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