Unsolicited Advice for Paul the Psychic Octopus
The World Cup is over. For personal reasons, I would prefer not to discuss the result. It’s best not to dwell in the past, obsessing futilely over bad calls or undeserved penalties. I would rather look to the future. And for me, looking to the future means making sure Paul — the Psychic Octopus who correctly predicted the outcome of the World Cup — maximizes his opportunities in his crucial next steps as a public figure.
Paul, as your hypothetical manager, here is my 6-point plan to lasting fame and fortune.
(Paul, should you choose to act on my advice, please let me know at once and my assistant will fax over a standard client contract claiming a very reasonable 7.5% of all future earnings. That’s before tax, which almost evens it out!)
1. Find reputable representation. Sure, CAA, ICM, WME, and UTA are all knocking down your door. But be wary of any agency-generated PowerPoint presentation that talks about “brand longevity” or looking forward to Brazil 2014. That’s not going to happen (and besides, let’s be realistic, even the longest lived octopi species live only about 5 years.) By then there’ll be some other invertebrate with superpowers–Joanne the Psychic Jellyfish, Christopher the Clairvoyant Cloud of Plankton. You’ve got 15 minutes, buddy, and the clock is ticking. You want someone who wants to help you cash out now and cash out big.
2. Work the talk show circuit. I know this sounds like a no-brainer – and in a way it is. But look at it this way. You’ve got a platform. Now you want to control the conversation. Right now you’re a blank slate. No one knows anything about you. The trick to staying in the public conversation is to roll out new information at advantageous times. Show us different sides of yourselves. Going on Oprah? Talk about your wife’s tragic death shortly after the birth of your children (female octopi are genetically programmed to die immediately after giving birth, but knowing something is one’s evolutionary heritage doesn’t make it any less hard, does it?) or how Neil the Giant Squid always made you feel “less than.” Slap that smug smile off Bill Maher’s face by wowing him and your fellow panel members (James Franco and Lindsay Graham) with your nuanced understanding of the reasoning behind the proposed German bailout of Greece’s economy. Going on Letterman? Might be a good time to prove your comedy chops with an updated version of Stupid Pet Tricks.
3. And speaking of comedy chops, you’ll want to host Saturday Night Live. Sure, your unwieldy physique and unusual molecular structure might not make you the most versatile host, but think how great you’ll be sitting on Will Forte’s face during his Davy Jones blind date sketch. And you’ve got to be funnier than January Jones.
4. The book deal. It’s inevitable, and two things are crucial here: A) make sure its translated (I assume you’ll be writing in your native German) and published in less than four months. Any more lag and no one will care. Remember, if you can rush the delivery, they can rush the rollout! Don’t get intimidated. B) do something people won’t expect. Instead of a straightforward memoir: “Eight Legs, Three Hearts” or “In a Clamshell: My Story” how about a cookbook or a diet bible? I think “The Octopus Diet” has bestseller written all over it.
5. Find a cause. This is another no-brainer. Thousands of your fellow octopi are killed and eaten in various terrifying dishes every day, all over the world. Film a heart-wrenching PSA about how your siblings met their end in the Tokyo fish market and there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
6. The tabloid fodder. With all this glory, you’re headed for a fall. Luckily, nothing generates headlines like a nice, simple DUI, especially if you can lead the police on a good old fashioned car chase. When apprehended, claim that those aren’t your pants! Why would you be wearing pants with two legs? You were just holding the coke for that starfish, the one that’s back at the pool. Then say something anti-Semitic. You’re German, it’ll sound convincing. Convincing makes good copy.
7. Con the Christians. Come out of rehab claiming you’ve found Jesus. Record a Christian rock album and speak at the New Life Church. Lay tentacles on people — the the fundies EAT that shit up. And boy, do they spend. Ask your fellow cephalopod Sarah Palin (yes Dad, I know how smart octopi are, and how comparing her to one is an insult to them. It’s just a joke.) She’s made literally a zillion dollars doing not much more than you just did, and she’s never even HEARD of Uruguay. There’s gold in them there megachurches.
8. The future. Three words: The Psychic Friends Network. (Okay, that was four words. But “the” doesn’t count.) Dionne Warwick can’t live forever, no matter what the prophecy says. And that my friend, is a financial future. That is a good fucking gig.
Not that you asked.
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