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Madeleine Begun Kane,
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Madeleine Begun Kane

I've come up with a great way to impress friends, relatives, enemies, prospective dates and, most important, your mailman: Subscribe to Millionaire magazine and display it prominently at all times. Better yet, order two subscriptions and keep one well-eared copy on your hand-me-down coffee table and the other under your arm whenever you leave the house. Cover facing out, of course.

You've never heard of Millionaire magazine or its companion Web site What kind of upwardly mobile person are you, anyway?

In answer to your question, I am not making this up. Not only does the self-described "distinctive, affluent lifestyle magazine" Millionaire exist in print, but it recently graduated from bimonthly to monthly publication. Published by Robb White, former publisher of the Robb Report, it covers everything from art, auctions, and Arabian horse breeders to tycoons, celebrities, spirits and cigars. It's the first place to go if you feel like renting a Greek cruising villa ... or if you absolutely must own yet another helicopter. And it's a must if you're itching to furnish your castle with high-tech gear that doesn't clash. Or if you want to surprise your loved one with an antique gold watch ... pardon me ... timepiece.

I'd love to know who Millionaire's readers really are. According to its subscription card, it's written for "a discerning audience of both men and women who enjoy the good life and who insist on 'The Very Best the World has to Offer.'" Apparently its advertisers assume its readers are ... well ... millionaires. Who else could afford her own private Florida Key?

Yet I can't get this image out of my head: An unshaven, unkempt, very unmillionairish fellow standing near me at my neighborhood deli/cigar shop/newsstand, holding Millionaire in his grimy hands, leering at a Learjet, lusting over Lamborghinis, and blocking the aisle for 30 minutes while he fantasizes about stuff neither of us will ever afford.

Despite his appearance, I can't help liking this guy. The fellows who block my path usually lust after photos of quite another kind.

An AP story about the magazine made it clear that being a millionaire isn't all that impressive, quoting Dwight R. Lee, author of "Getting Rich in America": "Being a millionaire isn't what it used to be. It's not going to make you an envy of the city."

Okay, so millionaires are now a dime a dozen and dropping. Granted. On the other hand, I'm a reasonable person -- I'll be more than happy to accept the title ... and the bucks that come with it.

I wonder if Bill Gates reads Millionaire. My guess is no. Bill's too busy reading Billionaire.

© 1999 Madeleine Begun Kane. All Rights Reserved.
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