imes are tough. We all have to think of new ways to make ends meet. Fair warning: from now on whenever someone tells me, “You can help most by staying out of the way,” I’ll be sending an invoice. Also, every time I have to set someone straight on his or her political opinions I’ll ask for a donation. I can give change. But I need a business plan. Everybody needs a business plan.
They say you should pick an activity you’re good at and enjoy doing, and the money will start coming in later. Pouring in, probably. But let’s be realistic: no one’s going to pay me to masturbate while eating noodle soup. (Could be an idea for a diet book, though!)
They say you should aim high and be willing to take risks. So my business plan is to go around visiting observation decks on the tops of skyscrapers. The Sears Building, the Empire State—what the hell, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Once I get up there I’ll leap over the barriers and stand teetering on top of the railing at the very edge and wait for security. When they beg me to come down I’ll say, “What’s it worth to ya?” Hold a little auction.
My alternate business plan is to win the Nobel Prize. In something. What’s easiest? Probably not chemistry.
The movies! Recession-proof. My revised business plan is to sell the concept for a major blockbuster motion picture (early summer or pre-Christmas release) about an unremarkable unemployed guy who somehow meets this beautiful wealthy blonde and she miraculously falls in love with him. It’s a great idea. Just needs to be fleshed out a little. The producer can do that. I can direct it. Act, too. I’m thinking Scarlett Johansson for the female lead. Or maybe Uma Thurman. Some sex. But tasteful, you know. Nice.
Wait a minute—why not live the dream? My updated business plan is to hang out all day every day in luxury hotel lounges nursing a club soda (twist) and waiting for a wealthy beautiful blonde to miraculously fall in love with me. Brunette’s O.K. too, I guess. When she asks what I do I’ll say I’m working on a screenplay.
Now I’m starting to regret my old plan of forming an internationally successful metal band. I probably should have waited until I learned to play an instrument before getting this full-face tattoo. Damn.
My fallback business plan is to scour the classifieds for “item of value found” ads. I’ll contact those Good Samaritans and if they won’t tell me what it is they found so I can make up a plausible story about how I’m the rightful owner, I’ll find out where they live, go over there and browbeat it out of them.
Real estate! That’s still where the big money is long-term. I’m going to buy a house, fix it up, tear it down, build a new one, trash it, fix it up, and then resell it at a price that reflects my investment.
My rainy-day business plan is to do a poll of everyone in the phone book to find out what their superstitions are, do everything everybody considers to be good luck all on one day and then buy a lottery ticket.
I’m going to open a wine store that sells only the rarest, most expensive vintages. I’ll stack all the bottles in high, steep pyramids like a house of cards so whenever anybody tries to take one at least twenty will fall and shatter all over the floor. There’ll be a sign by the cash register that says, “You broke it you bought it, Buster!” And to keep overhead down I¹ll make customers clean up their own messes.
I’m going to learn to cross my eyes in spectacularly freakish ways: one eye looking up, the other down, then slowly switching; one staring straight ahead while the other does 360s in alternating directions … Just think of all the practical applications!
During election years I’ll go around offering people $100 each not to vote, and then I’ll the charge the political parties $200 per voter not to pay them.
I’m going to invent transparent paper towels. Rolls of soft, absorbent tissue but perfectly crystal clear. The main application will be to maintain office equipment hygiene when people photocopy their asses.
No, wait, I’ve got it: my final business plan is to be so relentlessly loud and obnoxious people will pay me money to go away. Then I won’t go away.