MARTIN SHKRELI: I’m Just Like You

I know I have a lot of critics as of late; and personally I think they should go fuck themselves. Especially while they still can before I acquire the rights to condoms. But guys, listen: I’m like you. I have a story and a dream. When I was a little boy, I was like every other kid. I enjoyed Saturday morning cartoons, eating a big bowl of Apple Jacks, and then going in the backyard and dismembering squirrels with my bare hands. I went to school, and rode my bike, and dreamt about what I was going to be like when I grew up. My dad was a businessman, and I wanted to just like him.

One fine sunny weekend in June, my family went on a day trip. We went to King’s Dominion. I remember traversing the full parking lot and going through the turnstile. The sprawling park overwhelmed me as I stood between my mother and father, each of them grasping one of my hands. We walked a bit, until we got to our first ride. A roller coaster! Oh, it was thrilling. We stood in line, and patiently waited. After an hour without much progress, I remember becoming aware of the sun beating down on my face and arms. I looked up at my parents. My mother stood fanning herself, and my father wiped sweat from his brow. “Wait here,” father said to my mom. He took my hand and we ventured away into the crowd. After a short distance weaving between other patrons, we arrived at a small hut. It had a straw roof and a bright garish sign that said LEMONADE in big pink letters. I stood at my father’s side, and could just barely see over the counter. “Three waters, son,” My father stated to the teenager in the booth. In his blue polo and matching visor, the teen looked quite content sipping on the biggest cup of lemonade@ I’d ever seen in my life. He nodded, and placed three water bottles on the counter. I longed to reach up and touch the condensation on the cool blue plastic to my forehead. “That will be eighteen seventy-five,” The boy declared. Eighteen seventy-five? That didn’t sound right to me at all. That would have been at least a few months of my allowance, and I drank water all the time. I didn’t understand. My father heaved an exasperated sigh as he reached into his back pocket for his wallet. “What are these bottles made of, pure gold?” As he handed some bills to the boy. Father was always hilarious as far back as I could remember.

As we returned to the line where mother stood patiently, I asked “Father, was that a lot for the water?” We continued walking as he reflected, “Martin, almost every day, you have to strive to be the best game in town to get what you want. But sometimes in life, a certain kind of opportunity will arise. The opportunity to be the only game in town. Then the rules are yours.” “Like what kind of rules, father?” I didn’t do well with sports, despite the agility I had acquired catching and brutalizing small animals in my spare time. We stopped in our tracks, and he kneeled down in front of me on the brick work. He gazed into my eyes, “Martin, when the rules are yours, they’re yours. So, it really depends on what you want to be in this life. There are people who are boring, and then there are people who have the brilliant audacity to come as close as they can to fucking someone in the ass without having to go to prison. The choice is yours, son.” He stood up again and tousled my hair. We continued silently on our way, as I listened to the bustle of the crowd. We found mother, sipped on our water, and eventually got on the coaster. The day passed in a blur. I remember being tired, sunburned, and content in the back of our station wagon on the way home. As we pulled out of the parking lot at dusk, I looked out of the window as the silhouette of the park on the horizon that receded into the distance. I wondered, what if the only game in town wasn’t just the whole town, but the whole world? The thought stuck with me. Aside from that, the most I can remember from that day is knowing I wanted to be more than boring. I wanted to have that ass-fucking audacity that father spoke so vigorously of.   

In my adult years, I’ve come to realize: AIDS is like the King’s Dominion of diseases, if King’s Dominion was smart enough to locate its park on a remote desert island where no one could feasibly leave short of dying. Off of this brilliant realization, I make money hand over fist. If you don’t think I deserve it, tell that to the genius who invented “mark-ups” and “business” in the first place. The only rule of capitalism is don’t accrue a big enough list of crimes that you can’t pay off.  If I’m being entirely honest though, it isn’t just about the money, or the warm fuzzy feeling of forcing hundreds of thousands of strangers between financial or literal death. It’s about love. Satan stopped calling me back after the $6.5 million dollar law suit for previous drug price gouging, so I’m hoping a big romantic gesture like this one will be just the thing to impress him. I suppose what I’m getting at is, don’t judge me until you know where I’m coming from.

Martin Shkreli

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