March 6th, 2009



"I'll tell you what," the parking attendant said, "You can park in this spot for free, but in exchange, you'll die fifty years from now. Assuming you're alive, I mean. If you're already dead, hey, no problem. The death will be a little painful, but not too much. And, you know, you'll get this prime parking spot right now. Heck, maybe I'm just bluffing or conducting some sort of experiment or something, and you'll never even have to pay, or maybe things will change in the next fifty years. All you have to do is consent now to dying in fifty years, and this spot is yours."

Indeed it was a primo spot. And I was about to be late to the opera, and I'd paid a lot of money for those tickets. There wasn't any street parking -- I kept roaming for it -- and I was getting more and more frazzled and exasperated by the hunt. And hey, I'm 35. 85 is a good ripe age, unless of course medicine advances between now and then.

Furthermore, how could a parking guy even enforce that? It's not like the courts would care about this deal if a murder trial came up.

I took some time to collect myself. It turns out that whenever you're offered a weird deal, you should always take some time to cool off before making a decision out loud.

"You know, I don't know what the deal is," I told him, "but I know one thing: you're very creepy. I don't want to leave my car with a creepy crazy guy. You might break in and spill some creepiness all over my upholstery."

Some things you just can't shampoo away.