Tuesday, 08 March 2011
I like hypothetical games. It's a good way to kill time until Friday, or until she's drunk enough to go home with you. Here are a few of my favorites.
The Finger Question - This one is simple, but always leads to thoughtful discussion. The question: how much money would you have to be paid to surgically remove one (1) finger of your choosing?
The parameters: the operation is professionally done, in a hospital; it's not a shoddy back-alley operation in South America. There's no risk of a botched surgery or any problems arising, and the finger is going to a good cause; maybe scientific research, or something.
You get to pick which finger it is, and you get one lump sum of cash. You're under anesthetic for the entire operation, so you don't feel anything; you simply wake up, and that finger is gone. Which finger, and how much?
Most people will start off with some ridiculous stance - "No way! It would have to be ten billion dollars for me to even think about it!" That's when you say, "So you wouldn't do it for a billion?" and watch as they shrug and reconsider. "I mean, I don't know..."
Then you start talking about the power of money. For a few mil you could have a new prosthetic finger attached that would not only replace your old one, but also have a built-in GPS system and access to the iTunes store. Yeah, there's an app for that. Now you've talked this person down into the 9-figure range; maybe they've agreed to $100 million. Cut it in half.
You wouldn't lose a finger for $50 mil? You'd never have to work again in your life. You could spend your days traveling the world, living lavishly, donating to charities, changing lives - almost anything you wanted, short of owning a pro football team. You'd rather continue your crappy life than have $50 MILLION dollars?
Continue in this fashion until you've whittled them down to their actual answer, which will be much lower than what they started with. If you're in a college dorm room eating Easy Mac while enjoying a second-hand high, you'd be surprised just how low you can go; pretty soon you've gone from a billion dollars to a lifetime supply of chicken wings.
In case you were wondering: my left ring finger can be had for a cool $500,000. The recession ain't over, people.
The Lightsaber - We're all familiar with lightsabers, yes? The choice weapon of the Jedi in Star Wars, capable of slicing through pretty much anything like a knife through hot butter.
The question is this: You win a secret intergalactic competition and are given the choice of two prizes. You can either select a lightsaber, or a lump sum of cash (the LSoC is the motif of this article). How much money would you have to be offered to pass up the saber?
Considering the lightsaber is technology far beyond anything we currently have, it's safe to assume it would be worth a shitload of money. The question is, who would buy it? You'd have to be pretty careful about how you went about it.
For example, if you just started showing it off on the corner outside of your Brooklyn apartment, you might impress a few neighbors and make the local news, but the next morning you'll wake up with a black bag on your face in a dimly-lit interrogation room while the CIA figures out what to do with you and how to make use of their new toy.
There are two moves, in my opinion: crime, and wild publicity.
Strap on a ski mask and stroll down to the local bank well after dark. Unsheathe your saber and carve a nice little hole in the wall, grab your cash, and hit the road; you're some sort of a cross between "Star Wars" and "Jumper".
The problem is you would have to pull this off several times before you actually had a large amount of cash, and if the alarm goes off, there's not much your saber is gonna do for ya. Even though you can technically deflect bullets with it, you're not nearly skilled enough, and probably never will be. The force is weak in you, my son.
Option B is the publicity stunt. Call up Good Morning America and tell them you've got the story of the decade. When they ask what it is, tell them you've got the Justin Bieber/Selena Gomez sex tape.
What, you thought I'd have you call in and say you found a lightsaber? There's no chance they accept that call, let alone set up an interview.
Once they show up at your house, get everything all set up, and when the camera starts rolling, you bust out the saber and slice through a cinderblock or something. Announce that you're sorry, you don't have the sex tape, but you do have...this! From there, the choice is yours; throw it on eBay, ask for bidders on TV, declare yourself the defender of the free world...the choice is yours.
Of course, you could always pass on the saber and take the cash, but where's the fun in that?
Man vs. Cheetah - This one is near and dear to my heart, because I've spent many man-hours debating it with my peers, often while under the influence of this, that, or the other.
I'm 6'0'' tall on the nose, athletic, and in decent shape. I weigh roughly 200 lbs. Consider this: I am placed in a small room, maybe the size of a small bedroom, that has no windows and is completely empty. The walls are metallic, save for a glass section for viewing; basically, imagine a police interrogation room, without the chair or the table. In one corner is me, wearing blue jeans and a fleece. I am equipped with one (1) machete.
In the other corner...is a cheetah. Yes, the fastest land animal on the planet - but also terribly suited for the current contest. The small room affords it no real advantage for it's speed. The adult cheetah weighs anywhere from 80 - 140 lbs, so we'll cut it right in half and say this one weighs 110 lbs.
I am almost twice as large as this animal. A quick read of the cheetah Wikipedia page tells us that the cheetah kills prey, usually under 88 lbs, by "tripping it during the chase, then biting it on the underside of the throat to suffocate it; the cheetah is not strong enough to break the necks".
I've consistently been rebuffed in my claim that I would win this battle. Yes, I would probably suffer some painful injuries and possibly even some life-threatening ones, but if presented the opportunity to do battle with a cheetah under these conditions for a grand prize of $1,000,000 if I was victorious, I would accept.
I have a standing offer from a few of my friends that if they ever become rich enough, they'll make sure to arrange it. It would have to be an underground affair, considering the cheetah is an endangered species and all, but if that day comes, I'll be ready.
How much for your pinkie finger? Lightsaber or $10 mil? What are some of your favorite hypothetical would-you-rathers?