Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Case of Emergency, Read this Column

The economy sucks. I know nobody’s talking about it, but I had to step up and say it. And there’s a tiny minuscule possibility that this has an impact on UVA law students. Being a UVA law student, this thought has been bothering me. Not in the waterboarding/Chinese finger-trap kind of bothering; more like the splinter in the foot kind of bothering. The first clue is the class schedule offerings for the 2009-10 school year. I noticed that some Skadden or Cleary partner wasn’t teaching the UVA staple “Models and Bottles: The Lawyer Socializes.” Also, “Estate Planning” had prerequisites such as Federal Income Tax and Trusts and Estates, as if the professor intended to teach you how to do somebody else’s estate planning.

I hate the generation that went through the Depression more than any other generation, mostly because I don’t understand them. They were poor, they fought a couple World Wars, they got wealthy, their children got genuinely wealthy, and their grandchildren got obscenely wealthy. This all sounds wonderful, except that they screwed it up by acting like they were destitute their entire lives. They've had 70 years to adjust to prosperity and still preferred darning sweaters with rucksack found in the neighbor’s garbage and freezing to death (literally) rather than turning on the furnace. This all leads back to my splinter – what if this economy gets as bad the Great Depression and American twenty-somethings turn into that generation? What if J. Crew Model III in 2110 hates his grandfather because I’m so damn cheap that I insist on canning apricots to prepare for the winter and driving around on bald tires?

Rather than acquire the scorn I have for the Great Depression old farts, I have designed a strategy to ensure that I will always have means. Nothing too fancy: just a 35 foot yacht in my garage, a 2 karat diamond on my wife’s finger, and a German sports car on my son’s 16th birthday. And because I’m a super cool dude, I’m sharing these with you. Here’s my top 5 ways of making money if I get down on my luck. Employ them at your own risk.

1. The Best Buy Dash

The setting: Nobody eyes its customers quite like Best Buy. They keep their merchandise largely tied down; security cameras capture all movement on the floor; and they station an intimidating looking man near the door. Usually this “Intimidator” shaves his head and has several sweet tattoos on his muscled arms. His job is to make sure no thief wheels out a refrigerator and no teenager walks out with the new Nickelback CD shoved down his drawers.

The plan: Put on some suspicious looking clothing (dark jeans, dark shirt, ski mask) and begin browsing furtively. Pick up the wireless internet router and pointedly check out the attached security devices. Stare intently at the cameras throughout the store. Visit the bathroom a couple times. Try to wander into the backroom of the store. Do this effectively and you’ll soon arouse the attention of some number of Best Buy team members. Once you’re sure you’re being scrutinized for shoplifting, move to the back and make a dash for the entrance. With any luck the Intimidator will tackle you or deck you on the way out. Wait for the police and explain to them that you just found out about a sick relative and needed to rush home immediately.

The payout: Contact Best Buy and let them know of your intention to sue for false imprisonment, battery, intentional inflection of emotional distress, loss of consortium, etc. They’ll settle.

2. The Charlottesville Crosswalk Speedwalk

The setting: Many Charlottesville drivers think that pedestrian crosswalks in Charlottesville are optional. Drivers intentionally and unintentionally ignore the walker’s right of way all the time. Time to cash in.

The run-down: Cross pedestrian crosswalks in Charlottesville without looking. Eventually some idiot will run you over.

Top 3 places (search address in Google Maps then go to street view):

3. 260 Emmet St. – Right across from Mem Gym, potential tortfeasors will have cleared the light at University Ave./Ivy Rd. and be looking to accelerate out of town.

2. E. Market St./3rd St. NW – Crosswalks on both sides of the intersection and E. Market is barely lit at night. Also, lots of buses use this road (read: deep pockets).

1. 1482 University Ave. – This spot is so perfect, readers of this blog should send me envelopes stuffed with cash. This crosswalk is on a hill and around a curve.

The payout: Sue the driver for stuff .... and the very real possibility of paralysis or death.

3. S*****g Where You Eat

The setting: You’re young, single, have a great body, and reside at the bottom of the corporate totem pole. He’s older, married, overweight, and has a corner office with four (4) windows.

The rundown: Take a special interest in your mark. Flirt, flip your hair, and get him talking about how prestigious and important he is. Admire his belt buckle a little too much. Unbutton your blouse a little bit before entering his office. Throw out hints about how guys your age are too immature and how lonely you are in an unfamiliar city. See what happens.

The payout: Contact Human Resources and explain your situation. Describe how young and impressionable you are and that you didn’t think you had a choice because of his superior position within the firm/company. Then agree to an out-of-court settlement that saves everybody the embarrassment of a sexual harassment lawsuit. Repeat until old and fat.

4. Channel your inner Sisyphus, or “The Lunatic Optimist”

The setting: Go to a convenient store and purchase lottery tickets.

The rundown: Grand prize is $200 million. Sweet, right?

The payout: There is none - you cannot and will not win. Turn over any scratch off lottery ticket and the odds of winning (including break even prizes) are helpfully printed on the back. Say the odds are something like 4.35:1. That means that for every $435 spent on lottery tickets, your expected payout is somewhere barely north of $100. Instead, do the opposite of this, also called “do not buy lottery tickets.” Oddly enough, thousands of young students employ “The Lunatic Optimist” strategy every year in a scam called “Graduate Studies in [Humanities.]”

5. Black Market Organ Relay

The setting: From the Atlantic about kidney transplant:

You might think that such a superior treatment would be standard. But kidneys are hard to come by. In the United States, more than 80,000 people are on the official waiting list, all hoping that someone will die in just the right circumstances and bequeath them the “gift of life.” Last year, only 16,517 got transplants: 10,550 with the cadaver organs allocated through the list, and 5,967 from living donors. More than 4,000 on the list, or about 11 a day, died. And the list gets longer every year.

The rundown: Start developing some contacts with first generation immigrants who work in the medical field - nurses, orderlies, technicians. If he’s even slightly connected back home, you have a decent shot at breaking something open. Here’s some suggestions of places with enough wealth and/or commitment to health care and/or lack of rule of law to have the facilities necessary for you to survive a black market organ donation.

5. Philippines
4. China
3. Cuba
2. Israel
1. Brazil

The payout: You’re going to have to travel to your country of choice and meet a lot of doctors. They’ll do tests on you to make sure you’re a match and not Hepatitis ridden. Then the bidding starts. Bring along a negotiation expert, likely ex-paramilitary, who handles hostage negotiation as a day job. If the transaction goes well, consider repeat customer opportunities - experts believe the human body contains nearly a half-dozen useless organs.

So UVA Law Blog readers, there’s your list. Here’s Rule 12 (f) with some helpful disclaimers:

I don't agree or support any of this, even ITE.


Anonymous said...

this was funny

Anonymous said...

i would just like to take this opportunity to express my utter exasperation with uva lawblog. frankly, you embarass yourself, uva law, and the entire uva community with frivolous, wasteful posts such as this. uva lawblog should focus narrowly on issues related to academics at the university of virginia school of law. this post was not helpful, it wasn't funny, and i really don't appreciate it. that is all.

Anonymous said...

Well, I thought it was funny.

Anonymous said...

12:48 has issue problems

Anonymous said...

haha i laughed. well done. 12:48 needs to chill out

Anonymous said...

too bad our generation is full of pussies unlike the "Greatest" generation.