"OK, let’s add this up again," I said, pounding my calculator trying to get it to clear back to zero. "This just can't be right."
Toni Braxton just threw her hands up in the air and shrugged her shoulders in that "I dunno" kind of way. Then her gaze went quickly back to the laptop computer on my kitchen counter. She had spent the last two hours surfing the net -- buying everything from electric juicers and Shamwows, to at-home pregnancy tests in bulk.
"FOCUS!" I shouted, closing the laptop and shoving the calculator in her face.
"You're the only woman I know who thinks bankruptcy is the 'minimum payment due.' So we need to figure out how you racked up so much debt and come up with a plan to make sure this doesn't happen again. At some point honey, you're going to need to start a new chapter in your life ... because you keep rereading chapter 7."
She's reported to be $10 million to $50 million in the hole since declaring bankruptcy the last time -- about 10 years ago. Since she's not worth more than $10 million in the first place, you can imagine that this represents a bit of an accounting issue. She owes a lot of money to folks like AT&T, The Four Seasons Hotels, Tiffany & Co., Orkin Pest Control, the Internal Revenue Service, Mesa Air Conditioning and the DMV.
The DMV? Seriously?
Meanwhile, how many peak-time minutes and text messages can one person use?
For that matter, does one really have a few million dollars worth of cockroaches and other assorted pests and insects roaming around the house that need to be exterminated? Especially if you're having temperature issues with the air conditioning. I can't imagine any self-respecting roach wanting to take up residence in a house where the A/C is always on the fritz.
And why would any of that matter in the first place if you're squatting at the Four Seasons? In that case, I'd let the Momma Cockroach and all her rapidly multiplying posse go buck wild and have a house party till the neighbors call the po-po.
She didn't have a reasonable answer for any of these questions. Instead she used my Amex Black to charge herself a little happy on Zappos.com.
"OK, forget it. What's done is done. Here is what we're going to do," I said smiling -- quite pleased with myself for having devised such a clever fix. "We're ripping up all your credit cards and putting you back to work. I happen to know someone who is currently looking to hire phone-sex operators. It's perfect. They'll pay your phone bill -- something you obviously can't manage on your own. And you can put that deep masculine voice of yours to good use. Then we're putting you on a strict budget."
She looked sort of offended. I didn't care.
"Now we just need a good phone-sex name," I said. "Like Bruce. Or Clint. Or maybe Spartacus. Something very gladiator with a big stick. Your voice has that deep, 'roid-raged warrior tone to it. We should capitalize."
I spent the rest of the afternoon giving her tips on how to keep callers on the line past the first two free minutes.
She's still a little green. But she's got some real potential, that one. With time and some dedicated training, she may just beat Bea Arthur's record in commissions.
Love ya like a little slap and tickle for $2.95 a minute,
For years now, Aunt Johnny has been doling out advice to celebrity friends and family - bringing a little dose of wisdom wrapped in wit, sprinkled with satire and sautéed in drama, to those who can't seem to get their act together. He's helped to prevent fashion catastrophes, stupid career choices and petty romantic theatrics for some of the most famous names in show business and politics ... all from the comfort of his martini glass. Now, he's bringing his celebrity and pop culture buzz to San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. With tongue in cheek, he's taking pop culture shaken and stirred. Then he's shaking it some more.
Read the Toni Braxton bankruptcy story HERE.