As a child, I procured myself a pack of novelty “onion gum,” and set out to unleash all sorts of evil on the world. My crimes against humanity hit a snag when no one would accept gum from a child not known from sharing anything other than his bodily fluids.
In the event that anyone under 60 still reads newspapers, let me explain that onion gum is exactly what it sounds like: Onion-flavored gum, packaged innocuously, that some unsuspecting fool would consume and hilarity would follow, unless they did something completely unexpected, like, say, not chewing the gum.
I shared my disappointment with my aunt, who took pity on me and agreed to put the gum in her mouth. Naturally, a prank loses some of its bite when the victim willingly agrees to go along with it, especially when the person “likes onions” and finds the gum “not that bad, really.”
So, naturally, I rewarded my aunt for her kindness by pooping in her flapper hat.
Despite that setback, what I really wanted was the X-ray glasses I often saw advertised in the comics. Even at 1970s prices, $1.25 was a bargain for portable technology that lets you see through girls’ clothing, presumably without giving them cancer.
Dad refused to go along with my plan, telling me that the X-ray glasses were a rip-off. But I suspected the truth: He feared what I would do with such power, perhaps even usurping his authority, or whatever authority Mom let him have.
So I quietly sent my money in, waited the six to eight weeks for delivery, and it turns out Dad was right: It was a rip-off. I had just ripped off those poor schmucks by paying only a buck and a quarter for a device worth millions.
I started out small, with parlor tricks like peering into people’s pockets, or telling them that they have a cancerous tumor—or not telling them, whichever was funnier.
Obviously, I peered through the clothing of any girl over a “6” and for a small fee would describe to the other boys in gym class Jenny Bathson’s third nipple.
I would also use it to peer through Cheryl Ladd’s tight jumpsuits. Of course, all I’d see were the wires and tubes inside my television set; but if you think that stopped me from masturbating, you don’t know me very well.
I quickly moved on to more prosperous activities, like reading the combinations of safes, finding buried treasure, and cheating at cards. Eventually, I craved the limelight and joined the carnival, a circus of freaks and outcasts known in Minnesota as “the Democratic-Farmer League.”
My X-ray act was such a hit that it was like I was like I was printing money—which I actually was, thanks to a product made by the same company which allowed you to literally print money “that you can spend”! It was, in fact, a key reason for the hyperinflation of the decade.
I no longer needed to peer through women’s clothing, as I had also purchased the “hypno-coin” that made bolts shoot from my eyes and made women lie down on couches. Mind you, it still never got me laid—it was magic, not a miracle-worker—and the coin trick was a little too date-rapey, even for me.
Naturally, there were many in the carny business who were jealous of my success, including the resident Strong Man, who didn’t like it when he figured out that the Sea Monkeys I sold him were nothing but brine shrimp.
Fortunately, I had been taking the Charles Atlas fitness course via mail. Strong Man still kicked my ass regularly, but the Atlas program saved me from many a destroyed sand castle.
So how did all this fame and fortune come to an end? Let’s just say that, when you have X-ray vision, you see things that just cannot be unseen. And one of those things is a naked Don Rickles.
I did my final act in front of a live TV audience, and closed by tearing out my eyes from their sockets. I got better, thanks to the “mystery box” I bought, which just happened to contain eye transplants. I shudder to think what would’ve happened if I had received the fake doggy poo instead.
Plus, it turns out that the X-ray glasses are made from cheap cardboard that get irrevocably bent when you sit on them. Oh, and printing your own money turns out to be a federal crime. Fortunately, I was able to pay my bail and legal fees with the extra money I made from selling subscriptions to GRIT.
Sometimes I wish I could still peer through women’s clothing, but man was never meant to have such power. You may wonder at this point: Why were the X-ray glasses always marketed to men? Didn’t women want to peer through men’s clothes?
If you’re asking these questions, you’ve come to the right place. Because I have a money printer to sell you.