Friday, May 29, 2009

A Hypothetical Ponderance - How Much For A Year Behind Bars?

This one comes to you from a follow-up post Jason at IIATM,S did about his new site "Vote For Manny". The original post suggested that people vote Manny Ramirez for the All-Star Game mostly to promote chaos and see what would happen if Manny did work his way into the top three vote-getters. I wholeheartedly support the movement, mainly because I'm in favor of anything that makes Bud Selig uncomfortable. Get out there and vote, friends. 

In under one day, the site got some serious publicity and with that came lots of people who took the name of the idea at face value and left a lot of stupid anonymous comments and probably some angry email in Jason's inbox. All of that caused Jason to put up this post Wednesday night, clarifying his intentions. (Of course, some people are still missing the point.) 

As so often happens, I found a really interesting nugget in Jason's post. Trying to frame the usage of PED's in over the years in baseball, he asks:
Here's my question: If you were promised $200 million once you were done serving a 1 year jail sentence, would you serve the time? Would you risk the shame and embarrassment for generational wealth?
This is an extreme example, obviously. For most players the question would have been closer to "several million dollars if there was a chance of being sent to prison for a year", but I like Jason's hypothetical better. 

How much money would you need in return for one year in prision?

Let's assume that it's a maximum security joint and you go in a week from now. There are no TVs. You have a roommate and it's not John Coffey. No conjugal visits. You are in with the regular inmate population, and they all think that you committed, say, armed robbery or whatever crime you choose. We've all heard about the terrible things that happen in jail and you get no guarantees on your safety and no special treatment. Odds are you will make it out alive, but there's no promises you do. 

You eat the slop they serve you. Your toilet is right in your cell. You have to listen to whatever inmates who are serving life sentences scream throughout the cell block to each other at night. You can't chisel your way our behind a Rita Hayworth poster and you don't have the Squirrelmaster to protect you. Michael Scofield isn't bailing you out of this one. You are locked up in the clink, behind bars for one full year, no getting out early for good behavior. 

How much would it take for you to trade in one year of your freedom and dignity? 


I'll go first - For me, $200 million would be an absolute no brainer. Lock me up! But I think it's more interesting if you treat it like the Price is Right: You can't go over. Make your lowest offer and if it's too high, it doesn't get accepted. 

I'm going with twenty five million United States Dollars, after taxes. I'm 24 years old and single, so I don't have a family I would be pining to see on a daily basis when I was locked up. It would be like doing all the work you would ever have to do in your life in a one year span. Except instead of "work", you'd be reading books, doing a shitload of push-ups and trying to steer clear of dudes named "Roach" who could potentially shiv you in the courtyard.  

I took three one week intensive courses in college where you take the same class for 5 days from 9-5 and receive full three credits upon completion. Sure, listening to a professor drone on about fucking Discrete Probability for two three and a half hour sessions a day was mind numbing. However, every memory of those classses were blocked from my memory within about a week and during the following semester, I didnt have any classes before 10:30 and had every Friday off. 

Money can't buy you happiness, but it can certainly buy you freedom. $25 million bucks isn't that much money, when you consider that 11 guys on the Yankees are in the middle of deals with higher total values (and they get to play baseball, not go to jail). But even if you could get a 1% a year return on it, that's a $250,000 per annum, and you would be able to take advantage of it 24/7/365. Travel, write, golf, get a couple graduate degrees, take a badass baseball road trip, whatever. 

Your turn. 


  1. $25M and I'll share the cell with you. And I promise not to get frisky. I get the bottom bunk.

  2. Deal! That would be a breeze. You think they'd let us blog from the cell?

  3. Call me crazy, but I just wouldn't do it, not for any amount. I'm not rich by any strech of the imagination, but I'm cool with my life the way it is, and a year is a hell of a long time, probably worse when you are in jail. Even if there is a 10% chance you get killed, that would be a pretty awful way to go out. If you tacked on an extra 5 mil for every time I "dropped the soap" and perhaps you could get me to change my mind.

  4. I'd probably do it for like $15M. 150K is still a hell of a livable wage if you ain't got shit to do. $10M if I was guaranteed to retain my anal virginity.