The Root Of All Evil

We had a biology teacher in high school that asked the same question on every quiz and test: “What’s the root of all evil?” The answer, of course, is “money.”

It became a running joke at school. Whenever someone asked you what you learned in biology class we would recite Brother Edward’s mantra.

In “Lord of the Rings,” Gandalf entrusted hobbits with the ring because he felt their personalities could best withstand the powerful, evil pull of power as symbolized by the ring. It was true, though eventually Bilbo and Frodo got all weirded out from carrying the ring around.

The 19th-Century British politician Lord Acton once said, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Johnny Carson said money can’t make you happy but it can eliminate some of the things that make you unhappy. He proved his point by dumping four wives and remarrying progressively younger women, leaving the others to deal with the tears, loneliness, and alimony.

For example, if a mother has four starving children and no money to buy them food, she is going to be very unhappy (the kids won’t exactly be jumping for joy either). Give her money and she can eliminate one source of unhappiness by buying food. She may still be unhappy, though, especially if her kids look like her first husband, who was extremely ugly.

I have lived my life adhering to this principle, concentrating on being a better person, coworker, husband, and citizen by not looking beyond the important things in life, like love, for example.

The problem is, I love money.

I want a Mercedes Benz 550 GL, and I am very unhappy I can’t afford one. In fact, I’m convinced God screwed me, and here is how: If all those people out there who really believe Money Is The Root Of All Evil simply gave their money to me, we wouldn’t have this problem.

Put another way, if you are a mother and don’t mind feeding your children roadkill, give whatever money you have to me. I’ll invest it sensibly in a new vehicle. You can keep enough to buy masks for those ugly kids.

Speaking of roadkill, only in the Hamptons do you find the gourmet kind. In most places, it’s squirrel and an occasional (if you are lucky) rabbit. (OK, sometimes a diseased weasel will wander into traffic but that is indeed a rarity.) But hereabouts, life is such that those of you who covet money, as evil as it is, might consider a new start-up: Hamptons Roadkill.

Of course, we can’t name our new company that. I’m pushing “The Road To Culinary Treats” with the tagline “Eat Like A Million Bucks,” forgetting for the moment we are talking about the root of all evil.

First a word about start-ups. You’re in the Hamptons. Think big! You can go on GoFundMe and ask for a new kidney and you’ll be lucky to total 400 bucks. But ask for seed money to study the mating habits of the rare single gonad-slurping turtle, some Green-loving reformed acidhead will write you a check for $500,000.

Consider the bounty: turkey, deer, quail, turtle, as well as rabbit and the rest. Now, reinvent them with the hoity-toity pretentious names like our local restaurants do:

Quail with lemon tagliatelle

Provençal Turkey Roast with Riesling

French Herb Roasted Turkey with Languedoc Wine

Venison Bourguignon

Roast Quail Veronique

Sound good? Don’t read the fine print: “Chef Murphy transforms the squashed carcass of a week-old turkey (don’t worry, he’s dead) by removing the tire skid marks and smothering it with sauce formaldehyde. Served with braised opossum hair and natural liquids.”

Finally, the price: would you pay $7.50 for a home-cooked meal in the Hamptons? Of course not. Double that? Naw. We pay $44 for crap like this. Don’t worry, it comes with a mesclun salad, the same greens papa grew in his garden (except he called them weeds).

Here in lies the secret to the Hamptons. Take a perfectly good bottle of wine that goes for $8. But don’t sell it for $8 a glass — no one will want it. Sell it for twice that. Ditto pasta. It costs a few bucks to make most any pasta dish. Charge $35 for it.

People in the Hamptons want to spend all their money because they realize it is the root of all evil. The only way for true salvation is to live a life of poverty and of course, to prostrate yourself before the lord, unless you have your prostate removed and then I guess you can just bow or kneel.

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