March 2, 2014

Life is pain, observes the Man in Black in 1987 cinematic masterpiece The Princess Bride, adding: Anyone who says differently is selling something.

The Buddha said something similar.

Happily, however, as Jane Fonda was fond of reminding us in her lycra period: no pain, no gain, an observation which, aptly enough, sort of rhymes with the more contemporary apothegm that tells us: where there’s blame, there’s a claim. In short, without beating excessively around the proverbial bush, we may conclude (assuming that blame will pretty much always pertain in the era of the so-called compensation culture) that:

Life = Pain = Gain

Or, put more succinctly:

Life = Gain

In other words, the condition of human existence brings with it a range of opportunities for accruing some form of compensatory financial benefit for the individual and (more importantly) for those providing services to that individual. Indeed, as a general rule, properly managed, other people’s pain – whether we are talking mild inconvenience or constant searing agony – can prove significantly more lucrative than one’s own.

Rather than squeezing the referral fees sack in certain places so that it bulges out in lots of unexpected new ones, rather than getting all upset when plucky undervalued Uvavu staff recognise the financial value of the pain accrued by their employer’s customers involved in motor accidents and proceed to steal their data and flog it to people well placed to turn that pain to gain, we should simply package the pain yield each new human life creates at birth and sell the right to manage all commercial opportunities associated with that life’s future pain to professional ‘pain farmers’ in return for an up-front one-off payment that could either help set the youngsters on the path to a brighter future or allow their parents to distract themselves temporarily from their own pain whilst squandering their child’s birth right on gambling, booze and flat screen TVs.

It would certainly make life simpler (if no less painful, thankfully).

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