You're only of value if it can be proved that you're a loser

February 10, 1997

Oh that I should be so broke as O.J. Simpson.

His attorney was in court on Thursday, saying the criminally innocent but monetarily liable Simpson doesn't have a penny to his name, and so he can't afford to pay any punitive damages in the death of his ex-wife and her friend.

In fact, the attorney said Simpson is $9.3 million in debt.

I don't get it. How can people who drive Bentleys and live in mansions be broke? And no matter how many millions they assess against this guy, it won't matter. He will still live in nice houses and drive nice cars. He will never have to hold a real job, never have to work a 40-hour week.

He couldn't. I don't care what job it is that you do right now, O.J. couldn't do it. Unless, per chance, you happen to be a bad actor or an abattoir.


I read the other day where Simpson had to sell his Ferarri. Well, yabadabadoo. In that same story, an attorney said it would be a hardship for Simpson to live on 10 grand or so a month. A hardship. Because he's used to living on millions, it would be cruel for him to have to live on hundreds of thousands.

It's easy to go up in lifestyle, but it's really hard to go back down, the lawyer said. To which I say, he should have thought of that before he picked up the - oh, here we go again. He was criminally cleared, so we can't call it a murder weapon. I suppose "Inappropriate harm-dispensing utensil" will have to serve.

Bitter? Yes, I'm bitter.

I'm also bitter that Donald Trump can blow hundreds of millions of dollars on foolish investments, then turn around the next day, walk into a bank and borrow enough money to reestablish his empire.

Of course if you or I miss so much as a monthly garbage bill, the bank won't loan us enough cash to build a gazebo.

In fact, the better your track record at losing money, the more the bank will lend.

And if you sink an entire junk bond market, or bring a savings and loan crashing down? Oh, forget it. You'll be driving Porsches the rest of your life.

Let's get this straight. Banks make 19 percent on your credit cards and pay you 0.00000356 percent on your passbook savings. Plus, they just sit around and wait for you to commit some overt act on your account that they can charge you for, like writing one too many checks - and then they have the audacity to tell Congress they can't make a profit. And because they can't make a profit they want to invest in the stock market. Excuse me? Do you want these guys anywhere near the stock market? I don't think so.

Just once I'd like the opportunity to prove to the banks that I can lose money just as well as the best-educated developer or financier.

That looks to be the only way I'll get ahead in life.

If I could only get that one-time infusion of capital I'm confident I could lose it in record time, which of course would qualify me to borrow twice as much.

I'd lose that sum too and pretty soon I'd be on my way to a sizable fortune.

But then I've never had any luck with money. I'd probably invest in a commodity that would triple in value and it would wipe me out.

And worse, since I'd been successful, and didn't get convicted of anything, I would be worthless on the lecture and TV talk show circuit.

You're only of value to a crowd if it's been proved, preferably in a court of law, that you're a certified bonehead. That makes you interesting - and it makes perfect sense, because people will obviously pay to see you if they think you can teach them how to be a loser, which in turn makes you eligible for untold riches.

Be careful, though; these riches will only take you so far. And they will not totally exempt you from punishment for killing somebody. I only pass along this word of warning because I'd hate to see you lose your Ferarri.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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