Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ken Lay Role Play

Today, a little hypothetical roleplay:

Let's say you're the Coroner in Mesa County, Colorado. Mesa County is just next to Pitkin County, which includes the town of Aspen. You're pulling in sixty, maybe seventy thousand a year. It's not a bad wage for government work, but it's a lot less than your med school buddies make in private practice, and it doesn't go so far in this playground for the elite. Plus, the hours kind of suck, especially when neighboring counties' coroners call in sick or leave town and you have to cover.

So now let's say that America's most famous disgraced CEO walks into your office. "Look," he says to you, "my life is over. I'm 64 years old, and I'm about to go to prison for more years than I can reasonably live. As long as I'm alive, I'm a multi-million-dollar liability to my family. The feds are looking for tens of millions in restitution, and civil plaintiffs are after at least that much again.

"But," he says, "if I turned up dead, it would be a whole other ballgame. You can't get restitution from a corpse, and without an appeal my conviction would have to be expunged--meaning that it wouldn't be admissible in civil suits against my estate. Not only that, but my family has $20 million in life insurance on me. And, of course, I'd die a free man; take away those federal pricks' satisfaction of seeing me behind bars. But here's the thing: the insurance has a suicide exclusion, so if I jump off a bridge, it isn't going to pay out. Plus, the civil plaintiffs would claim that I offed myself out of guilt, and so must have committed the fraud.

"Now, the Pitkin County Coroner is kind of a boy scout, and turned down the offer I'm about to make you. But I happened to overhear his secretary on the phone, and it turns out he's leaving tomorrow for a conference. But then, you knew that, because you're covering Pitkin autopsies while he's gone."

The CEO also tells you that he's going to take a lethal overdose of barbs around midnight.

So here's the question: how many times your annual salary would this multimillionaire have to offer you for a cause of death that reads "heart attack?"


  1. So you're asking what his price point is, right?

  2. If the AMA is representative of doctors in general, I wouldn't think it out of the question that Doc Deadguy would consider it an honor to be permitted to provide such a service to the horribly maligned Great Man of commerce, Ken Lay. Why, Ayn herself would no doubt write a laudatory encomium.

  3. Although I gotta admit, I thought you were going in another direction there. I wonder just how good the inventory control is in the county mortuary? And whether any white, male, overweight homeless guys in their mid-sixties haven't been seen around lately in the local jungles?
    For that one, I would expect the price to be a tad higher.


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