After World War I, Germany experienced a …

million-mark-billAfter World War I, Germany experienced a period of ridiculous inflation so rapid that, reportedly, the value of a cup of coffee could double during the time it took to drink it. This also meant that everyday goods could suddenly be priced at millions or billions of marks (with salaries changing just as fast). As a result of the sudden confusion and anxiety that accompanied every purchase (“Is 50,000 marks a lot for a can of beans?” “Well, you can get a cup of coffee for 35,000 marks — oh, wait, they changed it again …“), Germany saw the rise of a brand new and unique mental disorder specific to that place and time: zero stroke. The persons afflicted with the malady are perfectly normal, except “for a desire to write endless rows of ciphers…“. Cashiers, bookkeepers, and bankers were most prone to this affliction. Besides a compulsion to write endless strings of zeros, individuals who suffered from this condition would reportedly become confused when referring to numbers and would state that they were 10 billion years old or had 40 trillion children.

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