Hey everybody!! You’ll never guess what we’ve been doing on Sundays. We’ve been reading the New York Times business pages!!!!!!! … ha-ha-ha! … don’t ask us why … maybe it’s because it’s been, like, TOTALLY freezin’ outside and Sunday is THE worst day for watching TV. :( It’s like, geez, there’s NOTHING on, except the Sabbath Gasbags who dominate the morning news/talk shows, and the occasional New York Giants game, which, let’s face it, has its own built-in stupor-inducing effect.


Anyway, the best thing about the Sunday Times is this writer they have named Ben Stein. His job is to write about financial and business stuff. But he makes everything really simple so even we can understand it. And you know what he used to do? He was that totally funny actor who played the math teacher on “The Wonder Years.” That show was sooooooo funny!!


This last Sunday, Ben wrote a really great article about this economist dude named Milton Friedman. Even before he became an actor, Ben’s mom and dad introduced him to all sorts of really famous people — even Richard Nixon!!


Well, as it turns out, Milton Friedman is the smartest friend who Ben ever “inherited from his parents.” And the whole point of Ben’s story is that he was supposed to go to Milton’s birthday party this week but instead he had to go “preach the good gospel of freedom and gratitude at the University of Utah.” We’re not exactly sure what that meant, but it reminded us of that “Wonder Years” episode where Kevin’s birthday party was scheduled for the same day as Paul’s bar mitzvah. That was friggin’ hilllariass! LOL.


Ben also wrote a little bit about Milton’s economical theories, like he wanted freedom for everybody to make money. We are DEFINITELY into that!


But, anyway, the best part of the article was the part about how Milton helped Ben get a girlfriend. He did that by explaining that according to statistics, “if there were only one right woman for every man, they would never find each other.” The point is sort of the same as that episode when Kevin has to beg his mean brother, Wayne, to give him a ride to the mall so he can see a really hot girl he likes. Except now it’s proven by economics: you just gotta try if you wanna find a babe-a-licious! There is more than one of them out there!


Ben also wrote about the day in, like, 1850 or something when Milton saved him from getting turned into major road kill. You see, Ben wanted to cross the street to have a snack at a Chock-Full-o-Nuts. But Milton told him to wait for a green light because “why should we risk the rest of our lives to save 20 seconds?” A totally good point!! It’s easy to see why Ben says that these “were my first hints that I was in the presence of genius.”


And you know what the best thing is? Ben Stein regularly writes this kind of stuff on the New York Times business pages! Like there was that time when he wrote a whole article about how he and a friend he “met in a self-help group” went to buy a Mustang. The sales lady was really nice to the friend, so Ben said, “Eureka!” At that moment, he’d learned an important lesson: “to sell anyone anything, bond with the buyer and be a friend.” Makes sense, right?


Well, we’re pretty sure that Ben knows what he’s talking about because he also played the economics teacher on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” We’ve seen that movie like a million times and it’s, like, all about the lifes of rich people.


Ben’s rich, too. We know this from that article where he said that “thanks to God’s grace, I am able to live in a beautiful part of Beverly Hills.” When he takes his friends on tours of his neighborhood, they always ask, “How did the people who live here get these houses?” Ben always answers that “they work incredibly hard.” That one really made us think. Like, we always thought subway motormen also worked really hard. Silly us!


In another article, Ben wrote about how his driver once forgot where he’d left the car. They had to have the airport police find it. LOL. And then the driver “did not know his way from Baltimore to Washington. (I am not kidding). Exhausted as I was, I had to guide him all of the way.” Can you believe that?! Never mind. Ben said he was just “grateful that I was in a car with a driver and on my way to a superimportant gig.”

Mark R. Mitchell wrote the The Audit column in 2006.