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Learning the Value of a Dollar
by Mad Dog


Money doesn’t grow on trees. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, but I finally figured it out after planting innumerable dollar bills in the backyard, only to find them missing.
     I used to think I knew the value of money. And well I should, since my parents spent many long, hard hours trying to drum the concept into my head, right alongside the joy of a clean bedroom, the redeeming social value of washing behind my ears, and the fact that feeding mothballs to the goldfish was a bad idea. Luckily, most of the lessons took. Okay, so I still tend to forget I have two ears. No one’s perfect, you know.

     According to my parents it came down to three simple rules:

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees.
  • The harder you work the more money you’ll make.
  • And no, you can’t have a bigger allowance.

     As it turns out they were right about two out of three, which is pretty good. Actually what’s good about it is that I actually admit to my parents having such a good record. It could get me ostracized from the League of Ungrateful Children if word gets around.

     The first rule is true—money doesn’t grow on trees. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, but I finally figured it out after planting innumerable dollar bills in the backyard, only to find them missing just about the same time my older brother was in the corner store buying huge bags of candy using dirt-covered money.



How do we, the average person who wants lots of money, manage to get enough to feed a spoiled child or pay off a gorgeous model-wife? Or buy one, for that matter.
     The next one, "The harder you work, the more money you’ll make", is definitely false. Personally, all I get more of when I work harder is tired and cranky. To look at the other side of this very thin coin, think about Bill Gates. I dare say he isn’t working any harder to earn his current net worth of $100 billion than he was when he was worth a measly $30 billion, so if the richest man in the world has scant motivation for getting out of bed in the morning, how can I?

     As for my allowance, well, let’s just say my parents are currently in arrears for $34,782.98 including accrued interest.

     While I managed to pick up a pretty decent feel for the value of money, apparently some people didn’t. Recently, Jerry Hall filed for divorce from Mick Jagger and is asking for $40 million. Ron Perelman, the head of Revlon, is being taken to court by his ex-wife, who’s demanding that he raise the child support for their 4-year-old daughter to $100,000 a month. And not long ago a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco sold for a whopping $15 million, and I’m not even sure that included off-street parking.

     Now I understand I’m not in their league when it comes to making money. After all, I include the two figures to the right of the decimal point whenever I tell people I earn a 6-figure salary. But either they need to learn what a buck’s really worth or I just need to figure out a way to make more of it.

     Which brings us to the burning question of the day: How do we, the average person who wants lots of money but doesn’t want to risk having to work while TV shows like "When Good Networks Turn Bad" are on, manage to get enough money to feed a spoiled child or pay off a gorgeous model-wife? Or buy one, for that matter.



If Jerry Falwell has his way, Tinky Winky the Teletubby will be out faster than Nathan Lane at a cha-cha party.
     The first thing you need to do is stock up on old paper money. You know, like twenties that don’t have a picture of Andrew Jackson so big Stevie Wonder can see it. Even though shopkeepers accept those new funny looking bills, most vending machines don’t, thinking they’re as bogus as America’s Funniest Home Videos and spitting them out faster than Monica on a good day. Since it won’t be long before the old ones will be pulled out of circulation, it’s a sure bet people will soon be paying top dollar for them so they can go to a machine and buy candy and soda and little plastic Scotty dogs filled with magnets that repel each other. And since you’ll have a big supply, you’ll reap the big bucks!

     Next, take that money and invest it wisely. Stock in Internet companies is hot right now. Mutual funds are too. But face it, they’re no fun. So think about collectibles, like stamps, coins, or Beanie Babies, The Baseball Cards of the New Millennium ™. The problem is everyone’s collecting Beanie Babies these days, so you might want to consider filling the knick-knack shelves in the guest room with something different, like Tinky Winky Teletubbies.

     That’s right, the Tinky Winky Teletubby. Jerry Falwell, in his never ending quest to keep his foot in his mouth, has come out and declared that he’s gay. Not Falwell, silly, the Teletubby. If Falwell has his way, Tinky Winky will be out faster than Nathan Lane at a cha-cha party.

     He claims the tell-tale signs are all there: Tinky Winky carries a purse, is "gay-pride purple", has a triangular antenna like the gay pride symbol, and—hold onto your bar of soap—has the number "666" tattooed on his Teletubby butt. Okay, just kidding about the tattoo. Actually it’s on his left breast. But I’m sure if I hadn’t cut off the bottom part of the article when I clipped that coupon for a half-price garnish-making tool I would have read that Falwell connects Tinky Winky to the Kennedy Assassination, the crash of Swissair Flight 111, and the conspiracy to hide the fact that Paul is indeed dead, something anyone who’s listened to his last half dozen albums already knows is true.

     Just do me one favor, though. When you follow these instructions and make lots of money and find yourself agreeing to hand over mega-bucks to an ex, the kid your spouse is taking care of, or a real estate agent, think of me and my guest room full of Waterworld action figures. If only I’d listen to my own advice once in a while.

 

1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read them while waiting to buy a Jerry Falwell action figure.

 

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