Issues of Money: Pimps, Cupcakes and Mac’s Boobs

I’m not destitute by any means, and I certainly don’t mean to trivialize the plight of those who find themselves in enough economic hardship that they’re forced to flip a borrowed quarter just to decide which bill to pay this month, but?

As a college student (that should say enough, but I’ll continue anyway) who works long hours for less money than the tip Bill Gates gives the cabana boy for bringing him a margarita, I know a little about poor.

Anytime the total in your savings account dips below your IQ, you know you’re in trouble. I recognized just how precarious my position was when 10 or so days ago?or, in layman’s terms, forever ’til payday?I cringed at shelling out $1.29 to buy a loaf of bread so I could eat peanut butter sandwiches every day for lunch.

Now, don’t get me wrong?I am grateful that I at least have peanut butter sandwiches to eat and recognize that there are a great many people who don’t have even that?but I couldn’t help but find it ironic that, for my career, I hope to follow around people who, for their careers, get at least six figure salaries to play a game.

I know, I know?It’s not exactly news that the money that professional athletes make is more obscene than German porn, but I guess it never truly hit me until my mom took pity on me, gave me a care package, and I thought about how I’d never had it so good to be devouring a bag of Nacho Cheesier! Doritos?.

Let’s not even deal with the idea of A-Rod making a quarter-billion dollars to hit a round ball with a round bat; not only is that obvious in its absurdity, but I’m to the point now where I can’t even comprehend the idea of $250 million. You could speak to me in Russian and curse at me in Greek and I’d have a better grasp on the subject.

Anyway, let’s start with something simpler.

Hot Item! Major League Baseball owners vote to contract two franchises for next year.

There’s a whole lot of rhetoric and hyperbole getting tossed around about preserving the quality and integrity of the game they all love so much. Well, commish Bud Selig couldn’t be more transparent if you called him Casper the Friendly Ghost. You see, if there are only 28 teams to split TV revenue amongst, rather than 30, everybody gets a bigger piece of pie.

Mmmmm….Pie. Sounds yummy.

Anyway, why the hell do they feel compelled to lie about it? Montral draws fewer than 8,000 per game and the Twins were viable for the first time since Kirby Puckett took the field looking like a Detroit pimp.

They ought to be up front about it and contract another dozen or so useless teams while they’re at it.

But in the meantime, you’ve got Twinnies owner Carl Pohlad publicly voting against contraction, then going behind closed doors and negotiating a $250 million settlement to go ahead with it, all while the team’s GM Terry Ryan turns down the Blue Jays’ offer to join them out of loyalty to his organization.

News flash, buck-o: you’re polishing the brass on the Titanic. Move on already.

Then you’ve got the D-Backs justifying a ticket price hike because they won the World Series, and the Knicks justifying a ticket price hike because they’re the Knicks and the Charlotte Hornets becoming the Kentucky Colonels because they don’t have enough luxury boxes in a 12-year-old stadium.

How trite a concept is having spare bucketfuls of money? Well?

?The Saints can fine Kyle Turley $20,000 for throwing a helmet.

?The Bulls can fine Charles Oakley $50,000 for calling coach Tim Floyd a bush-league melonhead.

?Broncos receiver Eddie Kennison can walk away from his salary because he didn’t feel like getting up in the morning.

?Mark McGwire can nix an extra $30 mil because the cleavage he’s grown from his mutated steroids don’t look good in a baseball uni.

?And NBA owners are casual enough about their finances that they need commissioner David Stern to negotiate a luxury tax into the collective bargaining agreement in the event they all decide they don’t want to pay the players as much as they agreed to.

I used to call the players greedy for making so much money (and anyone who sits out because he wants an eight figure salary, rather than seven still is), but really, if the owners are dumb enough to throw figures like that out, wouldn’t the players be dumber still not to put their ‘X’ on the dotted line?

What it all comes down to, I suppose, is that they’re all just as lacking in perspective when it comes to big money as I am. Only on opposite ends of the spectrum. I can’t fathom someone getting $250 million to play baseball, and the Knicks can’t fathom the ramifications of giving $100 million to Allan Houston (other than pissing off Latrell Sprewell, that is).

I think we all need a little perspective.

Then again, perspective can make you realize that the world is owned by six really rich white guys, and I consider Hostess? cupcakes a gourmet delicacy.

That could give me a headache.

But I like cupcakes, so I’ll let it slide.

Eric welcomes feedback at: [email protected].