© All columns copyrighted
Columns must not be
reprinted in any form without the author's express permission.
Nshima & Curry
Nshima & Curry
EXCITED ABOUT MY NEW SOURCE OF WEALTH
What a wonderful year I'm having. First my wife gives birth
to a baby girl, then I find out I'm going to be rich.
Extremely rich. Yes, I just received an email from a
Nigerian man who wants to share $21.5 million with me. Can
you believe my luck? This is just too good to be true!
Dr. Atiko Usman, a top official in the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corp., promises to give me 30% of the $21.5
million if I help him transfer the entire amount to America.
In other words, I'm getting almost $6.5 million just to
allow him to deposit the money into MY bank account. I'm so
thrilled, I can't stop dancing.
Only one question keeps troubling me: When Dr. Usman sends
me the money, how many Mercedes Benzes should I buy? Are 15
too many? Or should I stick with seven, one for each day of
the week? Perhaps I should buy a few Jaguars, too. And just
to show my generosity, perhaps I should also buy a car for
my father-in-law -- a nice, sporty Hyundai.
If you're suspicious of Dr. Usman, I understand. It's a
normal reaction, especially since Dr. Usman picked me and
not YOU. It's also quite normal for you to pull out your
hair and scream, "Why do good things always happen to other
Let me emphasize this: Dr. Usman didn't pick me at random.
He states that the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce had
"guaranteed my reliability and trustworthiness in business
dealings." They had apparently heard -- perhaps through my
local chamber of commerce -- how well I operated my last
I didn't sell any clothes that hadn't been thoroughly washed
within the last decade. I put "As is" signs on all
appliances that were utterly useless. I didn't shortchange a
single customer. (Only the married ones.)
My stellar reputation won me the $6.5 million deal with Dr.
Usman. I guess this is what President Bush means when he
speaks of a global economy -- A Nigerian helping an Indian
achieve the American dream. From now on, whenever I see a
sign that says, "God Bless America," I'm going to change it
to "God Bless America and Nigeria!"
Wait a minute. I just checked my email again and five other
Nigerians are eager to do deals with me. Each one has a
different reason for needing to transfer millions of
dollars. I'm no genius, but I know exactly what this means:
I'm even richer than I thought. Perhaps 15 Benzes aren't too
many. If this continues, I'll soon be able to buy a lot of
property, maybe even a vast area of land such as Nigeria.
Wouldn't that be ironic?
My Nigerian partners have asked me to keep our deals
"strictly confidential" and I understand why. If my family
hears about these secret transactions, I might be forced to
share my millions. I certainly don't want that. But I can't
help telling the world that I'm rich, that Bill Gates had
better watch out.
That's why I'm writing to some of my college professors, the
ones who didn't think I'd amount to anything. "Dear Dr.
Martin: Remember how you said if I flunked your class, I'd
struggle in the real world? You may be surprised to learn
that I'm a successful businessman with a great reputation.
And if you don't believe me, just ask the Nigerian Chamber
of Commerce. Tell them Dr. Usman sent you."
Send this column to a friend