Tripolar recently reminded me that I haven’t posted a hypothetical thread in a while, so naturally I felt compelled to correct that. Send your complaints to him. (Although, if you don’t like these, I don’t understand why you opened the thread in the first place.) Anyway…
Today’s story is about Dave and Don, who earlier appeared in the threads linked to by their names. They’re in their mid-forties and have been friends since kindergarten. Don is a self-made millionnaire with more money than Croesus; Dave’s a working joe. Dave and Don are both happily married, and their wives are good friends as well; Don is godfather to Dave’s daughter Ann.
Not all is well in Dave’s world. Both he and his wife, Jenny, lost their jobs in the economic downtur. After months of unemployment, Dave managed to find a much less-well paying job, while Jenny still jobless. Even worse, Ann is very ill. Her medical bills would have been hard to handle even before her parents lost their professional jobs; now they are crippling. Part of the reason Jenny is not working is that she’s had to stay home with Ann, and Dave has had to take on whatever horrid jobs he can get to stave off total disaster.
But wait! you say. What about Don? He’s a zillionaire! Well, yes, that’s true, but he’s also out of the loop. He offered Dave a position at his firm the second the latter lost his job only to be refused; Dave felt that, since he was clearly unqualified in Don’s field, any such position would be a sinecure and thus charity. Thus he and Jenny pulled away from their friends instead, embarrrassed about their situation. Then, of course, Ann got sick, and neither Don nor his wife knew just HOW sick.
Not until recently, anyway. But not long ago, Jenny contacted Don to ask for help. Dave, she says, is working himself to death trying to keep the family afloat. When he’s not working he’s trying to find extra work, and he hasn’t spent more than 10 minutes with her or their daughter in weeks. She fears that, even if Ann lives, she will have no memory of her father being in her life during her childhood; and, worse, she fears that Dave will miss the last months of her life if worse comes to worse. Can’t Don do something?
Of course he can. And of course he’s willing. Catching up with his old friend. Don offers him a check that will not only get them out of debt but also cover their living and medical expenses for at least a year. Don tells Dave not to worry about paying the money back. He means this sincerely, as what Dave thinks of as a small fortune is trivial to Don.
Looking at the check, Dave hesitates for a long moment. At last he says that he appreciates what Don is trying to do, but he can’t accept such a huge sum as a gift. Neither, of course, does he dare reject it outright; it could easily be the difference between the family keeping their house or becoming homeless. So he wants Don to promise to treat this as a loan. There needs to be a contract to sign, and Dave has to be charged the same interest Don would charge anyone else. Otherwise, he says, he can’t accept it.
How would you describe Dave’s position? What should Don say in response?
(Poll in a moment, but don’t let that slow you down.)