Can you Spare $40K?

by Rob Valet | 1/24/01 6:00am

Way back in my adolescent years in scenic Brockport, NY (population 10,013, or 10,014 once Darlene has her baby, assuming the Johnson boy survives that tractor accident), I recall hunting through the video store with one of my friends and finding a movie called "Hey brother, can you spare $10,000,000?" The plot of the movie was that this investor had lost the titular sum of money, and had to panhandle or something to get it back (after gathering this much from the box, I figured I understood the movie well enough to not actually bother renting it).

I admit I haven't thought much about that movie in the intervening years, but somehow the picture on the cover depicting a Wall-street type dressed in a suit, holding out a change cup, keeps popping into my head lately. This could have something to do with the fact that I will need to somehow locate $40,000 in each of the next four years in order to pay for med school.

I know I really shouldn't complain, since a) I am lucky enough to get to go to med school next year, and b) I think I'll be able to help a lot of people and enjoy what I'm doing for the rest of my life. But still, it's going to cost a lot. And as pathetic as it sounds, I do feel a certain connection to the actor whose name I forget on the cover of the movie box for the movie I never rented whose name I am still not exactly sure I am recalling correctly. If you're still out there man, I feel your pain, whatever your name is and whatever your movie was called. Unless it turns out that I am in fact imagining this movie, in which case never mind.

Since I am not even entirely sure this movie exists, I decided it would be wise to brainstorm some alternate fundraising schemes, just in case panhandling in my white lab coat doesn't work out. To that end, last break I spent countless uninterrupted hours on the internet (actually, "zero uninterrupted hours," because approximately every 14 minutes my sister would in fact interrupt me in order to use the telephone) hunting for scholarship money for med school. As it turns out, there are precisely zero dollars available per year to provide scholarships to promising medical students such as me.

At this point, my money quest devolved into "Plan B," which basically entailed entering the online version of the Publishers' Clearing House Sweepstakes as many times as I could stand. Eventually I got sick of this (plus classes started again), so I subcontracted out these fundraising duties to my dad, who has been faithfully entering all of our email account/password combinations in the contest each day (right dad?). If dad has faithfully executed his duties, the Prize Patrol should be on their way to 22 Highview Circle in Brockport, or 1977 Hinman here (I really hope it's not too much trouble to ask those oh-so-jolly HB workers to sign for my $10,000,000 check. Although I certainly could imagine that Ed McMahon might get tired of waiting in the line, or might not have his ID card ready when he reaches the window, and the Prize Patrol may have to move on to the next lucky winner and I will be back to panhandling).

At this point, I am sure you are all asking yourselves, "Is this really the soundest strategy for planning to finance a medical education?" Or perhaps more to the point, "Do med schools really admit such complete idiots?" Not to worry! My financing plans are well taken care of (just as your colon will be well taken care of, should that be my line of work and should we meet again in thirty years in a cute little exam room). I am quite cognizant of the fact that I shouldn't be putting all my eggs into the Publishers' Clearing House basket, and so I have diversified my portfolio by entering every internet sweepstakes I could discover. Although no one has mailed me any prize checks just yet, I am already the lucky recipient of numerous unsolicited emails inviting me to enter additional exciting new sweepstakes.

So I would say that things certainly are looking up. I am sure I will have those tuition bills covered in no time. In the meantime, if you see me on the street corner in Hanover with a spare change cup, please be so kind as to consider a $40,000 donation.