A SUREFIRE WAY TO 
BECOME RICH

   It was late, and my eyes were drooping. I reached over to turn off the reading light above my side of the bed.
   "How many pages tonight?" my wife asked.
   "Pretty much the usual," I replied as I buried my head into the blissful pillow. "Four."
   I really wanted to go to sleep, but she insisted on discussing my inability to stay awake when reading at night. For some reason it gives her pleasure.
   "You know," she continued, "you could be quite the intellectual if you could stay awake for longer than four pages."
   I had to admit she had a point. Fortunately, I had a rebuttal. While reading books can certainly stimulate the brain, I let her know that I basically finished my current book with the four pages I had just read.
   Let me explain. It was a self-help book, recommended to me by a friend. It was 240 pages long, and could have been written in four pages. Or less. Some author had made a lot of money from knuckleheads like me by stretching a couple of simple thoughts into a full-fledged book.
   "I think I'll write my bestseller tomorrow," I announced to my wife, now that I was wide awake because she had called me un-intellectual. "The title will be 'A SUREFIRE WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT.'"
   "I like the title," she obliged. "You might be on to something."
   "It's going to be 265 pages," I said, getting excited, "and every page will say the same thing in huge type: 'EAT LESS.'"
   "That sounds like a winner," she replied, probably with false hopes of becoming my agent. "Don't you want to expand it just a little, though?"
   "Of course I do, and I will. Once it drops out of the Top 10 on the New York Times Bestseller List, I'll come out with Volume 2."
   "Let me guess," she said. 'A SUREFIRE WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT, VOLUME 2' will have every page with the words, 'EXERCISE MORE.'
   Clearly, I had better rush my book to print before plagiarizers like my wife can take advantage of my brilliance. But first I had to test my theory one last time. On the recommendation of another friend, I ordered another self-help book and it arrived last week. It's titled "Younger Next Year--Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You're 80 and Beyond."
   Because I was doing research, I pushed myself to read it before going to bed, where I would be limited to four pages before conking out. Since it was 321 pages and I was testing a theory, I needed more time. Otherwise, I wouldn't finish it until next year, when apparently I would be younger.
   Written by an aging baby boomer who had discovered the wonders of exercise and co-authored by a doctor who scientifically extols the virtues of exercise, the two scribes miraculously managed to fill 321 pages with anecdotes, facts, studies and lots and lots of words.
   It's somewhat entertaining, and motivating at times. But it's no more motivating than my book on losing weight. And it inspired me to write yet another book, this one titled "A SUREFIRE WAY TO STAY YOUNG."
   Volume 1 will be 240 pages of "EAT LESS." (I wanted to keep it shorter in case readers had bought my other book---don't want to be too redundant).
   Volume 2 will be 270 pages of "EXERCISE MORE."
   And Volume 3, inspired by the third element of staying young depicted in the grueling 312 pages of "Younger Next Year," will be 313 pages of the words "MAINTAIN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS."
   "We're going to be rich!" I exclaimed to my wife after I told her my literary plans. "Who could resist buying two volumes of a book that so simply explains how to lose weight, followed up by a second series of books explaining how to stay young forever?"
   "I take it back," she said, wringing her hands with the thought of all the book royalties that will be coming our way. "You may not be an intellectual, but you're a literary genius."
   "Thank you," I modestly replied. "And best of all, anyone reading my books, including me, will have the satisfaction of reading it all the way through before falling asleep."
   "And they'll probably retain more information," she added.
   We high-fived, and I told her I'd miss her when I embarked on my four month book tour. She didn't seem too upset.
 

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