What If Wednesday: Organ For Sale

What If Wednesday

In the What If Wednesday series, we transport to a hypothetical alternate-reality and watch life play out. And we do it on Wednesday, because alliteration.

You are now entering… the What If Wednesday zone. Cue spiraling circles and paralyzingly hypnotic (and catchy) dubstep.

Another Wednesday. You wake up, shower, eat your favorite sugared cardboard bits otherwise known as Honey Smacks and fire up your inbox on your iPad. You scroll through your inbox. Read a response to a Craigslist offer you made on a vintage office chair. Delete a Nigerian Prince email. Skip yet another quasi-racist, hugely-insensitive FWD email from that one uncle. Click, click, click. And then one email catches your eye. “You could save my life. And I could help support yours.” Those email marketers are getting clever. You open the email.

Hi there.

You don’t know me. You probably won’t ever need to know me. But let me tell you a little about me. I’m 55-years-old and I need a new kidney. I’ve been on a donor waiting list for two years and my waiting days are about done. I have a small fortune, but that doesn’t do a dead man much good.

I don’t know much about you. But what I do know is that you’re a donor match for me. How I know that is not totally ethical or legal, but I promise it’s not as creepy as it sounds. All I know is that you’re a name and email address on a printed paper of donor matches.

Here’s my proposition. I need a kidney. One of yours. Living donors usually never notice their missing organ. I suspect you’ll want to verify that fact on your own, obviously. So what’s in for you? $1,000,000. Cash. Deposited to your account.

I know this is a lot to take in. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time to wait for your answer. If you’re interested, I’ll need to know by midnight tomorrow night. Thanks for reading this weird proposition.


You’re on the clock. What’s your move?

Our Response

Shooooot. This is hard. You’d think the choice would be easy for the person dreaming up the hypothetical. Nope.

So our gut reaction (pun completely intended) would be to look into the health ramifications for our own bodies. A quick perusal of a living donor information FAQ seems to agree with Leonard’s assessment: most donors end up alright. I’d still consult a doctor and pose the questions as “asking for a friend.”

Next we’d weigh out the risk/reward of $1,000,000. A million ain’t what it used to be. But it’s also a million freaking dollars. If we took that kind of money, threw half of it into investments and savings, the other half into rental properties, we would probably need considerable less income from our day jobs. Which would be welcome news.

There’s obviously a lot more to consider, but those are the biggies. And after thinking it through and discussing, Joanna and I are split. She says no, I say yes. She says it’s not worth the risk. I say it’s worth the risk, the money, and potentially saving someone’s life.

What do you say? How do you feel about being one kidney poorer and $1 million richer? Any takers?

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