PAY ATTENTION, because today I'm going to pass along a foolproof method for getting unbelievably rich.
I heard about it from a guy who sat next to me on an airplane. Usually, the people I wind up next to on planes do not give out useful information; they give out either bodily aromas or weird noises. For example, several months ago I flew across country next to a man who, every 15 seconds for the entire flight, emitted, from somewhere deep in his nasal passages, a sound that, if you had to spell it out, would be along the lines of "SNAWNK!"
The first time I heard this noise, I jerked my head out of my newspaper and looked under my seat, because I thought a wild boar had got loose on the plane and was rooting around for dropped peanuts. But then I heard it again, and I realized, to my horror, that it was coming from the guy next to me. The noise permeated everything, including the in-flight movie, which was "Titanic." In the climactic scene, wherein Jack slipped into the frigid depths, and Rose, overcoming her despair, raised the whistle to her lips to signal the rescue boat - to choose life over death - the triumphant, life-affirming noise she made was: "SNAWNK!" I expected the rescuers to say: "Boars! Let's get out of here!"
I have also flown next to men (it's always men) who suck their teeth hard enough to remove the enamel; and men who have bad head colds but refuse to blow their noses, choosing instead to keep loudly snorting their nasal contents back inward, as if they're saving them up to make a large donation to the Mucus Bank. There's nothing like listening to this sound while you're trying to eat airline food, which is already enough of a challenge. I was on a flight where, for breakfast, they served us a cold, dense slice of a substance labeled "Carrot-Pineapple Bread." You wonder how a thing like that could happen. My guess is that there was an accident at the bread factory.
But getting back to my original point: My airline seatmates have never given me any useful information ... until I sat next to this guy who told me a foolproof method for getting unbelievably rich. This guy was a very successful businessman who makes a lot of money. I could tell because he wore nice clothes and dropped subtle verbal hints, such as "I'm a very successful businessman" and "I make a lot of money." So I paid close attention when he revealed his money-making plan, which I knew right away was foolproof because it involved: the Internet.
The Internet is a huge financial fad right now, even bigger than Beanie Babies, and almost on a par with the Furby. If you have any kind of business idea involving the Internet, crazed investors will hurl money at you. You don't even have to have a full-fledged idea. Your idea needs to have only a tiny piece of a fledge, as long as it involves the Internet. Every day, in the newspaper business section, I read stories like this:
"Last Wednesday, 8-year-old Jason Sneepot told a second-grade classmate at Pine Fragment Elementary School that he was hoping to get a computer for Christmas so he could 'go on the Internet and do some stuff.' By Friday, Jason had merged with Netscape and his personal net worth was estimated at $790 million, which he says he plans to use to buy 'a yo-yo and the Indianapolis Colts.' "
I hope I don't sound like an old-fashioned stick-in-the-mud, but when I hear about people making vast fortunes without doing any productive work or contributing anything to society, my reaction is: "How can I get in on that?" So I was all ears when the guy on the plane revealed his foolproof plan for achieving vast wealth. The problem is that I have a mental defect - the medical profession calls it "English Major's Brain" - that makes me incapable of grasping any financial concept more complicated than my ATM secret code. So even though I listened to this guy so hard that my ears were bleeding, I did not totally 100 percent comprehend everything he said. It sounded to me like:
"OK, so you get your Web site, then you go offshore and set up a mooga, and then you tell the banks that you want to mooga mooga the interest rate, and then - this is the key part - you mooga your mooga, and then mooga mooga (something about a satellite) mooga mooga mooga! And you have all the money in the world!"
So there's the basic plan; all you need to do is figure out which specific financial terms should replace the moogas, and you're on your way to Fat City. Remember who told you, OK? And please blow your nose.
Pub Date: 12/27/98