Column: Trying to hustle my way through college

As I write this column, I'm getting ready for work so I can pay rent. I can't go to dinner with my girls because I'm going to work so I can pay rent. I made plans with a friend and am now standing him up so I can work and pay rent.

It's not like this is anything new. It's not that I don't like my job or my apartment, which has walls and even heat, sometimes. But there's got to be an easier way to live.

What I need is a hustle. Everywhere I look somebody else has got a hustle going on, but not me. At all my jobs I've been warned about quick-changes, fast-talking petty criminals who will stick your register for five, ten or maybe twenty bucks with a couple of smooth hand games and tongue twists. And, listen to this one: My sister's husband, Lance, said a man came into his establishment once talking about how his wife had lost the diamond out of her wedding ring and that if anyone found it, to call him for a $500 reward. Of course, about 20 minutes later some random guy came along and made a big show of finding something on the sidewalk.

Lance went out and asked what he'd found. Why, it was a diamond. So, they called the other guy up and do you want to know what he said to Lance?

"Uh, I tell you what. I'm kind of far away right now so could you just give the guy who found it $250 now, and when I get down there I'll pay you the whole $500?"

I'm so glad Lance isn't stupid. But all of that is just petty, two-bit thievery. I want something legitimate, which is so easy to get into these days.

I remember my boy Mike telling me about how he had a whole lawn care ring going on when he was younger. All he did was organize the jobs then sit back and count his money while the neighborhood kids took care of the dirty work. Once the whole gig was set up, I don't think he ever had to touch another lawn mower or rake.

Now, I think we could all stand to apply that kind of logic to a much broader scale. You see, I was talking to a friend some time ago about another one of those class-action lawsuits against some pharmaceutical company, I don't know which one. Anyway, I'm just wondering if there's some sort of big lawsuit that I can join up with. There's got to be an appliance or two in my home that was recalled several decades ago or one that could be killing me with toxic fumes. This is ingenious stuff I'm talking about. And it's totally legal.

Oh, wait. Weren't some kids trying to sue our own university for charging us (don't laugh) tuition? Uh huh.

Now, how are you going to pay for all four years of school, graduate, go about your life and then turn around and say, "uh, actually, can I get my money back?" That's just asinine. I can't get down with that kind of hustle. If I wanted to act the idiot I could make my money standing on the corner in fishnet black pantyhose.

No, I think I'll just pull back my hair, roll up my sleeves and rejoin the world of the gainfully employed ' unless you've got any outstanding ideas.

Listen, I'm just trying to live up to my potential as an American.

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