Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Sunday, April 17, 2005


White Man Speak With Forked Tongue

Listening to NPR this morning, I heard a story about a tribe in Washington State that's manufacturing their own cigarettes. Intrigued, I did a little investigating and discovered that cigarettes are just the tip of the iceberg.

I called an old friend of mine, Mike Running Deer, who's a member of the Okanagan tribe, and he filled me in on the details of what appears to be a major expansion of Indian business ventures, taking the tribes beyond the success they've enjoyed with their casinos. This spring will mark the debut in stores all over the west coast of the tribe's Complete brand of low-cost cigarettes. Complete will be attractively packaged, appealing to both the frugality and the aesthetics of whites. "We hope to create a hundred-thousand new white smokers per annum," Mike said, "that's why we're putting John Wayne right on the package. White guys love him."

Additionally, the tribe is busy test-marketing a high-fat mayonnaise. Mike tells me this mayonnaise is creamier and more flavorful than any brand currently on the market. "Yeah, there's people out there looking for healthier food, but what Caucasian is going to be able to resist smearing something this tasty on their BLT?"

Mike seems to feel, though, that sales of the cigarettes and the mayonnaise combined won't equal half of the profit the tribe's going to see when their new wine box hits the market. "Well, again," he says, "you guys are all about the bargains and this new five-gallon wine box is going to deliver that in spades. We're aiming for the stupid college binge-drinkers who want to be a trifle more sophisticated than their beer-drinking buddies. Low-cost, high-alcohol concentration. Should be a huge, huge hit."

Finally, Mike says, the tribes are going to be opening a discount clothing store, in direct competition to giant Old Navy. They expect to do a brisk business in blankets, especially. When asked if any of the blankets would be infected with small-pox, Mike turned cagey, saying, "I guess we'll have to wait and see, won't we?"

"The bottom line," he continued, "is that we're serving a need. It's not like we're getting you guys hooked on unhealthy stuff, we're just going to provide what you already want."

The tribe figures that, if sales reach expected levels, Caucasian life-expectancy should be cut by ten years, at least. "Not that that's our goal or anything. I mean, we love you guys. You've done so much for us."