ne of the great things about quarantine is that I have been walking at night, when no one is around, with a good friend who I met in college. The range of topics we have discussed have been quite varied — from Rochel and Leah (the biblical women) to politics to food preferences (I have none since I eat almost anything and she is more discriminating). But one of the conversations she started I found to be most “column-worthy,” and I hope you will concur with this assessment. (My friend is quite intelligent and uses SAT words, which is why I wrote “concur” instead of just regular old “agree.”)
Remember the commercial “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” Clearly a catchy tagline, because I still remember it after all of these years. And, at the time, there probably were many things I would do for a Klondike bar, because it was ice cream and I probably was not allowed to eat it. Though, these days, Klondike bars really are not on my radar, because I have become obsessed with ice pops, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, the point is that it leads to other questions about what you would do in different situations. My boys keep trying to teach me the laws of not speaking of others (loshon hara), so in a time when you aren’t really allowed to go anywhere or do anything (except watch livestream weddings), you need to think of conversation topics that don’t include other people.
So this was the question my friend asked me.
Would you weigh 300 pounds for the rest of your life if someone gave you a billion dollars?
Yes, that is the question at hand. For a billion dollars, I said that I would. Apparently, I was the only one she asked who said yes. My thinking is that for a billion dollars, even if I wasn’t in great shape, I could pay to have the finest scooter to get me from one place to another. I could pay to have a doctor by my side to help me with any medical issues that would come up. I could pay to have a private jet to escort me around the world. It is like the “winning the lottery” fantasy. After giving away a certain percentage to charity, what would you spend the rest of your money on?
So I have been asking others this question as well. When I asked son #2 about weighing 300 pounds for the money, he, of course, responded right away, “I think the Torah would probably say no to something like that.” Of course that is what he said, without even thinking about it for a second. I told him to put Torah values aside, just for a second (God forgive me). There are many nuances to the thought process behind answering this question. What happens if you were a very tall person? For someone who is over six feet, weighing 300 pounds might not be the biggest deal, as opposed to someone who is under five feet, when weighing 300 pounds might give you the appearance of a very large meatball. But for a billion dollars, you could have a designer make you a wardrobe with vertical lines giving you a less meatball appearance!
For me, I still say yes. A billion dollars is a billon dollars, and if all I had to do was eat more to get it, so be it. That would probably be a lot of Klondike bars. (See how I pulled that all together?)
In any event, I really did love this question, because it led to some really funny and interesting conversation that didn’t involve who did what to who and other things we shouldn’t be talking about. Though this column probably would be a bit more entertaining if I could come up with some other questions that could be asked around the dinner table. I would be interested to know if any of you had some questions along the same lines and if you do, I would love for you to share them!
Hope you are all enjoying your summer and realize that it is already August…
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is looking forward to when the kids go back to school. Oh wait, she doesn’t have any kids who are in school….