[Ads-l] Joke Origin: To double your money you should simply fold your bills

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 25 20:59:53 UTC 2023

Proselytizers for get-rich-quick schemes are ubiquitous online. A
popular joke describes a comically easy way to obtain illusory wealth.
Here are two versions:

(1) To get rich you should convert your money to bills. Next, you
should fold the bills, and you will double your money.
(2) The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and
put it in your pocket.

Recently, a participant on another mailing list posted a collection of
remarks attributed to Will Rogers which included a member of this
family. This message inspired me to examine this topic.

Barry Popik explored this joke. He focused on Kin Hubbard's version
(Frank McKinney Hubbard) and located a valuable instance in 1910.

Here are links to my exploration.
Full article:

The earliest match I located for a member of this family appeared in
1805 within “The Green Mountain Patriot” newspaper of Peacham,

[Begin excerpt]
A PUNSTER observing a person folding some bank bills, a few days
since, remarked, ‘You must be in excellent business, for I see you
double your money very easily.’
[End excerpt]

The 1805 wit remains anonymous. Kin Hubbard employed the joke in 1908.
The attribution to Will Rogers is unsupported.

Garson O’Toole

Here is a link to Barry's article:

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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