Getting Rich the American Way -- Quick

Business opportunities so good they just have to be written about

Wow, the cockroaches really came out from under the refrigerator with that last story ("My Dinner at Applebee's With White Supremacists!," Feb. 23). Props to the white supremacists. On their Web site, they took a picture of me from a Halloween party (from the Halloween when I dressed as the lead singer of Aerosmith and was caked with eyeliner) and stuck it above a letter containing an angry racist diatribe, as if they want the image to say, "Look at me! I'm Jewy McJew! I dress and look like this all the time! I eat babies! Look at me! Look at me!" The point: Though white supremacist groups dish it out to every minority on the planet under the banner of free speech, you better not criticize them, or else they will make you look like a gay pirate! (Good plan, Harmon. Antagonize hate groups further.)

All I have to say is: Hate groups, where did the love go? Why the hate? Where did the love go?! Let's band together and put the hate where it belongs -- on the meter maids.

Since I need to take a little break from extremists, this week I've decided to write a fluff piece. Yes, a story that will only infuriate owners of small, obscure businesses that present opportunities to get rich. You guessed it: I'm going to try to get rich, not gradually, mind you, but quick. Like many of you, I'm going to press onward toward financial freedom. You might be skeptical. That's OK, so was I, until I checked out Small Business Opportunities magazine, a publication dedicated to making people rich.

Yes, making my first trillion dollars will involve answering one of the many Small Business Opportunities ads for amazing and successful start-up businesses that will get me in on the next big moneymaking idea.

I kick things off by weeding out the sketchier start-up businesses -- bronzing baby shoes, collecting autographs, selling big-game jerky. Before I start making calls, I make sure I'm fully prepared. I assemble the things I'll need:

1) A TV set (to have on too loudly in the background).

2) A bowl of Cheetos (the official snack food of getting rich quick).

3) A case of Yoo-hoo (the unofficial drink of getting rich quick).

4) A sleeveless undershirt with a gravy stain on the front.

5) A pair of pants with the top button undone.

Then I make a few get-rich-quick phone calls. Maybe some of these ideas actually, really do work?!

First Get-Rich-Quick Attempt

Idea: Oscar's Wild Ride

Ad: An animated gumball wears a backward baseball cap. The gumball has strange human features. "Meet Oscar! Full-Time Income, Part-Time Effort." Then Oscar-related demographics: "From 2 to 92, everyone loves Oscar. If Oscar were an actor, he'd win an Oscar!" (How does that work, exactly?)

Prediction: I will make my first quadrillion dollars from Oscar!

The Call:[Frantic] "I need to make money fast! Quick, tell me about Oscar!"

"It's more like an arcade game than a gumball machine. You put a quarter in, and it goes on a magical journey."

[Shocked] "Oh my God!"

"Our goal is to start each operator with three machines. Each machine sells for $5,895. It will take about three to four years to make money. But it's a beautiful machine with no competition. I'm looking for a handful of people to build a successful Oscar network!"

Conclusion: This is the most moronic idea I've ever heard. Instead of becoming the Gumball King of San Francisco, Oscar would end up a severely marked-down garage-sale item. And I'd be out 5,895 bucks.

Second Get-Rich-Quick Attempt

Idea: Lil' Orbit Mini-Donuts

Ad: According to the ad, "Mini-Donuts can make MEGABUCKS!!!" A fat guy holds a bag of little doughnuts and a spatula. There's a quote saying, "It should be immoral to make money this easily!"

Prediction: I will be the Mini-Donuts mogul of Northern California!

The Call: "Hi, I heard Mini-Donuts make megabucks. How does it work?"

"Well, it's a business, a portable business that you put in front of people that they buy. We sell the equipment and offer technical support. You pay for everything up front."

"Wow! That sounds almost immoral! What's the smallest amount I need to invest?"

"You can invest anywhere from $735 all the way up to $15,000."

Conclusion: I picture this classified ad: "For Sale: Mini-Donuts machine. $100 or best offer."

Third Get-Rich-Quick Attempt

Idea: Virtual Fishing Simulator

Ad: A guy holding a fishing rod catches a marlin as it jumps out of his TV screen. At the top of the ad is this note: "Gone fishin'. Back soon. PS: I love this business!"

Prediction: I'll be the czar of America's Virtual Fishing Simulator craze!

The Call: "How the hell can I get started on my own Virtual Fishing business?"

"It hooks up to a TV and DVD player. It also hooks up to a fishing rod and reel, and it simulates the strike and fight of a 100-pound salmon, sailfish, or king salmon. We have trout and bass as well. It exactly duplicates the feel of catching a fish."

"Pardon my swearing but, holy shit! [Pause] That sounds great! Can I make lots of money right away?"

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