"Think about it," he says, as if I actually might. "There is absolutely nothing like it anywhere. I'll have the market cornered."
Now Daniel's brother Darrell is going to make millions marketing his own personal lubricant. Not the kind that comes in a cruddy container that you stuff away in a drawer by the bed while hoping the dinner guests don't get snoopy. No, Darrell's lubricant will come in a decorative applicator -- bejeweled probably -- that you'll be proud to display on your nightstand illuminated from behind by recessed lighting.
"Think of it as a functional accessory," he says excitedly.
Evidently, Darrell got the idea after returning from Amsterdam with a $90 bottle of emulsified Danish super lube (or whatever). And his partner of many years, who happens to be in the petroleum business, had the contents analyzed and informed Darrell that the bottle, on the whole, contained about 80 cents' worth of ingredients.
"Cha-ching!" thought Darrell. And ever since, he's been elbow-deep in different homemade formulas. He won't stop until he gets the perfect viscosity -- the kind that is so slippery you can use it to fit your fist into your own ear canal -- if you're into that kind of thing.
None of this should surprise me. Entrepreneurial mania runs in my own family from way back. When I was 13, my father thought to make riches by selling doughnuts and packaged sandwiches at local tennis tournaments, and enlisted me and my two sisters for the counter help -- not that we had a choice.
"Get yer worthless asses back there and push the corned beef, goddammit!" he yelled when he found us upstairs at the tennis club watching Saturday-morning cartoons instead of hawking his sandwiches. He thought we'd sold all the doughnuts, when the truth is the club members helped themselves to them, unaware they were supposed to pay.
I've since learned that that's generally how wealthy people are. Clad in their impeccable tennis whites, the club members simply plucked up our inventory one by one and popped it into their mouths, and my sisters and I were too meek to insist they pay for it. I remember one tanned lady in particular, in a lovely white eyelet tennis dress with ruffled petty pants, her hair in pigtails too young for her years. "Honey," she said to me conspiratorially, "you really need to get out there and clean up all those wrappers."
Evidently, they thought the club owner, Charlie, had provided the refreshments as a courtesy to them, when in fact he had allowed us to set up our refreshment stand as a courtesy to my brother Jim, who worked at the club. Both were out on the courts tending to the tournament, unaware that the club members inside were, literally and figuratively, feasting on our hides. My father was also unaware, because he was too busy schmoozing with the rich folk.
He must have thought he was making a haul, what with everyone eating his sandwiches -- except for the corned beef. I guess corned beef on rye is not a very popular snack for tennis players, seeing as how after you eat one it feels like the earth's gravity has tripled in intensity. My sisters and I had long gone upstairs to escape any more insistence that we actually work, when it was hard enough just watching people walk off with our wares. Thank God for my father.
"Hey, buddy," he said as he finally caught sight of one of the tennis players walking off with a sandwich in his fist. "Aren't you gonna pay for that?"
"Nobody else is paying for them," the tennis player replied, indicating all the other club members.
"What?" my father hollered. "You mean everyone is stealing my food?"
The club members all stopped and turned toward our refreshment stand, their noses twitching like little hamsters. "These girls stayed up until midnight packing these sandwiches," my father loudly scolded them. "They were earning money to pay for tennis lessons."
That last part was news to us, since our brother had already taught us how to play and we could already clobber almost anyone in the room. "Shame on you," my father finished.
One by one, the members approached us and dropped wads of cash onto our counter -- even those who didn't eat anything. In the end, we made about twice as much as we would have if we'd actually sold the sandwiches.
In the car on the way home, my father talked about taking the show on the road. "We'll make millions," he said.
But we never got around to it. The following year, he was onto another scheme -- selling retractable key chains door to door -- and my sisters and I were thankfully spared another week of eating leftover sandwich meat. To this day, I still can't stand the smell of corned beef.
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