FROM FUNGI TO FUNGIBLE

What comes to mind when you read or hear the word FUNGI or FUNGUS?

Athlete’s foot? More likely you would think of moulds and yeasts in terms of cheeses and breads. You might even think of mushrooms.

I am pleased to report that we have enjoyed some light rain at last. Within a day these fungi sprang up in the leaf mould next to our driveway.

fungi

Now, what about FUNGIBLE?

In legal terms fungible refers to moveable perishables that can be estimated by number of weight, such as wine or grain. The Latin root is fungi, meaning – not mushrooms this time – ‘to perform in place’. Essentially, in our daily lives fungible refers to things that are interchangeable. If you lend someone money or sugar you do not expect the same bank note or the exact sugar grains in return – as long as you receive the same amount. These are all fungible items.

Your binoculars, cell phone and your favourite book are not. You are unlikely to appreciate a substitute of these items if the person who had borrowed them had either lost or broken them.

favourites

Many years ago a friend borrowed my copy of Watership Down by Richard Adams. It got water damaged and so she kindly replaced it with a new copy: same story, same author, even the same publisher. The difficulty for me though is that the cover now sports a still from the film instead of the beautiful drawing of rabbits that my original copy had. I have never opened it. The book was nonfungible in my eyes.

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