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Matthew Paris
 

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Post Sun Nov 23, 2003 10:02 pm - Billionaires Anonymous
Hi, Iím Tracy. Itís not my real name; whatís real about a name anyway? You donít have to know who I am. If I donít know, you canít know.
I donít want you to think Iím not a nice person. Iím here at Billionaires Anonymous because I did all the right things in the land of opportunity and was rewarded for all my clever moves. Iím flattered to be featured here as the premiere guest speaker of the week but I don't think Iíll be able to reach anymore than a few billionaires whoíve done what I did. They know better already how destructive theyíve been to themselves by making infinite wads of little green paper.
We all know we can't help our desperation, can we? Itís built into us like a kidney. The worst corruptions are the ones that are reasonable. Itís not crazy to not want to be poor, is it? How far can we run away from our own bankruptcy? In the end itís not even our errors that kill us, folks; itís everything we were taught to hunger for that injures us one day because even we Anonymous people think in our hearts that our enemies are our friends.
God knows we billionaires arenít the sort of people who get much sympathy in this country; nobody from Plattsburgh to Columbine ever feels sorry for a billionaire. Iím grateful to be here and faced with indifference; itís the most I can hope for. Billionaires Anonymous is hard to find; I never would have ferreted you out from the Yellow Pages or the ads next to a financial peer group escort service brochure. I never thought I would find a tiny group of sentimental and self pitying billionaires anywhere on the planet compassionate as you much less meet you intimately and honestly in the place like this. I want to be worthy of Billionaires Anonymous. Weíre a select group at best but weíre each other only hope. I guess Iím yours too. Everybody knows booze, drugs and too much cake isnít good for you. Nobody but us knows itís even worse if you have too much money.
Sometimes I think Iím strong; I know how frail I am. I could go out on a tear and make another bullion dollars tomorrow if I werenít careful. Iím that close to the brink.
I know a lot of you are even closer. You two hanging in the shadows over there look like a crazy duo of lurking billionaires. Hey, once you get into the habit of being a billionaire you stay one in your guts even if youíre on death row, had your third coronary, are incontinent, senile and broke.
Weíre all recovering billionaires; too bad the disease is incurable. One mantra has always been helpful to me. I say to myself over and over again in the middle of the night: I have too much money. Sometimes I mumble it to myself when Iím asleep. I need to. I am always taking in vast profits in my dreams. I know if thereís life after death Iíll be rich whether Iím in heaven or hell.
Nobody thinks of being a billionaire before theyíre twenty; nobodyís desperate enough to do what you have to do to get there. Adolescence is pretty terrible but not horrible enough to inspire you to be rich. I was initially involved in politics long before I made my first billion dollars. I was an ardent left winger; I wanted to help the poor and loot the rich. I thought people who helped the rich and looted the poor were the pits.
I literally picked people out of the gutter; I was part of the Gutter Patrol, a federal agency to lift people out of the street, even from the sewers and public latrines when they sat there with a bottle of wine in a lake of their own vomit, gazing out into space. I hurt my back once hauling a four hundred pound bar-covered lush to the sidewalk.
Afterwards I was on Disability for weeks; thatís another federal agency. Youíd think the government had thing better to do than give lifeís victims a check. What good does it do for anyone? Iíll bet that fat man is lapping up goop in a public latrine today. You can't keep people from their craziness unless they join organizations like us.
My back stopped me from lifting people out of cesspools; I went into Junior High School teaching; luckily for me I was an absolutely useless person and had nothing to teach. Like so many of the imaginary nobility of educated Americans I didnít know it right away.
I was an Arts Appreciation teacher at the South Bronx Junior High School for the Criminally Insane, the one who took the kids over and over again on a tour of the Cloisters; I also did some spiritual work at the prisons, basically running Mick Jagger singalongs.
The favorite tune in the slammer was I Can't Get No Satisfaction. I got tired of their misery too; anybody would. They got plenty of satisfaction. They jut wanted to be more selective about it. So do we all, donít we?.
Being piously leftwing as I was makes you hate people; so does being righteously rightwing. You donít feel disdain and contempt for specific nerds like your lovers or family; thatís too itís easy. Anyone can despise those wimps. You donít graduate to maturity in politics until you can't stand strangers. You say to yourself: thank God the only competitive species with us is insets. Theyíre happier than we are, but who wants to be an insect?
After a while I became very Right wing. The Left believes that weakness is a sign of divinity, sloth that mimics death badly is a virtue; the Right is equally enthusiastic about greed and stomping on people. I decided to work for the corporate world where everybody thought anything but a simple hunger to devour all and everything was a vice.
I knew charity was for the poor; I wanted to be charitable to the rich. I guess the world has been that way for a long time; it didnít need me to be charitable to them too.
I continually worked for commercial operations that were going stark bankrupt. Iíd been hired by a the Canadian Mafia to run a Peruvian old age porno ring. We couldnít sell any of the nursing home pictures, snuff movies of senile dementia, novels about the love life of the dead or the disappearing bed pan paraphernalia.
That was my day job; at night I was hired by the Australian power elite to be a salesman here for their platypus calendars of 1985. That was the year nobody bought even kangaroo calendars in the present.
I made my first outrageously large bundle of cash counterfeiting twenty dollar bills with my picture on them. Nobody noticed. I sort of looked like Andrew Jackson in those days. Once I unloaded them on enough people I tried to bribe Congress to run Welfare for the rich; they absolutely refused to take my money.
I was one of the affluent for sure if only a millionaire. I had a broker, a real estate consultant, a tax advisor and read manuals on Uzbeki currency shifts. I just didnít have a good business head; I think I was made to be a registered nurse.
My most intrepid venture as a mere millionaire was opening a string of insect restaurants in our slums. They werenít diners for insects as a clientele; I wanted to get a not just a fancy class of Americans to eat insects. There certainly were enough of them. One didnít have to hassle to get the product.
I had hoped to make a big profit on volume on a very recondite cuisine you can only get at a few posh restaurants. I figured it was time for a few New York gourmets to get into imitating anteaters.
Iím the one who designed those advertisements for those raspberry coated wasps you saw on television of happy people lapping down mosquito jelly with elongated tongues, the ones where a few happy suburban folk looking as if they were gobbling Prozack ate them live while watching their usual daytime fare of Japanese imitation Howdy Doody marathons.
Of course the whole insects for gourmets business went broke. All our hornets made people constipated. Thatís in fact how I made my cinched million. I put coated the hornets with milk of magnesia; then I sold short on the stock.
I may go back to selling insects for dessert as a non-profit operation one day. Americanís has Alzheimerís; they wonít remember what happens when you eat an overdose of hornets. Theyíre sure there never was a time when humanity didnít have television; they think George Washington is a bridge.
I started out only a few years ago becoming a billionaire but I was never really tired of being one more millionaire. We all know here in Billionaires Anonymous that having millions leads to a hunger to have billions much as smoking a single reefer inspires one infallibly to shoot heroin mainline in a year.
As a certified millionaire I always had plenty of cash; like you I liked the crazy feeling of always having too much money. I wasnít born to relative poverty or even the lupine desperation of people who have nothing like some of our leaders. I loved being poor because I know the poor are virtuous and innocent.
Well, maybe they arenít; the poor just can't afford to be corrupt. To God being flush or broke is equally good or bad. They make you coarse in different ways. God makes people poor most of the time; he doesn't trust them with a wad of cash. He knows nobody rich ever thought they could solve their problems by being poor.
I could have been one more millionaire forever; I fell into being incredibly rich like a piece of golden White trash drinking California champagne. I had a feeling of bubbling vertigo as if I were sailing in a first class jet into the dry bottom of the Grand Canyon. Iím not making sense. Sorry, nothing I did is any more coherent than that.
Folks, being a billionaire isnít easy and autonomic like breathing; itís not a trivial romp like sex at camp. Anybody can be a millionaire; to be a billionaire took dunning and a lot of luck. I knew I had to make it happen myself if it were going to happen at all. Millionaires were just homegrown American trash; billionaires were a select bunch of reptiles who could bend light.
How was I going to do it? I wasnít going to win the lottery; I was sure that game along with many others was fixed. I wasnít going to make enough at a job beyond a few shekels to wake up the next morning to do the same damned thing all over again. I had to do something radical and very decisive right away or I was never going to be a billionaire.
I bought a machine gun and a rocket launcher in Virginia, rented a truck in New Jersey, drove it on a moonless night to Jackson Heights an found a warehouse that looked anonymous, a joint where I figured some of my fellow New Yorkers from the land of smiles to the south were storing their oceans of cocaine. I broke into one warehouse around midnight in a mask, shot and killed three of the guards, walked out with maybe three billion dollars of the dazzling white powder.
It took me five hours to stuff the sacred merchandise into the truck; it was worth it to run this caper alone. By the way the hits of the guards were clean kills; nobody felt any pain. They just werenít alive anymore, thatís all. It happens to all of us. Most of us have to pay more for it in an expensive hospital. These drug soldiers on night patrol in America got away cheap.
I found anther warehouse a few blocks away that looked identical to the first one but was empty; the importers had all been arrested, not for drug dealing but drinking beer in the street without a brown paper bag and egregious Elder Abuse. For some reason they were always fighting with their grandmothers; itís part of the cocaine culture.
I sold them the entire truckload of coke for two billion dollars. It was a great deal for them; rather a wonderful boon for me. Of course I never took off the mask, not that anybody was interested in me much less whether I was good looking or not. They wanted the produce. I loaded the enormous piles of hundred dollars bill in the truck; in less than two hours I was off on the Queens Expressway.
Of course I never saw Queens again. I never want to. If I went back I might have been the next one somebody like me killed to become a certified billionaire.
Sometimes I feel sorry I killed pole to steal cocaine; sometimes I donít. Iíve talked it over with the nationís spiritual leaders; they donít know what to think of the morals of my ascent or anybody elseís either. The sure have a state for cocaine. Itís not as if I knocked off a few people at random on the street.
Even that is manslaughter; no big deal. Most of them were probably divorced, paying alimony and child support to their enemies; so many men are. Thank God, their problems are over.
If we ever meet in heaven we will all respect each other if at a distance. After all, probably these poor guys wanted to be a billionaire in their way as badly as I did.
I drove straight to the Swiss consulate, signed all the papers, deposited my cash in a numbered account in a bank which may or may not have existed in downtown Zurich; it might have been a phantom behind a stone in the Cayman Islands. Then I cautiously set about being a billionaire.
One doesnít want to pay taxes after all. The government might wonder where I got all that money. I got myself an estate in Westchester, a limousine like a yacht, a yacht like a battleship, a White chauffeur named Elvis to drive me on land and sea, he of course had a long prison record in Tennessee but was honest now. He just loved Johnny Cash records; he said heíd been Johnnyís lover in the slammer but I think he lied.
After a while I became a recluse more than Iíd been when I was only a millionaire. A millionaire can carouse with the rabble; a billionaire can't. He never knows who his friends are. People who sleep with him want his money. I wasnít that suspicious of people; I was too indifferent to them.
I just didnít want what some billionaires had: a seat in the stock exchange, a beautiful lover, a corner table with a bottle of well chilled Albanian wine in a little Polish restaurant. I wanted to be the one who made the telephone call to tell people to do all of these things.
Whatís the point of being a billionaire if youíre not mean and invisible? If people know who you are, you have to spend most of your time paying people who would like to kill you to protect you so you and they donít get killed and they lose a source of their own income. You might call that the genius of business. Itís fatiguing.
Iím here now and nowhere else; why did I come here? Well, it was out of desperation, f course, just like you. Last week I tried to settle into my mansion and watch other people work on television; it bored me. I got restless. I didnít want to watch t-v anymore; that stuff was for poltroons.
I wasn't interested in ordering fancy take out Chinese food either; even the best Setzchuan cuisine had become affordable. Anybody could have a Setzchuan lunch, even beggars.
I got into my limousine and muttered to Elvis, my chauffeur, to take me out to enjoy myself somewhere fit for one of my status; I was willing to pay munificently, even prodigally for any delight not even a millionaire could dare to hope to savor.
Elvis nodded; we slid onto the road into the silky night for about a half hour without finding anything worthy of me or even him. There wee roadside Mafia inns, scenic looks at the Hudson, two Greek diners with authentic antique jukeboxes; I wasnít in the mood for that kind of rotgut fare. Anybody could do that.
I was a damned billionaire. I wanted to spend my money in America as not even as billionaires like all of you have spent it. Maybe a moon journey or six days and five night of life after death in heaven or hell. Ah, my life had gotten tedious; what was worse, I had lost hope. What could I want to be, a trillionaire? That was absurd. Nature could not bear too many gaggles of trillionaires. You all know about that.
I was more desperate than even you can imagine; I was almost ready for playing five dimensional shuffleboard in Florida.
I said to Elvis, Iíve risked my life in live or die situations to get this damned money; I want to spent it in a way thatís made the legendary risks in Jackson Heights I took once worthy of me. Elvis shrugged; he drove me in a feline glide of the limo to some posh shopping malls.
He said to me in an even voice that sounded like Johnny Cash: ďHere it is boss, a movie house ahead six lousy martial arts comedies, a department store with clothes you can only fit into after a long diet, the burlap cloth made by slave labor camps in Panama and China, three identical milk shake joints with thirty two flavors that all taste the same but have different colors, a sports bar where you can watch old Australian soccer games.Ē
He pointed into the night vaguely. ďRight over there you got your choice of thirty seven flavors of fake Mexican chili.Ē
ďThatís what I have killed people to have a billion dollars for?Ē I asked him. ďIíd be happier teaching munitions skills in Junior High School.Ē
You know what this bastard said to me? Thatís why Iím here.
ďI donít think about things like that,Ē he murmured. ďHey, ever think of becoming a chauffeur?Ē
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