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Cash cows (and dogs and frogs) By Robrt Pela
It seems the animals are taking
over the world – or at least the world of excuse-making. And, they’re getting loads of help from man’s best friend and his compatriots. In Montana, a man claims he can’t pay his taxes because his dog ate his money; in New York, a man swears he can’t function because of a fear of frogs. Paul Marinaccio, a 65-year-old resident of Clarence, New York, last month became a millionaire when his property was swarmed with frogs during construction on a nearby real estate project. The developer had diverted water runoff towards Marinaccio’s home, and hundreds of puddle-loving frogs followed. Instead of rejoicing that his property would be fly-free, Marinaccio wigged out, thanks to a lifelong fear of frogs.
Fear sets in.
Marinaccio’s frog phobia stems from a childhood assault by a neighbor in his native Italy. The poor kid was out looking for figs to eat, he recently told the The New York Times, and was chased away by a man holding two large bullfrogs. Ever since, the sound of “riddip!” has filled him with fear. In 2006, Marinaccio sued Clarence, claiming that he couldn’t enter or leave his house because it was surrounded by big green croakers. “In the winter, it’s okay, because I know there’s no frogs,” Marinaccio told a court reporter. “But, in the summertime, I mean, I’m a damn prisoner in my own home.” The court ultiamtely awarded the anti-amphibian fellow $1.6 million.
Marinaccio would do well to keep that cash from Wayne Klinkel’s golden retriever, Sundance. The Montana man claims that he won’t be able to afford to pay this year’s taxes because his pup gobbled up five $100 bills when he was left unattended in his master’s car for 45 minutes. Klinkel has asked the federal government to replace the bills.
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