If this is a practical joke, it requires money and effort

If this is a practical joke, it requires money and effort

Arnon Grunberg

Last year I was invited by a museum in Switzerland to write a text for an exhibition by a group of Java artists about hedging. I thought of a joke. The name of the museum (Zeughaus) and the place (Teufen) meant nothing to me, even though I thought I knew Switzerland well. And then this hedge.

Despite my hesitation, I wrote a text, and to make sure I wasn't the victim of a prank, I traveled to Teufen in early January.

The village, with a population of about six thousand people, is located in the canton of Appenzell Osserrhoden. In 2014, Swiss Radio reported that nearly four hundred millionaires lived in Teufen.

The museum's artistic directors, David and Lilia, took me from the station in Zurich to the famous Kronenhalle restaurant. As much as this was a practical joke, it required money and effort.

It turns out that David was a shy man who, as a student, earned extra money by wandering around airports as a live advertising column for certain books. He himself approached the publisher with this idea.

During the meal I learned that the museum had only been around for a short time and was housed in an armory dating back to the 1800s. There are still millionaires in Teufen. David himself was from Valais, and he gave me a book by the most famous writer in that canton, Maurice Shabazz. It was called Mackerel white crestsIn other words: eternal snow pimps.

We traveled late to Teufen. It rained. The former armory sparkled in the light of the lanterns.

“We can't stress enough how pleased we are with your script,” David said.

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The mountains were invisible, but I thought I heard the pimps of eternal snow roaring in the distance.

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