Gifts for the Starving Student

URBAN BOHEMIAN FURNITURE SET

COST: Free or up to a $500 fine or 200 hours community service. WHERE TO GET IT: Restaurants with easily distracted waitstaff; alleys; trash bins.

Just because someone you know is one financial-aid check away from panhandling outside the social-sciences department doesn't mean he or she has to look like it. With a little ingenuity and some good running shoes, you can help remodel a squalid student garret into an inviting scholar's boudoir, even if you're a starving student yourself. The ubiquitous milk crate is the basic building block of student décor: once swiped from the back stoop of any restaurant or grocery store and diligently hosed off, milk crates can be stacked or duct-taped together to construct anything from a flimsy, uneven coffee table to a flimsy, uneven bookshelf—all for free! Then the next time your parents take you out for a pity dinner, put your baggy hemp shorts to work and secure a new silverware set. Add candle nubs, incense and a selection of tattered Ayn Rand books (free from the charity rack at the Huntington Beach Library or in trash bins behind college dorms at the end of every semester), and you've got an apartment so seductively bohemian it practically shrieks: "I'm sensitive! I'm complex! Just do me!"

MEALS READY TO EAT (MREs)

COST: 12 complete sealed meals for $54 plus shipping and handling. WHERE TO GET IT: Survival Instinct Ltd., 28715 Los Alisos Blvd., Ste. 7-420, Mission Viejo, CA 92692, (800) 300-7070; www.survivalinstinct.com.

Communal showers, intense sleep deprivation, non-specific sexually transmitted diseases—college life isn't so different from military life, and students who'd like to obliterate their academic opposition like so many surrendering Iraqi soldiers could take a cue from our fighting forces and launch an attack on poor nutrition the Army way: with sealed combat rations called Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). Battle debilitating "appetite fatigue" with yummies like "Fruit Side Dish" and "Beverage Base, Orange" in even the most primitive dormitory conditions. These guaranteed-insect-free little troopers have met the exacting standards of what Survival Instinct calls the most "demanding and quality-driven customers in the world, the U.S. Department of Defense"—111th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron First Lieutenant George W. Bush notwithstanding, of course. If you are what you eat, then get ready to make this country proud.

SELL YOURSELF TO SCIENCE: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR ORGANS, BODILY FLUIDS, BODILY FUNCTIONS AND BEING A HUMAN GUINEA PIG BY JIM HOGSHIRE

COST: $16.95. WHERE TO GET IT: Loompanics Unlimited, P.O. Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368, (360) 385-2230; www.loompanics.com.

Get ready to turn that cold, hard colon into cold, hard cash and say goodbye to student-loan payments forever, thanks to this handy how-to-whore-your-organs handbook from longtime work-shirker Jim Hogshire! Somewhere out there, someone wants to buy your relatively healthy liver or pump your veins to bursting with strange, untested chemical concoctions—and they're willing to pay. "I wondered if there was any way I could make a living without doing anything," Hogshire told one interviewer. "I thought the ultimate would be to get a job where all you had to do was metabolize." Exactly: so quit prowling public restrooms at night, and start selling your body the smart way, not the hard way. With Hogshire's help, you'll be metabolizing all the way to the bank!

14-PIECE LOCK-PICKING KIT

COST: $24.95. WHERE TO GET IT: Southern Ordnance, P.O. Box 279, Babson Park, FL 33827, (877) 667-7292; www.southord.com.

Put those Marxist wealth-redistribution theories into practice on the back door of every car-stereo store on your block with this petite-but-powerful rascal from Southern Ordnance; after a visit with the comrades at the local pawn shop, you'll be reaping the fruits of revolution—in this case, fistfuls of grimy bills. Plus, you'll have time to pursue your major in Applied Criminology on top of your regular school studies: deconstructing even the sturdiest lock is child's play compared with deconstructing the capitalist dialectic! "A customer bought this kit from me, came back a week later, and was able to pick my front door in 45 seconds!" gushes one website. So why wait for opportunity to knock when you can let yourself in while it's out somewhere else?

 
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