Butter Rum Cartoon

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Friday, January 6, 2012


It wouldn't be difficult to get rich. It's possible that after reading this post you'll go out and get rich.

The idea came to me, practically was shoved into my face, in some science course at Everett Community College. If I remember right, I dropped out of that class because my grades were plummeting and I wanted to maintain my high grade point average and stay on the Dean's List (honor roll). But before I left, the instructor told us about slime mold.

Between his fascinating description of this organism, he held up a piece of paper with dried, yellowish slime mold on it, telling us that, when dry, the creature remains dormant indefinitely. Then he brought us into the back room and showed us wet, living, active, slime mold, and told us that the organism will grow and spread and (slowly) move. We were amazed.

Slime mold can be found all over the world, possibly on the top of a rotting stump right in your own backyard. One fascinating thing about it is that scientists were having trouble trying to classify it (Protista), since it has conflicting characteristics of both plant and animal. What I thought was the most interesting thing is how, when dried, it remains dormant indefinitely until wet. If the instructor told us right, and didn't miss any important part, he inadvertently told me how to get rich. Finding slime mold is no problem. Growing slime mold is no problem. And it dries on paper, still alive.

The "pet rock" craze was just winding down. Some brainy fellow had the idea of selling rocks as pets, and sold them along with instructions on care. It was a joke, but a lucrative one. So I was going to get rich also, but with a real living creature. Here's the idea: While pet rocks took a lot of postage, books can be sent economically via media mail. So write a book, a brief and humorous children's book about how to care for PET SLIME. The book could include an appendix giving serious facts about the creature, to appease teachers and homeschool parents and extra-curious kids, and then, the best part: The book would include a page with actual slime mold dried on it. This page could have a perforation and be easily torn out, then, after adding water, the pet slime would come alive again and start to grow and move!

When Micki and I were visiting our friend, Michael, and his family, I told him my idea. Michael, although a socialist and proudly on welfare, was an incredibly intelligent fellow-student who maintained straight-A's and had a vocabulary higher than I could hope to always understand; and when he heard my idea, he slapped his hand on the arm of his chair and hollered to his wife, "I told you he was a genius!"

I had only two steps to make before taking off with this idea and getting rich. One was to find out if slime mold is poisonous. I didn't want the lady coming home from suing McDonald's for their hot coffee to have her kid eat the page of dried slime mold and get sick. Also, I had to test to see if it really works, having slime mold dry on a piece of paper, then putting it between other papers under pressure to simulate a stack of books, letting it sit a couple years, and adding water to see if it indeed comes alive again and grows and moves.

But I never got around to taking these steps. Michael's comment about my genius was pay enough for me. And anyone who reads this blog deserves to get rich. So I pass the idea on to you, with my blessing. Go for it. Get rich. But when you are, maybe you'll be kind enough to remember that you got the idea from the Butter Rum Cartoon.

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