Trump wants `You're fired' for his very own

March 25, 2004|By Kevin Cowherd

OH, YOU gotta love Donald Trump.

The Donald is the sort of guy who hears himself called shallow, narcissistic and vulgarly ostentatious and thinks: "They say that like it's a bad thing."

The man has absolutely no shame.

In fact, the only person in the whole country with less shame is his hair stylist.

In another stunning example of rich-guy greed, America's favorite billionaire real-estate tycoon is now attempting to trademark the phrase "You're fired" that he utters on his popular TV reality show The Apprentice.

Never mind that "You're fired" has been in common usage for years and years.

Never mind that millions of Americans have actually had the phrase directed toward them with humiliating results, including a certain humble columnist who was once fired from a job with a landscaping firm after backing a two-ton dump truck over a wheelbarrow.

Nope, Trump wants it for his own.

Apparently, he wants it for his own because there are people out there selling T-shirts and sweat shirts emblazoned with the phrase.

There are other people selling windbreakers and baseball caps and keychains with the phrase.

And what kills Trump, of course, is that these people are making money.

Money which Trump naturally feels would look better in his bank account than anyone else's.

See, that's the thing about billionaires like The Donald.

They don't land in that tax bracket by turning their back on an extra thou or two, especially if it comes at the expense of the poor guy putting in 14-hour days selling sweat shirts on the sidewalk.

But as much as this whole thing is about greed, it's also about ego, too.

Let's face it, Trump's ego was already bigger than the Empire State Building.

Then they gave him his own TV reality series, and it was like slapping another 50 floors on the thing, plus an observation deck.

If you haven't seen The Apprentice, it's that show where young people learn that the way to get ahead in the corporate world is by groveling and kissing up until the top guy hires you as a flunky.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt to take cheap shots at the other job applicants, either.

Or to dress like you're in the cast of Sex and the City, if you're a woman.

Yes, I'm sure we'd all agree that these are wonderful lessons we're teaching our young people.

Never mind all that stuff about perseverance, diligence and a strong work ethic, kids.

Looking for a job?

Just sell your soul on one of these shabby reality shows and you could be set for life.

Anyway, at the end of every episode of The Apprentice, Trump scrunches up his face like he's got stomach gas, makes a pincer motion with his fat little thumb and forefinger, and growls to one of the applicants: "You're fired."

For some reason, viewers love when he does this. Maybe it's the reality-show equivalent of NASCAR fans waiting for a spectacular crash, or hockey fans waiting for the big brawl.

But me, I watch Trump fire these poor mopes and think: How is it possible that not one strand of his hair has moved in the past hour?

Is it lacquered?

Is there a thin polyurethane shield over the whole thing?

Not since the great Lesley Stahl has there been a more impenetrable dome of hair.

In any event, it'll be interesting to see how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rules on Trump's attempt to lock up "You're fired."

In his official application - there's a copy circulating on the Internet, if you're really bored - Trump seeks sole rights to the phrase for use on "Clothing," as well as "Games and playthings" and "Casino services."

If he does get the rights to "You're fired," what would this mean for the rest of us?

Would your boss no longer be able to call you into his office, shut the door and utter those two memorable words?

Would he now be forced to use euphemisms like: "We're going to have to let you go" or "We're moving in a different direction" or "Turn in your key, worm. Security will escort you out of the building"?

Which makes me think I should get down to the patent office myself before too long.

Might as well lock up "You've been outsourced" before someone else does.

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