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Figuren-Serie: Mann entsorgen - na so etwas!

Filed Under , , on October 31st, 2015

Death Benefits

By Seth Kabala

He opened his eyes to a world of blurry shapes and muted sounds. He had no clue who he was or where he was, and thought, I have no clue who I am or where I am. A novelist by trade, the plague of redundantly repeating in dialogue what he’d just specified in narrative had always dogged him.

He lifted his hand to his head and felt a bump, recoiling in pain. Whatever had happened, it could only mean bad things for his writing career. It had fallen off the ladder, as it seemed.

His editor constantly harangued him about using cheap metaphors and phraseological fillers because of the fact that when he was in the heat of the creative muse he needed to be cognizant of avoiding run-on sentences so as to reduce the burden of extra editing and re-writes his editor hated.

A voice permeated the fog.

Voice: Do you know why you’re here?

Man: Something about health benefits and … divorce?

Voice: When she swung her purse at you, it did some damage, but you still have your memory.

Man: What purse?

* * *

I recently started a job in public service in Portland, OR. As a provision of qualifying for benefits, I had to provide a copy of my marriage license and birth certificates for all my children. There was a delay in getting me set up in the system that lasted several weeks. Consequently, when the HR request for documentation came, I had less than five days to produce everything. If I failed to produce the documentation, my family would be dropped from the health plan until the next annual enrollment period unless a qualifying life event happened first. One of those QLEs was divorce.

Third Eye Blind to set the mood: “I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend.” Amy and I aren’t getting divorced. We worked it out. But for a while there, it looked like an honest-to-God solution to the problem of being sans benefits for the next year.

My employer stipulates that you must enroll within the first 30 days of employment or … yada, yada, yada. The only exception to this rule is if you experience a Qualifying Life Event (QLE).

QLEs, as defined by my employer, take several forms, including:

1. Birth
2. Adoption
3. Marriage
4. Death
5. Divorce

1. A frozen spherical projectile would have a better chance of finding a long-term habitable homeostasis in a mythological (depending on your world view) land of torture for unbelievers than would the chances of me and Amy having another kid.

2. Same for adoption. Hellooo! Have you seen Chucky? I know the murderous doll was just that: a doll. But what if the evil forces crossed the species-toy barrier again, huh? What about that? This is why you all need me–to provide entertainment as well as warnings of potential transferring of consciousness between sentient beings and recycled tires.

3. I’m already married, so as attractive as this option was, it was a non-starter.

4. I have zero plans to draw back my kicking leg for a shot at the bucket anytime in the near future, so unless you count eating 75-plus shrimp in one sitting in the category of risky behavior (come on, now. That’s just awesome), I live my life conservatively and plan to be around for awhile.

5. To the mother of all points: divorce. While I couldn’t get married, I could get divorced, theoretically, and then remarry my ex-wife. I thought about this idea for a few minutes. Started seeing more chits pile up in the pros column than the cons. If we got divorced, temporarily, it would provide us with the QLE we needed to qualify for benefits. As distasteful as this was, if worse came to worse, I thought it could work.

Therein lies the weakness of man, reaching a conclusion prior to conferencing with thy wife, a mistake hazardous to life and balls.

Moving through the decision arc, I decided to beta my wife’s probable reaction to this proposal by writing fictional dialogue. Before revealing this to you, I must make clear that except under amorous influence, my wife never swears:

Me: Hey, Honey. If I can’t enroll for benefits unless we experience a Qualifying Life Event, would you be okay with getting divor–

Amy: What?!

Me: Temporari–

Amy: Fuck that shit!

End of thought stream.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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