Literary Lapses/Insurance up to Date
A man called on me the other day with the idea of insuring my life. Now, I detest life-insurance agents; they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so. I have been insured a great many times, for about a month at a time, but have had no luck with it at all.
So I made up my mind that I would outwit this man at his own game. I let him talk straight ahead and encouraged him all I could, until he finally left me with a sheet of questions which I was to answer as an applicant. Now this was what I was waiting for; I had decided that, if that company wanted information about me, they should have it, and have the very best quality I could supply. So I spread the sheet of questions before me, and drew up a set of answers for them, which, I hoped, would settle for ever all doubts as to my eligibility for insurance.
- Question.--What is your age?
- Answer.--I can't think.
- Q.--What is your chest measurement?
- A.--Nineteen inches.
- Q.--What is your chest expansion?
- A.--Half an inch.
- Q.--What is your height?
- A.--Six feet five, if erect, but less when I walk on all fours.
- Q.--Is your grandfather dead?
- Q.--Cause of death, if dead?
- A.--Dipsomania, if dead.
- Q.--Is your father dead?
- A.--To the world.
- Q.--Cause of death?
- Q.--Place of father's residence?
- Q.--What illness have you had?
- A.--As a child, consumption, leprosy, and water on the knee. As a man, whooping-cough, stomach-ache, and water on the brain.
- Q.--Have you any brothers?
- A.--Thirteen; all nearly dead.
- Q.--Are you aware of any habits or tendencies which might be expected to shorten your life?
- A.--I am aware. I drink, I smoke, I take morphine and vaseline. I swallow grape seeds and I hate exercise.
I thought when I had come to the end of that list that I had made a dead sure thing of it, and I posted the paper with a cheque for three months' payment, feeling pretty confident of having the cheque sent back to me. I was a good deal surprised a few days later to receive the following letter from the company:
- "DEAR SIR,--We beg to acknowledge your letter of application and cheque for fifteen dollars. After a careful comparison of your case with the average modern standard, we are pleased to accept you as a first-class risk."