Donate to Enron

By Joe Kovacs

When I first got logged on to the Internet, I used to get quite excited checking my e-mailbox for messages.

I hoped to see at least something in there, some small morsel of communication indicating that someone out there cares. Back then, they were few and far between.

Now that I get about 200 messages per day, the excitement has dwindled slightly, especially since I spend half my time deleting spam offers for refinancing home mortgages or enlarging certain parts of my body.

But every once in a while, someone sends me a really poignant missive that I feel I need to share. This is one of those times.

Unless you’ve been living underground or in Berkeley, Calif., you’ve probably heard about a Texas-based company called Enron. The energy marketer has come under scrutiny after many employees lost their retirement benefits after questionable moves by upper management.

Well now – at least according to this e-mail – there’s something positive afoot. I have no idea who wrote this message or where it originated, but it proves the altruistic spirit of America is still alive.

Here’s the text:

Subject: Please, Give from your heart

Now that the holiday season has passed, please look into your heart to help those in need. Enron executives in our very own country are living at or just below the seven-figure salary level … right here in the land of plenty. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, they will be deprived of it as a result of the bankruptcy and current SEC investigation.

But now, you can help! For only $20,835 a month, about $694.50 a day (that’s less than the cost of a large-screen projection TV) you can help an Enron executive remain economically viable during his time of need. This contribution by no means solves the problem, as it barely covers the per diem, but it’s a start!

Now $700 may not seem like a lot of money to you, but to an Enron exec it could mean the difference between a vacation spent [brown-nosing] in D.C., golfing in Florida or on a Mediterranean cruise. For you, $700 is nothing more than rent, a car note or mortgage payments. But to an Enron exec $700 will almost replace his or her per diem.

Your commitment of less than $700 a day will enable an Enron exec to buy that home entertainment center, trade in the year-old Lexus for a new Ferrari, or enjoy a weekend in Rio.

How will I know I’m helping?

Each month, you will receive a complete financial report on the exec you sponsor. Detailed information about his or her stocks, bonds, 401(k), real estate, and other investment holdings will be mailed to your home. You’ll also get information on how he plans to invest his golden parachute.

Imagine the joy as you watch your executive’s portfolio double or triple! Plus, upon signing up for this program, you will receive a photo (unsigned – for a signed photo, please include an additional $50). Put the photo on your refrigerator to remind you of other peoples’ suffering.

How will he know I’m helping?

Your Enron exec will be told that he has a special friend who just wants to help in a time of need. Although the exec won’t know your name, he will be able to make collect calls to your home via a special operator just in case additional funds are needed for unexpected expenses.

Yes, I want to help!

I would like to sponsor an Enron executive. My preference is checked below:

    [ ] Mid-level manager

    [ ] Director

    [ ] Vice president (Higher cost; please specify which department)

    [ ] President (Even higher cost; please specify which department)

    [ ] CEO (Contribution: Average Enron janitor monthly salary x 700)

    [ ] Entire company

OK, there it is – an impassioned yet dignified plea to help those in obvious need. And now that your heart strings have been pulled, I thought I might make a few more suggestions for donations.

Rep. James Traficant, on a better hair day

Let’s start with something simple: a comb for Congressman James Traficant. The Ohio Democrat is currently on trial for allegedly taking “donations” for favors but, apparently, hair care has never been among his priorities. I really like Traficant, but for some reason it often appears he just passed through a wind tunnel.

And while on the matter of personal grooming, will someone send Al Gore a razor, and U2’s lead singer Bono a bathtub?

But we can’t stop there, others are in need as well. How about a cork for Rosie O’Donnell’s mouth, and a brown paper bag for her head?

Hillary Clinton, patron saint of pants suits?

For those of you who scour secondhand stores, please do your best to find Hillary Clinton a new pants suit. Her current black one has to be getting a little worn out by now.

I’m not sure where to find one of these items, but if anyone has a Hannibal Lecter-style mouth mask that’s no longer needed, I’m sure the populace would appreciate one latched on to Mike Tyson’s face.

If you don’t have wads of cash hanging around the house, you can still help the likes of the ABC-TV programming department by donating ideas for a show. Does that network air even one primetime program worth watching?

Finally, for those of you who do have plenty of disposable income, it’s becoming quite evident there’s going to be a shortage of bribery money for Olympic skating judges, now that so much attention is being focused on them.

And if your cash doesn’t go to the judges, rest assured it will go to a worthy cause – making all those extra gold medals, since they now give out an additional one for second place.