Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Zern Family Policy on Kidnapping and Other Acts of Piracy

In a great big modern world where travel is supersonic and tweets are faster than lightning that is greased, it’s important to be savvy about the kidnap policies of modern Barbary Pirates, the ransom demands of Somali warlords, and the acceptable amount of time that the terribly young and wildly attractive widow should wait before cashing the life insurance checks. 


Listen, the Malaysian government lost an entire, complete, gigantic 747 airliner. My husband has been known to fly on these planes. Big plane goes bye, bye. Husband goes bye, bye. We have to have a ransom/kidnapping/disappeared-off-the-face-of-the-earth policy!

In the days of Queen Victoria pirates sailed around looking for loot and according to a guy named Wiki: The main purpose of their [pirates called Barbary] attacks was to capture Christian slaves for the Ottoman slave trade as well as the general Muslim market in North Africa and the Middle East.

Today, pirates are still looking for loot and cash and slaves, but those are mostly for sex. Ransom is big. Kidnapping is a career choice. And when my husband flies off to the ends of the earth to help foreign companies figure out their software knots and tangles, I occasionally contemplate the pirate possibilities. 

So here’s the discussion behind the policy:

“So the Malaysians lost a whole airplane,” I observed. “Don’t you fly on that jetliner loosing Malasian airline?”

“Yep.” My husband said. He never complicates our conversations with excessive word use.

“So, what’s the policy? How long should I wait before I cash the life insurance check?”

He looked up from his laptop. He was intrigued. I could tell.

“Okay, here’s the deal. All the desk dwellers are probably going to dither around if they can’t find any floating seat cushions or Skymall catalogs, but Oracle is still going to have to pay me until they declare me dead. CASH THE CHECKS FAST.”

“Got it.”

We both went back to tap, tap, tapping on assorted keyboards.

“Okay, so what if you’re taken captive by angry maroons posing as pirates looking for the pin number to our checking account? What’s our policy? To negotiate or not to negotiate.”

“No negotiations.”

“What if they grab you, torture you, record it, and send me the hideous Youtube video.”

“No negotiations and no second mortgages.”

“Okay, but you have to promise me that you’ll be so obnoxious they’ll kill you all the way dead right off, so I won’t have to worry about you wasting away in a flea infested hut.”

“Got it.”

“But what if they sell you as a sex slave?”

He pondered. “I’ll do my best to make my escape.” He re-pondered. “Or not.”

“And who should I sue?”


“Got it.”

So that’s our policy. Cash the checks fast. No negotiations. No second mortgages. And sue everyone.

When I tell people our family policy on kidnapping they tend to be shocked by our cavalier attitude toward tragedy and piracy in general. Then I tell them how rich I’ll be when I cash the checks, and they’re mollified—also a little jealous.

Because money fixes everything, just ask a Barbary pirate.

Linda (Can’t Buy Me Love) Zern 

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