>>> Bang for Your Buck

By staff writer David Nelson
January 22, 2006

Essential New Word of the Week: smyp (definition hint: Mardi Gras)

I chipped in for a mass lottery ticket purchase a few days ago. I really didn’t want to, but all of the yentas at work were nattering away about how they were going to become rich, and I couldn’t allow that to happen without me. Intellectually, I know that the chances of winning the lottery are like the chances of seeing naked pictures of Mother Theresa with three boobs like the chick in Total Recall, or meeting someone with a tattoo of Osama bin Laden playing hopscotch with Crocodile Dundee. It’s certainly possible, but I’m not about to hold my damn breath.

Part of the lottery’s appeal, I guess, is the chance to daydream. It’s fun to speculate how ten million dollars would change your life. There are always guys who say that it wouldn’t change them, but get real. The day after winning, these people would be aboard their private golden helicopters, flying to their new personal island, which they will probably name after themselves. Or “Vaginaland.” Since I became part of this underground lottery cadre, I’ve found myself speculating more and more. I’m not doing too bad, but would exorbitant money really change my tastes? What is “the good life,” exactly? It took some concentration, but I think I have the answers.

“When I strike it rich, I’ll want to stuff my home with antiques. If someone pissed in a pot in the eighteenth century, I want my urine sharing the same privilege.”


Every self-respecting millionaire has to have the right threads and shoes. I’m not talking about eccentric old fucks who feel the need to wear tissue boxes on their feet, and I’m not talking about rapper millionaires who blow their snot into diamond-studded handkerchiefs. No, I’m talking about class: shoes that are hand-stitched by expert shoemakers instead of Cambodian children who are more concerned with not starving to death than making my feet look good. Also, they should be made of calfskin, but not any old baby cow; preferably, some kind of hero calf who saved a bunch of people from a barn fire. Those are the shoes I want.

A perfect suit is a must. I like Italian suits, but not the kind that are so shiny that I begin to refract light waves and enter a parallel dimension of stereotypical Italians. A perfect suit can’t be purchased off the rack; you’ll need to schedule some time with a personal tailor. This is an experience I have come to hate. First, they run a polite but critical eye over you, and eventually murmur that it’s going to be a long day. They then settle down to the business of fondling you as uncomfortably as possible, while recording your physical defects in a large book. Having a tape measure that close to my penis is always a cause for anxiety, but they try not to make it overtly insulting. It’s more like you’re a deaf, inanimate, and weirdly-shaped object that they have to cover as tastefully as possible. But when you’re rich, they’ll do it with a smile.

Then, you’ll have choose your cloth and make decisions about buttons, lapels, flaps, and stitching. These are decisions that can really only be made with the help of five homos on a reality show. Fortunately, your newfound wealth will allow you to purchase one or two, then you can collect and trade for the entire set.

But aside from designer suits and shoes, one thing in particular just screams wealth and affluence: cashmere. Even the word sounds rich. The material itself is made from goat hair, and the best cashmere is thought to come from Mongolian goats. I see no reason to doubt this. The winters in Mongolia are certainly cold, and a swig of yak’s milk warmed over a dung-fuelled fire in a yurt isn’t going to be enough to warm the icy heart of Genghis Khan. But if someone had just given him a nice cashmere sweater, the entire course of history would have changed. And I’m not just talking about the script for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

The process of turning goat hair into fine clothing is inconvenient, labour-intensive, and subject to many factors, including the sex drive of the suppliers. You see, unlike me, goats need space and privacy for romance, so there’s no way to tell just how much there will be from year to year. Accordingly, the price fluctuates. If a cashmere sweater is too expensive for you this year, try a pair of cashmere socks. The only thing that feels better is wrapping your feet in twenty-dollar bills.

Food and Drink

Once you’re rich, you can say goodbye to things like meatloaf and Extra-Value Combo Meals. But don’t worry, you can still test your gag reflex with such delicacies as caviar, truffles, and foie gras. Surprisingly, the association of wealth and disgusting foods goes back thousands of years. The wealthiest Romans liked to feast on lark’s tongues and peacock brains. That may sound gross, but at least it’s Atkins-friendly.

Foie gras first enjoyed popularity when someone, probably a sadistic teenager, discovered that force-feeding ducks and geese effected a delicious transformation in the size and texture of the poor creature’s liver. My research tells me that the bird is coaxed into overeating until the liver triples or quadruples in size and turns a deep yellow. Considering the sort of damage I put my own liver through, the irony of this process is not lost on me. If ducks ever take over the world, I’m going into hiding.

As for caviar, it’s so opulent that culinary experts can’t even agree on how to define it. Purists claim that only the roe of the sturgeon qualifies as caviar. Really snobby purists insist that a select pair of sturgeon, named Ted and Marlena, produce the world’s only true caviar, and that Ted gets offended if you buy any other kind. Caviar is not just an ingenious application of otherwise-useless toast points, it can be enjoyed in many ways: with chopped onion, in an omelette, etc. Just take a spoonful and try not to think about the fact that you are consuming perhaps millions of unborn fish fetuses.

I’m not too keen on any food that can only be found via highly specialized pig-detection methods, but if I ever strike it rich, I reckon I’ll give truffles a chance. It is said that nothing in the world tastes or smells like fresh truffles except fresh truffles. And as stupid as this syllogism is, it belies an even greater stupidity: at the end of the day, truffles are really nothing more than wart-encrusted, earth-covered lumps of fungi. So, a lot like some of my ex-girlfriends, only less expensive, and better-tasting. Truffles apparently come in both black and white varieties. Because the best white truffles come from Italy instead of France, they are not given the same respect as their black cousins. Remember that in case you ever run into Al Sharpton in a gourmet restaurant.

As far as alcohol goes, I’m already well on my way to developing an appreciation for the finer things. I’ve already begun phasing out the malt liquor. Baby steps. But there’s only one beverage of choice worthy of new money: a fine scotch. I’ve heard that in Scotland, there are more than a hundred distilleries that produce single malts, not one of which tastes remotely like another. I know Scots endure a lot of negative stereotypes—like being cheap, violent, and hilariously afraid of ghosts—but I think, based on this, we should cut them some slack.

Scotch is truly a miracle of modern boozing. It has a complex, smoky flavor. It doesn’t need to be decanted, whatever the hell that means. It doesn’t need specially-shaped glasses, swizzle sticks, slices of fruit, olives, salt, or any kind of secondary drinking apparatus. For the most expensive scotches, ice is forbidden, or at least it should be. Connoisseurs would rather kick their mothers down a flight of stairs than anaesthetize a single malt with lumps of frozen tap water. Come to think of it, that particular choice is probably faced all too often.

I know that rich folk also tend to drink outrageously expensive champagne as well, but since I would rather just pour it over the naked breasts of naked Scandinaviancheerleaders, I think I can make do with the cheap stuff.


You can keep your Jaguars, your Lamborghinis, and your BMWs. True prosperity demands a stretch limousine, the only way to go. Nothing beats having a chauffeur. This revelation was made when the world’s first man of status noticed that even the lowliest of his servants had exactly the same number of legs as he did. How could such a man flaunt his status if he had to rely upon the same means of locomotion as the bedpan-emptier? The solutions were the ancestors of the modern limo: sedan chairs, palanquins, and chauffeur-driven elephants. Nothing says class like a vehicle that can smush pedestrians who get in your way.

There’s something almost indecent, and yet seductive about harnessing several yards of machinery and the full-time services of a plebian simply to move you between appointments. Also, the best sex I ever had was in a limo. That’s not particularly relevant to this article, I just thought you should know. But the best aspect of limousine transportation (next to a well-stocked bar) has to be the partition. With the mere touch of a button, you can render another human being effectively mute. That’s the kind of power I hunger for.

For the super-rich, earth-bound transport is a thing to be scoffed at as the skies themselves unfold that they may mock the peons below. Private jets were once the exclusive privilege of drug lords, Microsoft CEOs, and James Bond villains, but these days, anyone with enough dough can make it happen. On your private jet, you can expect to enjoy all the convenience of air travel without having to deal with crying infants, snoring jerks, and chatty neighbors. You can have all the goddamn peanuts you want. Best of all, you can hire comedian Jerry Seinfeld to perform a monologue based on his observations of your jet. “What’s the deal with the lavender scent in the bathroom? Too good for lilacs?”

House and Home

When I strike it rich, I’ll want to stuff my home with antiques. If someone pissed in a pot in the eighteenth century, I want my urine sharing the same privilege. I’m talking about ebony coat racks, umbrella stands made out of elephants’ hind legs, that sort of thing. I don’t even know what a fucking sconce is, but I know I want one. Hunting for antiques has become so popular among the rich that “antiquing” has actually become a real verb. I don’t know why, but I think that’s significant. Nouns are for the poor.

The other thing I’m going to need to fill my house is servants…lots of servants. I want my newspaper ironed, my shoes shined, my grass cut, my drinks served, and my telephones answered. I want so many servants that I could make them play rugby for my amusement, or perform an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, if I were so inclined to see one. Not only that, I think I’d like them all to be midgets. Please don’t think I’m cruel or anything, I just have this idea for opening a magical chocolate factory.

When choosing servants, it’s important to be mindful of their nationalities. If you’re like me, you’ll want some from every nation on earth so you can play life-size games of Risk on your front lawn. If not, at least opt for a traditional English valet (knowledgeable about clothes, doesn’t mind being called “Jeeves”), a French cook (delicious soufflés), and a German chauffeur (mechanically very sound, revenge for WWII).


Since I began this article, I learned that I did not, in fact, win the lottery. I’m surprisingly OK with this utterly predictable chain of events. Certain luxuries may be slightly beyond my reach, but that just means I’ll enjoy them less frequently and more wholeheartedly. I think I speak for most fortune-cookie writers when I say that true wealth is not something you can hold in your hand…it’s in the laughter of children, the dew on morning grass, and other gay shit like that. Now if you’ll excuse me, my macaroni-and-cheese-with-cut-up-hot-dogs awaits. I think I’ll wash it down with a bottle of Château d’Yquem…maybe a 1958 vintage. Bon appetit.

Essential New Word of the Week: smyp /‘smIp/ interj: Really more of an acronym (like Scuba), smyp is an interjection that is roughly equivalent to a catcall. “Smyp! Smyp!” you’d shout at an attractive someone, while he or she puzzled to work out your meaning. Which, of course, is Show Me Your [insert body part of choice, beginning with P]. I’m not trying to be coy or conservative by using those brackets, by the way. I’m just trying to be fair. There are a lot of pancreas fetishists out there.