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How To Get Rich Quick - Part 1
2000-10-25 Erik

Yesterday, I was talking to my POE staffmate Mark, co-owner of Bad Candy, co-star of the astounding Truck Guy motion picture series, and co-author of our own sub-Truck Guy, but otherwise fairly entertaining E32K coverage.   "Do you ever do anything by yourself?" I asked him.   He sighed and said "No.  Nothing good ever happens to me.  I'm prone to failure.  Let me tell you thi-"


Mark vs. Truck Guy

When I'm talking to people, sometimes I make the mistake of saying something or asking a question that might tend to turn the topic of conversation away from me, the things I'm interested in, and what I think about those things.  This seemed to be happening in my discussion with Mark.   "That's not so bad," I said, thinking quickly, "Something really great happened to me once, but then later I was beaten so savagely that I can't remember anymore what it was.  To make things worse, Chet knows exactly what the good thing that happened to me is, but he won't tell me."  And that's true.  Sometimes I'll be talking to Chet and he'll say something like "that's almost as good as the time you slept with Cheryl Tiegs - in her prime I'm talking about or at least just as she was beginning her descent into modern maturity."  I'll say "Oh my God!   Is that the good thing that happened to me?"  Then he says "Uh uh... No... That never happened to you," and it turns out that Chet manufactured the entire conversation just so he could make me feel bad.

"So considering what I have to deal with, you have it pretty easy, like one of those little baby Jesuses wrapped in swaddling clothes riding a sheep to Bethlehem." I told Mark.  When he didn't respond, I stuck out my arms, made fists, and moved my wrists up and down in an effort to evoke images of sheep riding using nothing but the Hawaiian art of pantomime.

After a few minutes spent doing that, Mark broke the silence.  "What we really need is something to turn our luck around.  We need some sort of plan.  Or a couple of those Ferraris like John Carmack and that whats-his-name - the Aztec with the long hair that you hate so much - drive around in.   That'd turn our luck right around.  You think there'll be enough cash for Ferraris when 'back end' time comes?"

I should mention here that Mark and I both have money problems.  Because of some papers Chet tells me I signed and verbal contracts Mark made with Chet, neither Mark nor I get paid for our work.  Chet says the two of us will get our salaries on "the back end".  Presumably, that's where the real money is.  Sometimes I ask Chet if it's the back end yet.  He used to answer "no, but soon!"  He eventually just started saying no.  Lately, he's too busy hobnobbing with his new famous friends, such as Lowtax of Something Awful, and providing free content to Planet Crap, to even talk to me or Mark.

"Maybe we could ask our readers for money, like Lowtax did," Mark suggested.

"You know what? Fuck that fancy fuckin bitch and his castle in Costa Mesa California that was built on the sweaty backs of the index fingers of a million working stiffs like you and me.  I'm gonna do right and get me a jay-oh-bee job." I said.  Mark started to mist up a little bit and I told him I was sorry, because the only thing he hates worse than candy made in Mexico is swearing.   And Mexicans.

But Mark didn't even acknowledge my apology.   He was weeping over some inspirational words he found in Daily Radar's review of Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.  He read me the unbelievable first paragraph:

To live life is to don a mask each and every day. Our true selves are seldom exposed to the world at large; to show everything to the people we must share our existences with would be to risk the ultimate rejection. We are what we think others want to see, and we live our lives doing this each and every day until it's impossible to tell where the mask ends and we begin. A mere decoration becomes a metaphor for humanity's hard time on planet Earth. We are the masks we wear.

"Oh my God.  Is it National Coming Out Day again already?  It's funny how that sneaks up on you every year," I said.  "Look, we can't get jobs.  Remember a few seconds ago when I spelled 'job'?  I'm kind of tired just from doing that much work.  A regular job would kill me.  I can't remember if this is from Daily Radar's review of Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask or something Jewel said, but I think it's worth repeating:  'We are what we think others want to see, and we live our lives doing this each and every day until it's impossible to tell where the mask ends and we begin.'   Well, the mask ends right where I have to go get a job.  I'm not going to wear that mask even if it means exposing my true self to the world at large."

Mark agreed.  "But we have to wear some mask, such as any of the ones seen in Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, for that is to live life, my friend!  We are the masks we wear!

"It's true," I conceded.  I leaned back in my chair and began rubbing my chin.  "A man, Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask's Link for instance, may go maskless, but he risks the ultimate rejection!"

"Tell you what," Mark said, "I wish there was a mask that, instead of being a metaphor for humanity's hard time on planet Earth, was a metaphor for having a job.  And, you know, paid like a job.  But without me having to work or anything.  Because it's a metaphor."

Having exhausted every memorable line from Daily Radar's review of Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, we sat in contemplative, slack-jawed silence.  As usual, the all-male Isreali sport aerobics troupe that practices in the office next door had their radio tuned to NPR.  There was a program playing called "Get Rich Slow".  I don't know what exactly the show's about - sound financial advice, I think, which is great if you're already a fucking rollercoaster tycoon - but the host kept saying the title over and over again like a mantra, and suddenly it dawned on me.

Get Rich Slow.  Get Rich... Slow.  Get Rich!  Slow.  We certainly wanted to get rich.  Maybe this NPR guy was onto something.

"What if we get rich slow," I told Mark, "only we do it really fast."

For a second I thought Mark was going to punch me, which isn't much of a problem because, unlike the character he portrays in the Truck Guy films or Chet, Mark is a pussy.  Fortunately - for him - his initial look of disgust melted into one of intense contemplation and then into crazed delight.  "Wow!   An accelerated get rich slow scheme.  Sweet."

We quickly drew up a plan, which is based on the classic two-tiered get rich slow system.  During tier 1, we buy low.  That sets us up for tier 2, during which we sell high and reap the benefits of compound interest.  My radical insight is that we're going to drastically compress the time between tier 1 and tier 2.   "How?" you ask.  Simple: volume.  Mark and I pre-booked a Playstation 2 back in February.  Thanks to Sony's inability to produce more than half a million Emotion Engines before "Countless Happy Funs Day: Jet" or whatever the Japs call Christmas, a single Playstation 2 is the equivalent of a giant warehouse jammed with any other product you may have heard of, including Playstation 2 software - which outnumbers Playstation 2 hardware by about a million-billion to one.

Tomorrow, we kick off our Get Rich Much Less Slowly Scheme when Mark picks up our Playstation 2.  Then we're going to sell it for, hopefully, a hundred times what it's worth to some rich knucklehead on Ebay.  Over the next week, we'll be reporting on all the heartbreak and triumph of our newest modified get rich slow scheme.  Thanks to the descriptive magic of photographs and adjectives, you'll be there from the moment Mark arrives at the mall, to the moment we both roll around in the shipping crate filled with cash that will be the only accepted payment in our Ebay auction.  Stay tuned for a big update tomorrow.

Read Part 2


Our ticket to riches.  I blacked over the parts of the receipt where Mark had taped pictures he cut out of Shaved Snizz magazine.

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