Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mark Cuban, Dancing with the Stars & Pocket Change

I was flipping through my 300-plus channels of television satellite nothingness when I stopped at “Dancing with the Stars” to watch Maverick’s owner gajillionare Mark Cuban do some jive dancing. I just love it when the “Cubinator” (as the television host called him) pops up in the media. Mr. Cuban always makes me laugh.

I remember when he was fined $500,000 in 2002 for his now-famous comments about referees. Just in case you missed it, he told the Dallas Morning News, “Ed Rush (head of officiating) might have been a great ref, but I wouldn’t hire him to manage a Dairy Queen.”

Not only did that remark earn him the record-breaking fine, but it also spawned a media frenzy and a trip to a local Dairy Queen where Cuban served up Blizzards and such. Sometimes free speech isn’t exactly free. Cuban took it with a shrug.

Pocket change, I guess.

But that kind of change would, well, change my world.

Stuff like that always gets me thinking: If only I didn’t have (fill in the blank), I could…

Sometimes I amuse myself by drafting letters to the likes of Mark Cuban, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates.

“Dear Mr. Cuban…Since you seem to have some spare change lying around, perhaps you could pick up my daughter’s college loans? We only owe about $40,000—that’s less than 10 percent of the fine for speaking your mind about those nasty refs…”

Or, “Dear Ms. Winfrey…Did I tell you about this little book I wrote that’s just guaranteed to fly off the shelves if you’d only help me get it published and make just a teensy, weensy mention of it to your book club…”

Or, Dear Mr. Gates…

Well, you get the picture…Twisted, I know. Needless to say, those letters never made it to the post office.

Still, the thought of what life would be like with the Cubinator’s pocket change gnaws at me on a fairly regular basis. It’s usually exacerbated by some dimwitted teacher in-service, or an unusually vitriolic parent phone call or even some Oprah giveaway. At this point, I’m probably on my “Get Rich Quick Scheme No. 782” to supplement my income or “How To Find That Corporate Sponsor No. 632 to help offset the costs of this or that publication expense.

Now, my “I-grew-up-in-the-depression” parents whose parents immigrated to this country in the 1920s always told me that no one gets rich without hard work. But if hard work and long hours were the main criteria for getting rich, Mark Cuban and I would be sipping drinks at dinner parties together and discussing the state of teens today. But we’re not because those of us on the front lines of public education cannot parlay our hard work into that kind of dollars and cents.

The best I can bank on is for one of my students to grab the American dream and become rich and famous, which would then allow me to sell something of theirs on eBay: Why here is the pencil Spencer used once when he was drawing his masterpiece, bidding starts at $1,000; here’s a notebook Eric used when he jotted down notes for his Great American Novel, a steal at a mere $2,500; there’s a sketch Carly made before she won the Nobel prize for her research, a real charmer at $800.

That, my friends, is what I fondly refer to as my “teacher retirement plan,” but quite frankly, I’m none too hopeful that I’m going to capitalize that way. Instead, I’ve started to think of other opportunities and am resigned that maybe I won’t look so bad in one of those Wal-Mart greeter vests.


Anonymous said...

LOL. We could all use Mark Cuban's pocket change.

Polilla said...

Latest news: Mark Cuban charged with insider trading