Letís make one thing perfectly clear: I donít want to be a
millionaire. I donít want to marry a millionaire. I donít want to give a millionaire a foot rub or have one over
for tea and Poptarts.
Maybe Iím alone in this, but the whole millionaire thing has
no appeal for me. Donít get me wrong, its not that I want to sign up for a game show called "Who Wants to
Stand on The Street Corner With a Cardboard Sign and a Hungry Dog." But you know what?, I worked my way
up to lower lower middle class and Iím perfectly content to stay there for a while.
But just because Iím not a gold-digging, money-grubbing hedonist
doesnít mean I think Iím morally superior than those of you who spend your days hitting redial to get on one of
the forty-seven new greed-based game shows that passes for entertainment these days. Well, okay, to be honest,
I do think it makes me morally superior than you people. And no, you canít pay me not to make fun of you in print.
Actually, there is a good reason Iím able to stick by my financial
principals: I once worked for a multimillionaire. And let me tell you, it wasnít pretty. In fact, the guy I
worked for was 73 and had put himself through college by boxing, back in the old days when they didnít wear helmets
or have plastic surgeons waiting for them in the locker room. Letís just say Brad Pitt he wasnít. In addition,
he had a fiery temper and a heart problem. (Okay, Iím going to pause here for you gold-diggers to wipe the drool
from this column so that you donít miss the next sentence. Go ahead, Iíll wait.) The next sentence is this: the
guy is dead now. (Not that that would stop some of you.)
The year was 1979. The place was Seattle, Washington. I had
graduated from college the year before with a degree in political science, so naturally I was working as a temp
secretary. One day, after having temped at perhaps three dozen different companies, I got assigned to be back-up
to the executive secretary for a company that traded stock options. (This was in the days before the invention
of the Internet when stock transactions were kept track of by Dow and Jones, two Neanderthal brothers who meticulously
wrote out the dayís activity in the sand with a big stick). Back then, I had no idea what options trading was
about, but I figured it had to be better than my previous temp job as secretary in a fish-processing plant. (Question:
Why do they call it "processing?" and is that the same thing that happens when the IRS says your refund
is being "processed?")
Anyway, I ended up working directly for the multimillionaire
two hours after I started, when his executive secretary quit in tears, yelling something about being a grown-up
and going home to her mommy. And, hereís what I learned about multimillionaires in the seven months I lasted at
1. They are among the cheapest people youíll ever meet. Thatís
why they have so much money in the bank, duh. My boss, letís call him Mr. Moneybags, owned two pair of pants,
one of which was held together at the waist with a diaper pin (I am not making this up). He didnít own a car,
a house, or a toothbrush for all I could tell. He considered it a tip to pay the bill in full.
2. Their personalities make Howard Stern look like Amy Vanderbilt. Mr. Moneybags prided himself on being able
to condescend to people in three spoken languages and sign language.
3. They smoke cigars. Even in 1979 before everyone Ė men, women, inflatable dolls -- started smoking cigars, Mr.
Moneybags and all his millionaire friends would sit around puffing on their stogies at lunch. This would perhaps
explain why there were canisters of pure oxygen in the supply closet.
4. They donít really have any friends. When youíre a multimillionaire, lots of people like you. But none for
the right reasons. At least as a lower middle class comedy writer, Iím sure that my friends like me for me. Both
of them. Hi mom.
5. Last, but not least, they die just like everyone else. Especially if they have a heart condition and you put
a 9-foot boa constrictor in their $4000 leather office chair while theyíre out on a yacht during lunch.
So if you do become a millionaire, watch your back!