Uncle Reginald’s Investment Advice

I had lunch yesterday with my uncle Reginald Snout. Uncle Reggie is an investments counselor of renown – he travels the world helping people like us become rich beyond our wildest dreams. He’s made a career out of helping the little guy.

Currently, he’s in town setting up a consortium to buy James Dean’s trousers.

“Look at these trousers, Pondy” (it’s a childhood name, very embarrassing). He borrowed my laptop for a minute and brought up the auction site. I’m guessing these trousers will go for a cool $150,000. But look at them. Look at the workmanship! Every seam perfectly straight – and look at those stitches. This is quality, Ponderer, quality! And 100% wool, too! You can’t go wrong with a pair of trousers like this. Not a moth hole anywhere – and they’re over fifty years old! Why, you could wear these to your neighbor’s patio party with pride!”

“But, Uncle, I don’t have any neighbors,” I meekly retorted. “Patrushka and I live in a gypsy wagon in a field, and Patrushka cooks our little vegan meals over an open campfire. What if a spark wafted its way to my $150,000 trousers? And besides, pigs don’t wear pants. Unless we’re in disguise, of course.”

“Not to worry, nephew!” (Like intelligent people the world over, Uncle Reginald refuses to ever say ‘No problem’). You’re not going to be wearing these pants. You’re going to be making money with them! This is an investment! If you follow my advice, you’ll be rich! Rich! RICH!

“$150,000 – that’s not much.” he continued, “Why, any homeowner in East Calla Lily, CA could raise a home equity loan for that in a trice! Then he puts in his bid and presto! He’s got James Dean’s trousers! Oh, that’s easy to say – but what if the bid goes over $150,000? What if the bid gets up to $300,000…$500,000…or even FIVE MILLION DOLLARS? What then, my pretty nephew? Your chance to own James Dean’s trousers blows away like dust in the wind!

“That’s why I am setting up a consortium for people like you. Little people who can only raise, say, $150,000, or perhaps even just $15,000. You need to GET RICH too!

“Oh, I want nothing for myself, my aim is to help the common man any way I can. Just some administrative expenses to cover my phone calls and things, my little pot of gruel at the end of the day.”

He lit a cigar and looked quite pleased with himself.

“But uncle,” I finally managed to squeeze in a word, “how can I get rich by wearing James Dean’s trousers?”

“This has nothing to do with wearing the damn things, nephew! Look, suppose you take your trousers and you put them in a glass case out in your garage. Then you turn on the lights and open your garage door and put out a sign that says, “Your Chance to See James Dean’s Trousers! $1.00 Today Only”. Don’t you think you’d soon have a line out the garage door? You bet you would! And that’s just your neighbors!

Now, imagine our consortium of California homeowners with their little home equity loans, (and you too, of course– we would never withhold a chance from a potential investor who needs to GET RICH, no matter how small their means.) Imagine, together we open…an ice cream parlor! A chain of ice cream parlors! Each one smack in the middle of the world’s finest tourist neighborhoods. From Vancouver to San Diego, from London to Capetown, your chain of ice cream parlors is marching triumphantly down the road to financial success!”

“And what do we call our ice cream parlors? Why, the light shines out, in bright bold letters that can be seen from Fisherman’s Wharf to Buckingham Palace…James…Dean’s…Trousers!!!

“Don’t you see? Why, just imagine you’re a nice little family on holiday in San Francisco. You’ve ridden the cable cars halfway to the stars, you’re had your little tubs of shrimp cocktail at Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ve seen the fattest caterpillar at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum, and where do you go from here? The kids are cranky; it’s time for a break! You deserve a break! And where do you take that break? You say to your little family, “Kids, let’s stroll over to James Dean’s Trousers for a hot fudge sundae!”

“You’re a hero. Hooray for James Dean’s Trousers! You get there, there’s a long line out the door, but you don’t mind, the kids don’t mind, because as you wait – you get to look at – well, need I say it? In all their 100% wool masterfulness.”

As I paid the bill, I thought how lucky I am to have someone in the family who really understands finances. And Uncle Reggie is so kind. I explained to him again that I don’t have a house so I can’t get a home equity loan, and in fact all I have is $25.28 plus some bus transfers – but you know what? Uncle said that would be quite enough to get me started on the road to financial success, that he would make a special exception for me as long as I informed my friends about this business opportunity. So that’s what I’m doing. Let me know if you want in.

P.S: The picture of Uncle Reggie comes from The New Internationalist Magazine’s very interesting site called, simply “Money”

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