(RNN) – You might think things couldn't get worse for a man with a mountain of unpaid bills, no money and a wife who doesn't cook.
Oh, but you would be wrong.
An Australian man who was feeling the effects of the sluggish economy sold his sports car to make the payment on his house, and the transaction brought in $15,000 Australian, which is about $15,652 in U.S. currency.
For reasons unknown, he decided the safest place to hide the money would be in the oven.
But the man, who declined to identify himself out of embarrassment, got a smoky surprise when his wife fired up the oven to prepare a nice, hearty meal of chicken nuggets.
His comments were heart-rending, and more than a little hard to believe, in a dog-ate-my-homework sort of way:
"I've got nothing to my name. That money was supposed to go towards my mortgage," the man told an MSN affiliate in Australia. "I told them, 'I'll pay tomorrow,' but then the money was burnt."
There are two hard-won lessons here. First, men should inform their wives of important things like, say, humongous sums of cash stashed in odd places - particularly ovens.
Second, if you are looking for a good place to stash massive piles of money, avoid placing it near anything flammable. Because south of the equator, even though the toilets may flush in the opposite direction, other laws of physics, such as paper burning when it gets hot enough, are in full effect.
The man's wife was so distraught after the accident she cried uncontrollably and struggled to breathe.
Her train of thought is easy to follow:
Husband doesn't mention a bunch of money in oven. Money gets destroyed. Family now broke. Bank breathing down your neck.
Yep, all good reasons to get hysterical. But, hopefully, all is not lost.
The Reserve Bank of Australia will still honor damaged currency for the full value of the note if it is less than 20 percent damaged. Any damage between 20 to 80 percent is honored depending on how severe the damage is.
Any more than 80 percent and - sorry, buddy, you'll have to find something else large to sell that will rake in a lot of quick cash. Do you have about two dozen friends and family members who could spare their kidneys?
So as long as the money is still somewhat recognizable, and not, say, indistinguishable from newspaper ashes in a fireplace, our friend Down Under might still get that mortgage check to the bank on time.