Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Is Your Price

By Rob Watson

When I see reports of criminals stealing moderate amounts of money, $10,000; $50,000; etc. I can only shake my head. How dumb can they be? Sums like that could make only the most conservative of crooks happy for a week or two. If one is to have a "price" it should be high enough to cover nearly all their needs for a significant period of time. Years, at the least.

My wandering mind explored this situation and I came up with my "price". I had guidance from a Catholic priest. The Most Reverend Father Burnhart, told our religion class, "If you are going to steal, steal a million dollars. The penalty for stealing a nickle and the penalty for stealing a million is the same: burning in Hell forever." At the time, The Millionaire was a program on TV. I decided then I would like to have a million dollars. For these times we live in now, it would take six million or so to have the same purchasing power as one million back in the '50's. So, my price is six million dollars (USD).

There are a few problems with that sum. (in case you are considering a large sum as well) The first is transportation. The smallest volume (That would be in hundred dollar bills) is most likely be a fair fraction of a cubic yard(meter). The treasury  in Washington DC had a million in tens on display. It is about a half a cubic yard. It would weigh 120 pounds (roughly 58kg). Drug dealers, I am told, weigh their money instead of counting it. I could carry my loot, 60 pounds in a back pack and two 30 pound suit cases. I could get at least half a mile with it before passing out from exhaustion.

I have to smile at TV and movies where millions of dollars are delivered in a brief case. I once saw a TV program about an actual robbery. Some thieves got into a Brinks money storage building. They had four large sacks (each sack seemed to be quite large). Each sack was filled with cash. As the crooks escaped each one dragged a sack with him. Three of the four sacks were found abandoned within a short distance of the storage facility. I seem to remember they were caught rather quickly anyway.

The next problem would be credibility. Would you trust anyone who was carrying his fortune in two suitcases and a backpack? Besides, people who know me, know, by lifestyle and possessions, that any amount above a few thousand would have to be ill gotten, or from the lottery... and the lottery doesn't pay off in sacks full of money.

So far this has been a theoretical exercise. Lets get real. I have two marketable skills. I am a proven, effective, public speaker. I have extensive knowledge of the interworkings of computers and a fair amount of software knowledge and skill. The problem with earning six million from speaking is, it would take one very, very foolish person or six million slightly foolish persons for me to talk them out of my "price".

But the computer thing, that has possibilities... I could learn enough about the target hardware and operating system in a few months to break into most systems. That is, except Microsoft based PC's. The simplest of computer types could learn enough in a day to break into them.

Getting real has brought up another thought. What sort of person, or group, would pay me six million dollars (USD) up front, free and clear, to do anything. In my own estimation (which is the only one to count here) They would have to be complete fools or mentally defective to consider it for more than a few seconds. I have worked for simpletons and some, I considered, mentally defective. (Fortunately, most of my bosses have been neither.) Then I must ask myself if I would work for someone silly enough to pay me $6,000,000 (USD). No, I don't think so.

In the end, I think my virtue will be intact, at my "price".

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