Thinking outside the box


I just saw a news story about a man who was visiting his son in jail and somehow got trapped in an apparently off-the-beaten- trail cell for 32 hours without food, water or bathroom facilities. That this less than pleasant event happened a few years ago and he was just awarded $600,000 for emotional trauma. Now I’m not denying that he must have experienced a fair amount of emotional trauma over the course of those 32 hours but reading about his award got me to thinking. Specifically it got me to thinking where I could get myself trapped so someone would pay me $600,000 to help me get over it.

I know that I’ve always approached the whole money making thing completely wrong, a fact I’ve long suspected but is becoming more and more painfully clear with every birthday inching me toward retirement. I need to come up with some kind plan and pronto, a plan that will pay off better than the lottery or Publisher’s Clearing House or my sad little dream of finding out that I’m actually Patty Hearst’s illegitimate sister and have a claim to the Hearst fortune.

It would be ideal if said plan wasn’t really a “plan” at all but if it just kind of happened without much input from me so I wouldn’t have to suffer twinges of guilt in addition to emotional trauma.

And speaking of that emotional trauma–I’d prefer it if that wasn’t too intense. I’m thinking of emotional trauma along the lines of someone not liking my new haircut or a semi-bad job review. Nothing major, please.

All this thinking about money reminded me of a soap opera I used to follow back in the 1980’s (when I should have been gainfully employed in a high paying position and building up a fat pension.) I’ll never forget one particular episode when a character was having a fight with her boyfriend on the top of a hotel one very windy day. Suddenly one of the letters spelling out the hotel’s name fell over and killed her. At the time I thought she was mighty stupid to go all the way to the top of a hotel to have a fight with her significant other–domestic spats are best held in places where there are no eavesdroppers and plenty of comfort food once the shouting is over–but now I wonder if perhaps I couldn’t give that scenario a whirl. Not the dying part but the letter falling on top of me part, breaking a bone or two but ensuring me a nice, fat check from our local Marriott or Holiday Inn Express with a minor amount of angst. The only problem (well, one of the problems) with that get rich quick scheme is timing. As we all know timing is everything and I somehow doubt that I’d be able to time that one as well as the stunt people did on my soap opera.

I could always go to our local zoo and fall into a cage but I don’t think that would work since the zoo in our town is on the small side and features animals like goats and chickens instead of anything truly frightening. While I wouldn’t like to hang out with a goat for an extended period of time, I doubt the whole experience would traumatize me too much. I’m also not sure who owns the zoo but I suspect whoever owns it couldn’t float me a check that would put me in the clover for the rest of my life unless I die on Saturday.

There’s always the fast food ploy but I know me well enough to recognize that I could never pull that one off. I actually dropped a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in my lap around the same time that woman dropped a cup of McDonald’s coffee in her lap. The difference between the two of us is that I howled like a rabid wolf baying at the moon and then forgot about it (once I consumed a dozen glazed donut holes) while she apparently got in touch with her lawyer. I simply don’t have the ability to plan for the future very well.

The problem with all of these ideas is that they are too risky and far too heavy on bodily harm instead of the small amount of emotional trauma I’m willing to endure. I don’t want risk; I want cold hard cash,and I’d like it from a bloated corporation please. A company that wouldn’t even miss a million or two that would really mean the world to me in my golden years.

Hmmm. I obviously need to start thinking more outside the box. Or more about how to get the box to fall on top of me…




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