Friday 10 October 2014

How My Father Made Me Poor

About 15 years ago I attended a benefit dinner/show. The headliner was Barry Manilow and I was anxious to see him perform live. But before he came on stage, a young man gave a short speech. He was a local boy and one of the initial stockholders in Yahoo, the search engine. When his name was announced, there was silence. But when his claim to fame was announced, the crowd gasped, and everyone got all google-y eyed, which seems ironic, in retrospect.

Also funny is that I was there to see Barry Manilow.

Last year, my young children asked me what I had been up to when the internet first got started. In particular, they were curious why I had not realized the internet’s potential and become rich.  I couldn’t tell them the actual answer which was that the only real potential clear to me at that time was the internet’s ability to distribute porn, and I didn’t get involved in that because I wouldn’t have been able to face my father. (My mother is much more liberal.)

I’ve had other “great” money-making ideas that I couldn’t go through with because of my father. The one that still really stands out to me is the great motorcycle insurance scheme.

My idea was to stand at the front door of the Department of Motor Vehicles, where young people come to get tested for a driver’s license and offer free life insurance to anyone who gets their license and is driving a motorcycle, provided they made me the beneficiary. But wait, there’s more! I thought to offer a $1000 signing bonus. A little celebration money. “Party hard, young man!” Given the accident stats for young drivers, I figured it wouldn’t be long before one of my “investments” paid off.

It’s not illegal, so far as I know. Not really immoral. I mean, it’s not as if I’m running razor wire at throat height across a busy road. I’m just playing the odds on natural selection. It’s Vegas-North.

My father would be appalled. 

I never have figure out a way to get rich and not make my father ashamed… oh yeah, and avoid any hard work.

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