I remember as a kid hearing the term mackerel being used as another way of saying money. Maybe it was because I grew up in NY, with organized crime being part of the culture, that it was acceptable to use these weird terms to describe how much some things cost. Remember on The Sopranos they used "boxes of spaghetti" as their secret code? Anyway, a recent article in the WSJ discusses how prisoners actually now use mackerel as their form of currency. For those not in the know, cigarettes were the currency of choice but that changed as prisons started prohibiting smoking. Today, mackerel sales are only popular to prisoners as no one else really wants to eat the darn thing! In other words, they are basically just a symbol. Each item or service in prison has a mackerel rate that can be bartered for. This whole prison mackerel economy proves that the free market can even work for criminals. Here is another form of currency that you may have heard of - relative value unit or RVU. The RVU or WRVU is a form of currency used by the federal government to value medical services. It is an example how the free market is ignored and the value of services are skewed when determined by the ignorant. Personally, I have been using the WRVU system for years and it is so complicated and slanted to proceduralists that I would rather use mackerel - and risk getting a shim in the ribs or violated in the shower. Wait a minute, that is already happening with today's medical payment system.