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word of mouth brass tacks

What must it be like to be paid $280,898 a second? All right, the job was over in 89 seconds, but Mike Tyson is back and the parole board needn't worry about Iron Mike getting down to brass tacks and finding gain- ful employment.

Sure he's ring-rusty, and half a round with a gold-digging Boston Irish patsy who's more used to pumping iron than throwing punches doesn't prove he's still got lead in his pencil. But the time inside seems to have put the iron in his soul, and that can be worth its weight in gold to a fighter.

All that glisters is not gold and it doesn't do to get brassed off every time something takes the shine off life. Always remember that every cloud has a silver lining.

Take my friend Lulu. She was something big in tin pan alley, great at her job, a 24-carat worker, pure gold dust. Her boss, who liked to think he was sophisticated and silver-tongued, was desperate to hang on to her and offered her golden handcuffs to stay, a real gilt-edged, copper-bottomed deal, but then he had the brass neck to come on to her. When she turned him down he played the tin god and put it round the rest of the brass hats that she'd been swinging the lead and wanted her sacked, just like that, no golden handshake or anything.

Well, where there's muck there's brass, and like so many of those born with a silver spoon in their mouths, this tinpot boss liked a bit of rough trade, and Lulu knew that every Thursday he took a golden shower in Bayswater. So she put it to him that his brassy wife, once a star of the silver screen, but now regrettably rusting a little under the chrome, might put him on his mettle if she got wind of this.

She suggested that as he didn't exactly have a cast- iron alibi, maybe he'd like to iron out this little prob- lem they seemed to be having. Now, of course, this went down like a lead balloon and the upshot is they were forced to strap her into a golden parachute before they let her go. To cap it off, she ratted to the wife anyway. Some say that was gilding the lily, but that's Lulu, she likes her pleasures unalloyed.