NUMBER OF THE WEEK: Feb. 08, 2009
Source: The Los Angeles Times | February 04, 2009

Give Up the Yacht AND the Personal Trainer?

By Steve Lopez

WALL STREET CEO: Hi, honey, I'm at the office and I've got horrible news.

CEO WIFE: Oh, my gosh. Is Obama cutting back on the bailout?

CEO: It's worse than that. He's ordering pay cuts for Wall Street bosses whose companies get handouts.

WIFE: Is that even legal?

CEO: I think so, and I'm afraid we're going to have to tighten our belts.

WIFE: What kind of a pay cut are you talking about?

CEO: Brace yourself. It's $500,000.

WIFE: Well, that's harsh, and Obama must not have any idea how hard you work. But I think we can get by on $10.5 million a year.

CEO: No, you don't get it. My pay would be $500,000. That's it. Honey? Honey, are you there?

WIFE: Yes, I'm here. I'm breathing into a paper sack.

CEO: Should I call 911?

WIFE: I'm fine. I think. The cash bonuses?

CEO: Gone.

WIFE: The stock awards?

CEO: No longer.

WIFE: Does Barack Obama have any idea what it costs to live in Greenwich? He doesn't have to take it out on us just because half his nominees for White House jobs turned out to be tax cheats.

CEO: You're preaching to the choir.

WIFE: I want to make one thing clear: I am not giving up the house in the Hamptons.

CEO: We either give up the Hamptons or we give up Monkey Business. People with middle-class salaries don't own 450-foot yachts in Palm Beach.

WIFE: I can't believe you said those two words.

CEO: Monkey Business?

WIFE: No, middle class.

CEO: I'm sorry.

WIFE: The masseuse? The personal trainer? The driver?

CEO: Honey, it's tough all around.

WIFE: This isn't just cruel, it's bad economics. Do they realize how many people we employ?

CEO: That's another thing. We can't justify six full-time landscapers.

WIFE: Do you expect me to mow 22 acres of lawn?

CEO: At the very least, we may have to switch to illegal immigrants.

WIFE: Honey, they ARE illegal immigrants.

CEO: Speaking of which . . .

WIFE: Don't even think of it.

CEO: Two housekeepers, a cook and three nannies? I mean, the kids are grown and gone. I know the art collection thing is exhausting, honey, but it's not like you've got a job. If we're going to be forced to survive on a half-million a year, we're going to have to make sacrifices.

WIFE: Couldn't we just cut health benefits for the entire domestic staff?

CEO: We don't pay any benefits.

WIFE: Oh my, this is a nightmare. It's, oh, oh . . . .

CEO: Honey? Are you there?

WIFE: I'm breathing into the bag. What am I supposed to tell friends?

CEO: Tell them what I said all along: This wouldn't be happening if John McCain had picked Mitt Romney.