Rome - The most famous video game character the world has ever known has been appointed prime minister of Italy. In the latest attempt to get Italy's debt crisis under control, Nintendo's Mario has been put in charge of Europe's third-largest economy.
A plumber by trade and an unlikely superhero by profession, Mario has an unprecedented track record in wrenching happy outcomes from world threatening disasters.
Mario has rescued the Mushroom Kingdom from certain doom countless times. And he has proven to be the only superhero who can consistently kick Donkey Kong's ass.
But according to Italy's Chief Finance Minister, Garibaldi Tuttsi, the Italian government is particularly interested in one of Mario's other unique talents.
"We plan on having him hit the reset button on our $2.6 trillion in debt," the minister said. "That way we could start the whole game over again and have Mario rack up millions of points for the future. Hey, does anyone know the exchange rate for magic mushrooms and euros?"
As expected, the lender nations are less than thrilled with the idea of having Italy zero-up what it owes. In fact, they have already announced counter strategies. Germany plans to appoint to its military characters from the video game Blitzkrieg.
"We have run down the boot of Italy before, and we will do it again if necessary," said Germany's defense minister Rudolf Zinster. "This time we will find the golden buckle, and remove it to the German treasury. Heil... I mean have a good day."
In the US, that nation's financial industry has selected the video game series Halo to counter Italy's Mario move. "We will actually be wearing halos to seem wise and beneficent," said Lloyd Blankfein, chairman of Goldman Sachs. "Of course, that doesn't mean we won't get tough."
"You saw what we did to those Occupy Wall Street punks," added Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase. "We shouldn't have any problem with that roly-poly plumber."
Great Britain has pledged to take care of any military intelligence that may be required, placing the entire Murdoch family and the Board of Directors of News Corp. in charge.
Japan, the world's chief exporter of nuclear radiation, just plans to send a little higher dosage Italy's way.
Military strategists warn that such actions could set off World War III. "But on the other hand, war would help jumpstart the world's economy," one expert said. "That is, what's left of it."