If I offered you $137.5 million to name the three people who earn the most money endorsing products, you'd probably whip off Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan without having to think twice.
But unless you saw a recent item in The Arizona Republic sports section, I'm betting George Foreman would not be your third choice. That's right -- George Foreman.
The ex-heavyweight boxer recently sold his share in the company that makes his grilling machines for $137.5 million. But George still collects royalties -- to the tune of $27.5 million last year alone.
Who would have guessed that George's grilling machines -- a rather simple concept when you think about it -- could crank out that kind of money? And what happens when everybody in the world finally owns a grilling machine which, by my calculations using an atomic clock, should happen sometime this month?
To avoid the thought of poor George destitute in the street I have an idea. In this age of multi-tasking, a whole new line of grilling machines could be created that would perform other functions in addition to cooking meat with less fat.
Imagine, for example, the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Internet Censor. Just plug it in and while your steak cooks it also zaps any obnoxious or pornographic material the younguns may be looking at -- with a jolt they won't soon forget.
Or the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Sidewalk De-Icer. Cook up some steaks, then let the machine sizzle your sidewalk clean so your dinner guests won't end up suing you because they busted their tails when they slipped and fell on the way home.
This variation would have a market in Payson where we actually had a winter for a change. Here are some other combinations that I believe would be best sellers at our local Wal-Mart:
- George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Radar Detector:
Just the thing for cruising Tyler Parkway without interference from the cops. And with the machine sitting on your dashboard you're always ready to cook up a little roadkill.
- George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Automobile Governor:
Yet another tool for negotiating Tyler Parkway without getting stopped by the local gendarmes. A town councilor once uttered these famous words: "I tried, and you can't make yourself drive 25 on Tyler Parkway." With the combo grilling machine/automobile governor you don't have a choice.
- George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Boot Cleaner:
This is cowboy country, and a machine that can reduce a piece of red meat to a crisp in a matter of minutes ought to be able to scorch the mud right off those boots.
- George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Karaoke Machine:
What's unique about this Karaoke machine is that it zaps those who sing off key or attempt to sing "Louie Louie" into oblivion.
- George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Fire Extinguisher:
This little number would not only come in handy when the steaks get a little too well done, but up here in the land of fire and brimstone you can't have too many extinguishers. Of course, all bets are off if Valinda Jo Elliott comes up for a cookout using her combination George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Bic Lighter.
- George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Duck Decoy/Caller:
Assuming you can grill duck on one of George's gems, this is the perfect cradle-to-grave implement -- if you get my drift -- no pun intended.
- George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Defibrillator:
Just the answer to the perplexing problem facing the fledgling Beaver Valley Fire Department (slogan: "Where there's smoke, it's not necessarily fire.) -- how to operate a fire department with no money or equipment.
- George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Rainmaker:
Hey boy, can we put a few of these to good use.
- George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Bug Zapper:
Sitting around watching a bug zapper is, I am told, one of the Rim country's favorite pastimes. Combine it with a perfectly grilled steak, and you've got it about as good as it gets -- not to mention the potential for a little extra protein.