Dad, I have a plan.
Some fathers would be pleased to hear this statement from their teenaged son. Others would be frightened. I am philosophical. In the past, Sam's plans have involved living in an RV, rolling down the streets of his university town to park in front of the next day's class so he wouldn't be late. They have included weaponry stashed in key corners to deal with zombie attack. They have included eating enough for the entire week at one sitting, to save time.
Tell me about your plan, I said, pouring myself a strengthening beaker of coffee.
It's my job at the gas station, he said. See, I need money but I don't like working. So I plan on getting robbed.
I choked. Couldn't help myself.
I'm sorry, I don't quite understand, I said.
See, the owners tell us that if someone tries to rob us we just hand over the money, he said.
But I noticed that there's a baseball bat behind the counter. And I thought, what if I try out the bat on the guy who's robbing me, and he shoots me.
And you die? I said. (So much for that first-year Logic course.) Now, granted, if you are dead you won't have to work any more. But --
Don't be silly, Dad. The robber shoots me in the shoulder or something. I come out of the hospital with a reward and a sweet scar. And no more work. Not bad, eh? I figure the worst that can happen is that I foil the robbery. I'll still get a reward and I'll be famous. And then I can quit work. What do you think?
I remember being a teenager, and having ridiculous dreams, though not about getting shot. (Mostly they involved girls.) None of my dreams came true -- not then, anyway.
I think you're crazy, I said.
That's what they said about the guy who believed he was Napoleon.
Yes, but he actually was crazy, I said.
And your point is?
I finished my coffee. I have no point, I said.
But I think I'll buy my gas at the station across the street from Sam's.