>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 33 – May 25, 2003

Now Playing: “Bionic” by Melanie Doane

It's a well-known fact that being a Canadian entertainer is not among the most popular ways to make money. Most of us have to support our comedy habit by taking on second jobs, selling cocaine and joining the mob. It's even worse if you're a university student (“The least affordable ticket to your future”). Basically, if you're reading this column, you probably need more money. So here are a few surefire ways to make sure next semester you don't have to survive solely on Ramen noodles and Chef Boy-ar-dee. Here's what happened:

-The first thing you're going to want to do if you're poor is get yourself a credit card. It's really easy for college students to get their hands on credit cards, and rates have never been lower. Be sure to demand the highest credit allowable by law. Feel free to threaten the lady on the telephone if that's what it takes to get your way. If your credit card does not allow you to purchase a new Sport Utility Vehicle, chances are your credit limit is too low. Once you've secured your Visa, Mastercard or American Express, you can go to bars with impunity. “Just put it on my card!” you'll say loudly as you wave the magical plastic around like a psychotic. Since it's not your money you no longer have to worry about how much you spend.

-If you're really looking to save some money, you're going to have to buy a car. Sure, some ‘experts' will tell you that it's cheaper to bike or ride the bus, but these ‘experts' have, quite frankly, been sniffing paint. Bus passes cost, what, $50 a month? That's money you could be saving for more important things. And research has shown that bicycle use often leads to becoming some kind of new-age retro hippie, and those guys are always the poorest of the bunch. Look at them! They can't even afford deodorant! No, if you want to ‘live life in the fast lane' you're going to have to get yourself a car. Now, even though it's located 30 miles outside town, you can drive to CostCo and buy your groceries in bulk. Just think of all the money you'll save! Don't worry about paying for gas, either. You can just put that on your credit card.

-Having a spouse or significant other is one of the most expensive things in the world. All you thrifty people out there are going to want to dump your girlfriend or boyfriend immediately. There, doesn't that feel better? Now you don't have to waste money on birthdays, anniversaries or any of that nonesense. As an added bonus, you no longer have to worry about getting caught cheating on your former loved one with Pedro, the Gas Bar Attendant with the Heart of Gold.

-There will probably come a time when you'll have to buy a loved one a gift, no matter how much you try to avoid it. For those occasions, I recommend gift certificates. If nothing else, you save valuable time shopping for that ‘perfect something'. Most people will recommend gift certificates to a trendy, upscale boutique like ‘The Gap' or ‘Wal-Mart'. This is a mistake. At those stores, a $20 gift certificate isn't enough to cover a pair of designer socks. Your loved one will be ungrateful and your money will be squandered. Instead, head to the nearest Shoppers Drug Mart and buy a $5 gift certificate. Nothing there costs more than $5 anyway and, hey, everybody needs Kleenex.

-You may be lucky enough to work at a store that provides a hefty discount to its employees. If so, you will want to take advantage of this whenever possible. Even if you don't have that luxury, you will find most large stores have so many employees they can't tell who's who. The next time you're in line at the grocery store, tell the cashier you're an employee and suggest that a hefty discount be applied to your purchase. On the off-chance that the cashier's mind has not been sterilized from the large carcinogenic scanner by which she stands all day and therefore recognizes your claim to be a clever ruse and that you are not, in fact an employee of said store, simply claim to work at another outlet of the same franchise. The conversation should go something like this: “Hey! You're not really an employee of this store! You're just trying to get a discount undeservedly!” “I work at a different store. Give me my Fruit Roll Ups, bitch!” At this point, you may want to start drooling and biting your own arm like a rampant animal, just to make sure your point has been made. Works every time.

-Does anyone even remember Fruit Roll Ups? I always thought they were created in a lab by some horrible accident involving Kool-Aid and fly paper.

-Students comprise the fastest-growing segment of the gambling population. This is because we have learned, through countless hours of studying and watching Ocean's 11, that casinos exist primarily to take money from the rich and give it to you, like a modern-day Robin Hood. I recommend you take your paycheque to the nearest casino and don't stop playing until you've, at the very least, tripled your earnings. Hey, if it's good enough for James Bond it should be good enough for you.

-If, despite following my advice to the letter, you still find yourself running out of money, I recommend you go to the nearest “Fast Cash Advance” outlet and get an advance on your paycheque. Do not be fooled into thinking that these places exist solely for deadbeat dads on welfare who just finished their last carton of Marlboro Lights. You may also be thrown off by the 30% “Convenience Fee” these places take off your next paycheque. What they don't tell you is they can't take commission if you have no job from which to garnish wages. As soon as you receive your “student loan,” quit your job and flee the country to a more liberal community like Cuba. Then spend the rest of your days harvesting sugar canes and sleeping with Communist hookers, which everyone knows are the best kind. It's win-win.

-Sue everyone you know. Pressing charges is one of the few legal ways left to intentionally inflict pain on other people. Sue your parents if your dinner's cold. Sue your friends for being late to a movie. Sue your employer if he keeps you a minute past quitting time. Even if only a small fraction of these lawsuits pay out, it'll be like having money fall from the sky. Hooray for society.

-Quote of the Moment: After I left the Melanie Doane concert, which is a great place to meet angry lesbians, I was examining my brand new autographed and dedicated Melanie Doane CD (“Dear Emmanuel, thanks for coming. Give me back those photographs. Signed, Melanie Doane.”) when a not-particularly-bright girl came up to me, apparently just to make fun: “Ooh, Melanie Doane! Is she, like, Radiohead or something?” Isn't that sweet? She just insulted one of my favorite singers of all time! She made fun of Melanie Doane. I'll see her in court.