How to Be Broke and Not Be a Sucker

nyworld 18 How to Be Broke and Not Be a SuckerSo I’m broke. I have a negative balance. Minus $9.44.

Nothing to do, nowhere to go, imprisoned here on Roosevelt Island. Back in ’99 I bought a $400 bottle of wine at Raoul’s to impress what I thought was my girlfriend. Turned out I was merely one of three dudes she was nailing. And now I can’t even afford giant litter box liners. The cat’s been wobbling around making it real clear she’s not happy about the litter box situation. Tried to do a makeshift job with pieces of garbage bag and Scotch tape but it’s just not working. Cat’s giving me funny looks. Translation: Mama, I’m gonna drop some dookies in your bathtub again.

 So this morning on the way out I stopped at the A.T.M. in the lobby. No real need to—I knew I had at least $140, I’m on top of things, got my life under control, but why not withdraw $60? That’s when things get fuzzy. First, shock, then a real sinking feeling of hopelessness. Is this rock bottom or the beginning of the end? What will happen? Will I starve or go mad? Coal mines, tenements, Third World countries. So much for cat box liners—that’s out. All a sudden, a woman screamed into my ear, “Max! Max!” Her little boy was just down the hall. Too deflated to scream back at her: “Hate to break it to you, lady, but odds are Max will turn out to be a complete dope. Maybe next time go with a goofy lower-expectations name like Buford or Dippy.”

Had an endoscopy. Was worried I had Barrett’s esophagus and gout. Gastroenterologist Dr. Bamji gave me a clean bill of health. So decided to celebrate last night, stayed out until 10 a.m. Pretty sure at 6:30 a.m. I was talking to Lydia Hearst on the phone in Madrid and that I’m invited to her Xmas costume party. All day been burping, gurgling and tooting even after popping Beanos, Gas-X and Tums. An endoscopy is when they cram a black tube down your throat. Was paranoid about anesthesia so asked for smallest dose, which meant I was conscious the whole procedure and gagging. Sexy Asian nurse kept telling me to “Just relax” during the deep throatage. Dr. Bamji promised to put a finger in my ass next time. May cancel. Well, for six weeks I was waking up at like 6 every morning from the gurgling sounds in my throat. I’d sit up, burp 20 times, then drift off before another episode. Dr. Bamji has outlawed spicy, fried, fatty, tomato-based foods; citrus, caffeine, carbonated drinks; onions, garlic, chocolate, smoking and binge drinking. Have to switch from Metamucil to FiberCon.

So Malcolm Gladwell has another best seller and everyone’s slobbering all over him, except the lady from The Times, who called it clumsy, glib and thoroughly unconvincing. Makes me feel better about the $4 million advance. Maybe I should write Broke: How to Unlock the Unlimited Power of Being Fucked. Never read anything by Gladwell, though I think I’m one of his “connector” types who start trends and have a special gift for bringing the world together like Paul Revere. For example I invented that late-night party game “Band Names A-Z.”

Got a feeling Blink stinks. Best advice I ever got was from a family friend who attended Stanford Business School. He said to avoid going with snap decisions, and that 95 percent of the time, when he’d had the time to think, not blink, his second or third solutions were infinitely better. Let’s say you’re at the edge of the Grand Canyon and the little nutty perverse guy who lives in your noggin says it’s time to do some cartwheels and somersaults. See? Which means all existing copies of Blink should come with a warning label: Dear Reader, it might save your life to do the exact opposite of what Mr. Gladwell recommends.

Madagascar sucked. Stopped watching 20 minutes in, after these two monkeys bust out of the Central Park Zoo. If I had kids, I would have dragged them out of the theater right there. I was way more shocked by the vulgarity of Madagascar than a clip of two hot chicks having a blow job contest in a roomful of dudes, which I accidentally clicked the other day.

I’m back. Had to get out of the pad for a while. Got a few rides left on the MetroCard. Sat on a bench by Central Park Zoo and read G. K. Chesterton. Tried not to look poor and homeless. Rich socialite girl I met during 10 a.m. bender texted, called me “OM” for Old Man, which bummed me out.