STEP TWO: YOU HAVE TO BUILD A BARN

I stared longingly at the wide open expanse of land. It was an empty canvas and my imagination, wielding paintbrush and palette, deftly inserted a large red barn. It was the most beautiful barn I had ever imagined in all my days on this earth. I yelped in excitement.

I placed inside the imaginary barn great big bales of hay, stacking them neatly as if giving order to some deep pain within my psyche. I filled the barn with animals, perhaps to rest, perhaps to stage a morality play about the corrupting influence of Stalinism.

"There," I said to myself while pointing at a particular choice spot of land. "That is where my barn will go."

I immediately left my neighbor's wide expanse of land and drove to Home Depot intending to fill my Honda Civic with vital barn making supplies.

I walked the vast lumber aisles wide-eyed and full of hope, admiring all the great planks of wood just waiting for deployment. There was no doubt in my mind that I was staring at the embryonic beginnings of my barn. After about 20 minutes of leering at lumber, a man approached me.

"Looking to buy some lumber?" he inquired.

"I'm building a barn, sir. I will require a selection of your finest lumber in the rough shape of a barn."

"A barn? That's a pretty big project. You working with some contractors?"

"I believe that within the heart of every man there rests at least one barn yearning to be built. The time has come for me to build my barn and share my heart with the world."

"Uh, well, barns can be very expensive. You're looking at a few thousand for the lumber alone for a decent sized barn."

"Say no more, sir. If you are going to put a financial figure on my hopes and dreams, then I will bid you good day and hope that nobody ruins your dreams as badly as you have ruined mine just now."

And with that I left the store knowing full well that had I a large amount of money I could have easily built a barn just like that. A great success, that will perhaps one day become an even greater success, assuming a relative I never knew I had leaves me a large chest full of money after dying unexpectedly in some kind of protracted battle against an armada of highly organized cockroaches.

STEP THREE: YOU HAVE TO DIG UP A LOT OF GRAVES

"Clunk" cried the ground as I drove a shovel through its hardened crust, pushing down through layers of earth toward buried treasure. The land was a body, and I was operating on it. The only medical tool I needed was a shovel, and with it I would amputate a coffin from six feet of earthly tissue.

Disturbing the sleep of the dead is considered a taboo by most modern societies, but it is also a great source of income. Celebrity bones and organs fetch top dollar prices on eBay and other auction houses, and it's a source of revenue that's almost completely untapped.

To be successful, you need money and initiative. Robbing celebrity graves is an honest way to make a living and prove that you are a creative money maker. The only downside is the hours. You typically work the graveyard shift, which is made doubly macabre by the fact you will be working in graveyards. But, fortune favors the bold, and it takes a truly bold man to plunder from the dead.

On this quiet night I was working to excavate the skeletal remains of television actor Norman Fell, whose bones would no doubt bring me tons of cash. Rumor has it that Norman Fell's skull was made of pure crystal, one of only 13 in the world, and was coveted by many celebrity bone collectors. I expected this to be my last haul before I moved on to bigger business endeavors. Afterwards, I would take my money and trade up in life.

When I finally hit the coffin, I heard a dog barking in the distance. The dog triggered a veritable Rube Goldberg sequence of noises, all conspiring to wake up the night watchmen. I had to work fast if I was to get Norman Fell's crystal skull and escape. Unfortunately, stealing celebrity bones is not an industry for the impatient. One has to work very slow and deliberate, so as not to break the merchandise and diminish its retail value.

It was not to be, though. Hearing the night watchmen approaching, I quickly yanked loose a femur, climbed out of the hole, shoveled all the dirt back in, patted it down, and took off running. A femur is a pretty lackluster bone and typically only fetches a couple hundred. Still, success is all about putting yourself out there, and that's exactly what I did.

I might not have acquired the crystal skull of Norman Fell, but I made decent money being self-employed working in the cool night air. When I go in for job interviews, my grave robbing experience is usually the first thing an interviewer asks me about when they look at my résumé.

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