Gambling Your Life
One day, the village rich man was sitting down and trying to figure out how to make more money. Then someone came in to tell him the very sad story of how a not-so-rich person had died and his surviving wife and family were no longer going to be able to pay the rich man the money he had loaned them to build their shack. Of course he ordered their eviction and suddenly came up with a brilliant idea.
He called it “death insurance” until his lawyer and PR guy suggested “life insurance” (while being less technically accurate) would sell better. He would approach relatively young people, determine their risk of dying, and then charge them accordingly a monthly fee with the promise that if they died he would provide the survivors with enough money to prevent ugly things like “eviction”, “starvation”, “prostitution” etc from happening. The rich man was VERY excited because EVERYONE would see the importance – yes even the NECCESITY – of “life insurance” and as long as he hired the village statistical wise man he would be able to turn his idea into a very profitable business. And he did.
One of the rich man’s salespersons paid me a visit yesterday and presented to me a whole host of numbers – having accurately determine what the liklihood is that I or my wife might die in the next 10-15 years. He smiled and laughed and talked like he was my best friend as we together read phrases like: “in the event of James’ Death” or “in the event of Susan’s death” and “in cases of suicide” coupled with “in the event of accidental death and dismemberment.” As the numbers and “payout” talk spun through my head, I could not escape the image of being at a Las Vegas Black Jack table reading the house rules. We all know that the games are designed in favor of the house (I mean, jeez, imagine their electricity bills alone!) and in the game I was about to engage in…well you get the point.
And so we begin to ante up and send off a hefty (for us) chunk of change every month to prevent those nasty things that happen after someone dies. In Vegas they justify the loss of money with the term “entertainment”, and the rich man’s salesperson said besically the same thing, calling it instead “security.” One must try and keep that in mind, while knowing that the money will vanish into the rich man’s pockets, unless… unless my lucky number comes up and I hit the jackpot! Of course, winning the “Life Insurance” game is…um…not really all that entertaining.
I suppose, from the Orthodox perspective, it is good to be reminded of death – but do I really have tp pay someone for it? Furthermore, while I do like abit of gambling – I can’t help but feel like I am doing so with the devil when it comes to “life insurance.” Also, it seems if we REALLY had a Christian culture that we would not have such a thing, and instead we’d do that whole “taking care of widows and orphans” thing.
In a way, “life Insurance” is like Microsoft – kinda hard to live without them (ahem…except with “life insurance” it’s kinda hard to die without them). Where is the Linux alternative though? Oh, I know…just get a billion dollar dividend from your company’s stock – no problem. Sigh…alas infectious disease research in a non-profit group simply doesn’t answer.
“Hello, Mutual of Omaha?”
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:42 AM [+]