Belonging to the Low-End Pool

Dick had always been the quintessential “friend-of-a-friend” who took care of everyone’s insurance needs.

I am generally dubious about any “friend-of-a-friend,” because my friendships tend to be inexplicable bonds rooted in childhood, and propelled purely by a fear of others. A “friend-of-a-friend” is, therefore a colossal leap into the world of strained and reluctant association.

Even more troublesome is that Dick’s actually the “friend-of-a-friend-of-a-family-member”—a combination that cannot yield anyone of worth.

As promised, however, Dick stopped by my apartment yesterday. He was curious about my current insurance needs. Insurance needs? All I know about insurance is that someone takes a lot of money from my monthly check.

I invited Dick in, but rebuffed his request to sit down. He asked if I had a copy of my current policy. I rifled through a drawer with some pens and underwear, where I keep all my important documents, but I found nothing.

Undaunted, Dick insisted that I needed $20,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. Apparently, even if an accident is the fault of the uninsured, I remain responsible. Somewhat chagrined, Dick admitted that the system favored the uninsured, as well as being sympathetic to the deranged.

Dick eased his way into the sensitive subject of liability. He told me I had to protect myself against potential medical expenses by another driver following an accident, and without insurance, the only medical expense I could absorb would be for a thermometer. Dick proposed that I insure myself for $300,000. His formula was simple: annual income, multiplied by the number of stars.

Imagine Dick’s horror when he learned that I didn’t own a car.

We moved on to the issue of renter’s insurance, where Dick attempted the standard scare tactic: “Suppose someone broke in and stole everything. Wouldn’t it be comforting to be insured?” A provocative question for some, but I knew no one would break into a one-room studio that had a note on the door reading: “Handyman—Please leave that hot plate under the mat.”

Dick tiptoed back into the area of what my possessions were worth. I told him that it would be hard to calculate, because I didn’t know the precise value of the objects holding up my bed.

He advised that I insure all my personal property for $10,000, saying that was the absolute minimum. I told him I’d insure my belongings for $3,000. He said that such a pawltry policy could be farmed out to a secondary underwriter, one that specialized in the low-end pool. I’d always yearned for a sense of belonging, and the low-end pool made that possible.

We pushed forward into the sobering world of life insurance. Dick knew that this was a fragile subject, so he waited several seconds before he asked, “If you were to die tomorrow, who would pay off your student loans?”

It was a chilling thought.

I wasn’t actually planning to graduate until I was 76 years old, and I figured I wasn’t going to live much beyond that anyway.

Then, for the third time in 10 minutes, he pressed me to assess my worth. I told him $600, and backed it up with a high-ball appraisal from a now defunct S&L.

Dick was curious if I had ever made out a will. I actually had, bequeathing everything to Goodwill. Unfortunately, Goodwill stipulated they couldn’t pick it up unless I died on a Tuesday afternoon.

Then, Dick published hard for me to get a $100,000 life insurance policy. I felt that was unreasonable, because the only person I even knew who was worth that much was an illegal copper scavenger.

Dick and I went back and fourth for a while, debating the need for life insurance. Negotiations broke off, however, when I referred to this meeting as a near-death experience.”

It was time to usher Dick away. We got into one of those awkward exchanges that “friends-of-friends” often do.

Dick wondered aloud, “Say, how do we know each other?”

Consider the source here, but I told him we had bumped into each other—sitting around the low-end pool.

Bye for now.
Kiss, kiss.

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