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DefinitionWho Wants To Be A Millionaire?(Sudden Wealth Syndrome satire)
By Steven Pritzker, Gary Greenberg

From Psychology Today

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (Sudden Wealth Syndrome satire)

The Tragedy of  "Sudden Wealth Syndrome"

An alarming new problem is striking Americans under 40: Sudden Wealth Syndrome. San Francisco psychologists Mark Goldbart and Joan DiFuria recently identified this neurosis after treating patients who suddenly found themselves millionaires or, even worse, billionaires. Like The Beverly Hillbillies, King Midas and lottery winners, these melancholy magnates have a hard time adjusting to their newfound wealth, exhibiting moodiness, depression and feelings of social inadequacy.

We've decided to make Sudden Wealth Syndrome our worthy cause du jour. We've vowed to help these unfortunate million- and billionaires lose their confusion, pain and gelt ... er, guilt, despite their oppressively large bank accounts. In this light, we proudly announce:

The Shrinkwrap Affluence Adjustment Rehabilitation Center

Nestled in an idyllic hillside overlooking beautiful Lake Wampum, our sprawling, 73-acre estate boasts a four-star restaurant/hotel, a world-class video arcade and, most importantly, our award-winning Wealthness Coaches[R] to comfort and inspire you. Our three-month intensive program will cover many psychological aspects of newfound wealth including:

Bereavement Counseling

An early sign of Sudden Wealth Syndrome is an unhealthy attachment to aspects of your premillionaire lives. We'll help you gain closure by staging a mock funeral in which you'll lovingly bury representative objects such as packages of Ramen Noodles, the license plate from your Chevette, and that three-gallon jug of Price Club shampoo.

Guilt and Self-esteem Issues

The newly wealthy often ask, "Why me? What did I do to deserve earning more in a few weeks than 500 hardworking coal miners make in their entire lives?" Our guilt counselors will teach you how to stop asking this question and focus instead on the incredible sound coming out of your new $12,000 speakers.

We also encourage philanthropy, which relieves guilt and gets your name on a building. We suggest The Shrinkwrap Affluence Adjustment Camp Scholarship Fund, which gives underprivileged children the opportunity to experience what it's like to feel miserable about being rich--and you get a handsome tax deduction.

Relationship Issues

You've probably noticed how much smarter, sexier and more fun you've become since cashing in those stock options. How do you know whether people like you for yourself or for your money? You can't. That's why you'll have to start hanging around other rich people.

Our "Wealth as a Second Language" course will teach you how to: complain about the lack of decent service; discern the subtle yet important differences between the Mercedes 928 and the 928i; and buy your unborn children spots in the preschool that sends the most kids to Harvard.

Regression Therapy

Some guests believe they were happier before acquiring their wealth. That's why you'll spend time in our Middle-Class Fantasy Camp, where you'll experience the malaise of marginal living. After a week of working, preparing family meals and doing mindless chores, you'll soon realize the extent of your former misery and fully embrace life on Easy Street.

Group Therapy in The Bill Gates Nerd Memorial Lounge

You'll experience catharsis by recalling the kids who made fun of you when you chose computers over kickball or Barbie. (Bet they're sorry now!) You'll muse about how private jets and posh resorts really do make you a better human being. You'll then be chauffeured out of our majestic gates with a stronger ego and a renewed faith that money really can buy happiness.

Steven R. Pritzker, Ph.D., is PT's humor editor. Gary Greenberg is a stand-up comic and author of The Pop-up Book of Phobias.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Sussex Publishers, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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