It occurred to me not so long ago that I have yet to achieve the status that extreme wealth affords. It is, perhaps, high time I started doing something about this most tragic situation.
While not actively working to become a member of the super-rich, I have begun to take steps that may well afford my quest to join the upper two percent. For instance, I will begin buying lottery tickets and growth stocks whose IPOs are in the neighborhood of $3 a share. I will also begin correspondence with several of Martha Stewart’s friends to request guidelines to participate in insider trading. At my age, I would probably die before having to complete any prison sentence.
I’m trying to get in touch with several old acquaintances in Las Vegas. This, in spite of my suspicions that many might have met untimely ends in the trunks of late-model Cadillacs. Fifty years or so years ago, I was a pretty good customer of Sin City. Although I might be mistaken, I frequently beat the house odds at Blackjack and craps. (All of the other games, by the way, are losing propositions.)
Anyway, I’ve already arranged to trade three hours of my time to listen to a program about real estate opportunities in nearby Hendersonville for a free round-trip flight to Vegas. I’ll be staying—for free—on a third-floor room at a downtown hotel which features a light and sound show right outside the window. Hey, for the price of free, I can afford to lose three nights of sleep.
My total life savings of $365, will be well invested at a craps table at Caesar’s Palace where I will tame the dice, master the pass line, and parlay that modest savings into wealth that will attract the attention of the IRS.
A ton of money prudently invested will make more money by the hour. What that means is that I will make tons of money in a matter of weeks. In time, my income should reach a level of wealth where I don’t have to pay taxes at all. The question becomes how to spend all of this tax-free income.
I like to travel but I tend to find airports to be tedious and crowded. Although I imagine flying around in a jet like the one used on Criminal Minds would be wonderful, I don’t care to own my own airplane. I understand there ways to share a lease with others. One pays an annual fee and then the costs of travel (fuel, pilots, flight attendant). I like that plan and will have my staff look into it.
Did I mention my staff? It is a small one really. There will be secretary, an accountant, a valet and a driver. Although I will continue to do most of the cooking, I need an assistant to do some prep work and to clean up whatever mess I make in the course of cooking. It’s a pleasant arrangement that reminds me of my twelve years in a commercial kitchen.
I used to like to drive, but not anymore. My driver will no doubt be my most valued employee. She will care of the solar-powered Austin London Taxi Cab and drive me to those places I can reach by car. As a passenger in a roomy cabin that seats five, I can watch movies or read a book. Traffic no longer bothers me. There’s a bar.
I also intend to buy each of my family members whatever automobile they might like.
I really like hotels. I have a friend whose family resided at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. I’m jealous. Although the hotel was razed in the late sixties, there is no shortage of residence hotels around the world. Everything one needs to survive in Paris, London or Rome is found in those hotels. I was quite enamored with the novel, “A Gentleman in Moscow,” in which the protagonist serves his life sentence in a hotel room in the Metropol, taking his meals in the grand restaurant and his liquor at the hotel bar. It seems like quite the life.
One of the trappings of great wealth in the modern era is the yacht. One’s standing in life, so it seems, is measured by its length, amenities, and cost. Not only does the modern yacht provide a glimpse of a person’s worth, but it also takes in the neighborhood of fifty or so crew members to take the thing out for a spin around the Mediterranean. These massive, fuel-guzzling behemoths of the sea are like white-hulled moveable islands.
My tastes are simpler. I like to fish and to that end I would like a McKenzie River drift boat, which is kind of like a rowboat with attitude. They take only a one-person crew to operate and the only fuel they use is that of the cars that drop them off at one river access and then meet them at the designated take-out.
But I’m having second thoughts about much of this.
I’m really not interested in Hendersonville real estate. And as much as I’d like to live in a hotel, I suppose I will settle to just stay in one when I brave the airport crowds and sit in a coach seat to reach some European capital.
Besides, it turns out I need the $365 to fix the fuel pump on our 12-year-old SUV.
Photo Illustration by Courtney A. Liska
Po’ Boy Sandwich
Although this classic New Orleans sandwich has countless variations, the shrimp Po’ Boy is the classic.
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, and tails removed
3/4 cup fine cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. Cajun seasoning
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
Peanut oil for frying
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 to 3 tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
4 small French sandwich rolls
1/4 cup mustard, preferably Creole mustard
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
2 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs. sweet paprika
1 to 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
Make the Remoulade by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and allow to rest for at least an hour.
Dredge the shrimp in flour, egg and then cornmeal. Fry in peanut oil until cooked. Assemble the sandwiches with the shrimp, tomato slices and lettuce.
Dress with Remoulade sauce.