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The Pascal’s Wager Insurance Company

[Just to end the week on a light note, here's a post from the old blog, originally published January 12, 2010.]

I was just thinking: suppose we made financial decisions the way some people would have us make decisions about our souls…

Monday

[Phone ringing]

Hello?

Hi, my name is Morgan, and I’m from the Pascal’s Wager Insurance Company. Do you believe in giant tarantulas 30 feet tall?

Well, no, not really.

What about 50, or even 60 feet tall?

Never really thought about it, actu—

Ever think what one of those things would do if it stepped on your house?

Oh, I don’t

How much would you say your house is worth right now? Just roughly, including all the contents and valuables and other things that would be DESTROYED if they got stepped on by a 60-foot-tall giant tarantula. Don’t forget the car or cars in your garage, too. Would you say about $200,000? $400,000? Half a million dollars? Imagine what it would take to replace your valuable house and possessions if they were stepped on by a giant tarantula. Could you afford to replace it all, instantly?

But there’s no such thing as—

Sir, sir, let’s be honest, nobody knows everything, right?

Well, I—

YOU PERSONALLY do not know everything, right?

Heh, no, not hardly. But I—

In this vast universe of ours, there could be countless worlds we would never see or hear about where giant tarantulas might exist.

Well, if you put it that way, I suppose it might be—

So there MIGHT be giant tarantulas that you don’t know about, right?

I suppose there COULD be some kind of alien—

So giant tarangulas COULD exist. Now sir, all I’m asking you to do is to make a simple risk assessment. Even though you don’t believe there are giant tarantulas, the cost to you if they DO exist could be very high. Hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of dollars. Money you don’t have and can’t afford to lose. That’s why we’re offering, right now, for only $75 a month, our very special Stepped On By Giant Tarantulas homeowner’s policy.

Well, I

That’s only $75 a month. Practically nothing at all. If I’m wrong, and no giant tarantula ever steps on your home, then you won’t even miss it. But if I’m right, and your house DOES get stepped on, you could be facing financial disaster. Financial ruin! And living out of a cardboard box, too! A crushed cardboard box, with spider footprints on it. What do you say, sir? Will you do the prudent thing and accept one of our policies?

Well, it IS practically nothing, and the consequences if I’m wrong… [shudder]. How do I sign up?

[boring business discussion snipped.]

Thank you so much, sir. You’ll never be sorry as long as you remember what the risks are, and how much protection you’re getting for practically nothing. Have a nice day.

Thanks, you too.

[*click*]

Tuesday

[Phone ringing]

Hello?

Hello again, sir. It’s Morgan from Pascal’s Wager Insurance Company. Do you believe in giant, carnivorous underground worms more than 100 feet long?

Uhhhhhh…