Micah the Graduate Student couldn’t believe that he was sitting across from legendary televangelist Pastor “Prosperity” Jones, but it was almost Christmas and that starvation wage he earned grading papers for the Online University of Nearly College Studies just wasn’t paying the bills.
“So what do you know about George Washington?” asked the ruddy-faced, bulldog-jowled cleric.
“Um… I can’t… er… say that I’ve given him much thought,” Micah stammered. During his 15 years under eminent theoretician Jonas Ruggeleteapot's tutelage, he’d never stooped to consider an old chestnut like the cherry tree-chopping Washington.
“Prosperity” shot Micah a withering look. “You mean to tell me you haven’t given much thought to the Father of our Country? Are you a pinko, son? Some kind of trade unionist or social justice blog boy?”
“No, no,” Micah said. “Far from it, sir. It’s just that I’ve spent the last decade identifying aporias, parallaxing positionalities, and de-reifying gender binaries."
“Prosperity” reached across the desk and put a fat, purplish-red hand on Micah’s narrow shoulder. “I don’t understand a word of that, boy, but I’m guessing it means you can read and write. And you’ve got that Ph.D., right?”
“Yessir, a Ph.D. in Post-Literacy with a certificate in Advanced Knowledge,” Micah lied. It wasn’t much of a lie, though: He’d been “all but dissertation” for years, and his dissertation was only a few hundred pages away from being written.
“Well, we’re in need of brainpower like yours here at the ‘Prosperity’ Jones Institute for Wealth Studies. Do you think you could write a paper about why George Washington would have opposed all of the taxes?”
If the money were right, Micah figured he could write a paper on any topic. Besides, “Prosperity” Jones was probably right about Washington’s position. “I’m sure that George Washington wouldn’t have wanted anybody taxing his slave plantation and powdered wigs.”
“Prosperity” nodded his approval. “Merry Christmas, Marco. You’ve got yourself a big kid job now.”
Two years later, Micah published a best-selling book about how Jesus was the earliest believer in Reaganomics. Guided by the invisible hand of a marketplace powered by rational maximizers, he soon became rich—richer even than Ruggleteapot, the great advisor and mentor he’d once come so close to actually meeting if only that august personage hadn’t cancelled his office hours. Micah’s heart was in the work, much as Andrew Carnegie’s had been, with a precisely similar purpose: pursuit of the almighty dollar.