If I Were a Rich Man

By Larry Teren

Tell me- do I look rich to you? Is it my debonair countenance? Or as an older friend said to me a week ago, “Cmon! You got deep pockets.” If my hands go the distance into my pants pockets, it’s only because there are holes in ’em and I’m too cheap to buy replacements. (Ed. Note- pants, not hands) Besides, you know what it’s like going to Walmart and waiting to use the one dressing room set aside for the male of the species. You wait impatiently while listening to the dressing room “receptionist” speak to another lady in Croatian. (If it was in Spanish, at least you can fake understanding their chat and smile when they laugh while also throwing in a couple words you remember from high school. Words like “muchachas, por favor- esperando diez minutos.” You’re holding onto the two limit pair of slacks that you know read the right size on the label but somehow are too tight when you attempt to squeeze into them. Finally, you get the nod, go into the little room with the misaligned door and try to figure out how to take your pants off without removing your shoes and then putting on the replacements.

No, I ain’t among the wealthy (my accountant told me to say this in case employees of the IRS should happen to read my blog) It seems, though, that my kid brother Gary (kid? yeah, sure- he’ll never see 40 again…) has changed my image to the outside world when he did me a favor. Or, maybe he thought he was being altruistic. You see, Gary bought me a gift subscription to BusinessWeek Magazine. I used to subscribe to it back in the 1980’s. It was a lot thicker back then, lots of colored pictures, charts, graphs and multi-page articles. Good stuff for a thirty-something year old self-employed guy to fantasize over. (I could imagine the publisher hosting his own television show wearing a robe and smoking a pipe. It- the show-would have been called Finances After Dark.)
BusinessWeek is a different periodical now as the world of business and finance has changed. Most people don’t want to read long glossy stories. Just give them the facts and make the point as quickly as possible. (Hey, come back here!) Have I benefited from the subscription? I’ve picked up things here and there but for my old tired eyes, it’s a little more difficult to peruse. Okay, back to why I called this meeting.

A direct mail genius getting paid the big bucks did some data mining and decided that since I now receive BusinessWeek, I must be among the financially well-off as well as a mover and/or shaker. That is the only reason to conclude why I received an invitation to subscribe to Barron’s. Back in the day (geesh- I’m beginning to sound like an obnoxious kid in a cable tv commercial) I did read Barrons for a short period, your Honor, but don’t remember why. (Does that sustain my objection, or whatever?)

The offer states that the normal newsstand plus digital rate is $459.00 a year. Digital means I get to go to Barron’s website without my computer getting hit by a virus. But because I move in influential company who have deep pockets as well, they put in writing that I should forget the insult and pay only $52 a year. Wow! As soon as I win the lottery, I promise to give this special savings deep thought. In the meantime, Mr. Barrons- I can still barely afford buy two new pair of pants at Walmarts. Or should I hold out for what’s behind door number three?

Before you think I now have an inflated opinion of myself due to the generous offerings of worthy periodicals, let me not forget to mention the offer three weeks ago from Time Magazine.

Time Out: Our family never subscribed to Time Magazine. It was Newsweek or forget it. It seemed as if the entire United States used to hold their breath every January until Time’s Man of the Year was announced. We usually mocked their picks. The publisher would defend the choice by stating that to be Man of the Year didn’t mean you had to be the greatest, just the most newsworthy. Time In:

Time has now mocked me back. The invitation to subscribe indicated that it would normally cost over $200 a year to receive Time in my mail box each and every week. But, because I am a “senior citizen”. I get a special rate of only $15.95. What!!! Friends- do I look like a senior citizen? Did I become eligible for Medicare and forget to register? If so. can I also go to some bureaucratic office and sign a form that tells ’em where to send me monthly social security checks?

The ball’s in your court, Newsweek.

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