Then there’s “Cash for Gold!” which is based on the idea that we all have lots of useless gold lying around and we had no idea we could sell it. This is a perfect strategy because there must be millions of people out there just like me. I’ve been sitting on a huge pile of gold in a cave for years now. I had no idea I could get cash for it and move into a house. When did they invent that concept?

The best, though, is our fascination with buried treasure. From books to movies, “Treasure Island” to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” we all go nuts for buried treasure. It just makes me wonder: When in our history did people accumulate so much treasure that they needed to bury some of it? That seems like an odd thing for people to do with their excess treasure. I bet they didn’t realize they could get cash for it instead.

A shipwreck is one thing. If a ship goes down, there’s a reasonable chance that there could be valuable stuff on board, and if you want to dive down and look for it, that could be a good use of your time. But buried treasure is totally different. Buried treasure means going and digging a big hole somewhere in the hopes that someone had no use for their treasure and decided to bury it there and never come back for some reason.

It all seems pretty illogical, and yet people still lose their minds over tales of buried booty. The most recent example, which made the news just last week, concerned a couple of treasure hunters in the town of Walbrzych, Poland, who thought they’d pinpointed the location of the legendary Nazi Gold Train.

The legend of the train goes something like this: In 1945, with the Russian army kicking their asses across Eastern Europe, fleeing Nazi soldiers were so weighed down by all their treasure that they took the time to fill a train with gold and valuables and bury it in a secret tunnel under the Owl Mountains in what was then German territory but is now part of Poland.

Based on that story, people have been looking for the Nazi Gold Train for 71 years now, and no one has found anything. But last year, two explorers, a German and a Pole, claimed that they’d located something in a hillside next to some railroad tracks near Walbrzych using ground-penetrating radar. Last week, they spent $37,000 and used machines to dig three pits to look for what they assured the public was either a train or a tunnel or both.

Care to guess what they found?

The suspense is killing you, isn’t it?

In the words of their spokesman, the two explorers found “no train, no tunnel.” This confirmed the prediction of experts from a university in Krakow who did their own scan of the hillside and found nothing that would suggest a train or a tunnel was there.

It’s too bad, but ultimately it’s not a very surprising result. Although I can’t remember how “Treasure Island” ended, it seems to me like most other treasure hunts end with no treasure. Nazi Gold Train? Not so much. Al Capone’s vault? Nada. I mean, hell, seven people have died looking for the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, and no one has found a thing yet. That’s a pretty bad death-to-treasure ratio right there.

So, as for me, I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of hunting for buried treasure in my future. That would involve digging, which I don’t do unless I can’t fit all the bodies in my freezer. (By bodies, of course, I mean microwave corn dogs.)

And as for burying my excess treasure, I would totally have done it because I have so much treasure just sitting around my cave doing nothing, but apparently nowadays you can exchange gold and other shiny stuff for cash, so I think maybe I’ll go with that option instead.

What is Todd Hartley looking for? None of your damn business! That’s what he’s looking for. To read more or leave a comment, visit http://zerobudget.net.

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