Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » If it is too good to be true...


This was wise advice I received from my mother growing up. My descendents were Czech immigrants that came from overseas to provide for their family. They were not scared of hard work and believed that hard work paid off. I grew up hearing stories of my great-grandparents farming and raising pigs. They would butcher the pigs and nothing would go to waste. We called it head cheese; my ancestors called it “huspenina or sulc.” I called it “yuck.” If I closed my eyes, didn’t ask what was in it, and maybe pinched my nose I would probably like it.

Back in my undergraduate days, I remember the professor commenting, “One good reason never to start a heresy is because your name will be forever remembered for it.” Hence we have the Arian Heresy, Nestorian Heresy, Pelagian Heresy, and Manichaeism among others.

Why the heck do I bring this up? Well today is the birthday of a business heretic if you will. Charles Ponzi was born on this day in 1882. I would not consider him a scam artist, rather a career scammer. He went through multiple years in jail which seemed to teach him nothing. He even lied to his mom about being in prison by telling her he got a job as a prison warden’s assistant without telling her he was also living behind bars. Ponzi is a great example trying to make a quick buck at the expense of others. Many that were also deceived by him were also interested in something “to good to be true.” Ponzi’s dream of having money came true, but because of the way he received, lying, cheating, and scamming, it went as fast as it came. He ended up dying a poor man. He put money first in his life and when our hierarchy of goods is out of order, we end up losing even what we think is first.