The Parable of the Golden Parachute

This is a modern version of the Parable, “The Rich Fool” found in Luke 12: 13-21.

A certain bank CEO received a huge retirement parachute just before he planned to announce that his company would go bankrupt.

 His name was Harvey Melvin. He was disappointed that he failed to make his 4th National bank stable but these were difficult times in the company and not everything was his fault. He took consolation that he’d be able to retire at a very young age. Called his secretary and asked her to run a report of his personal assets.

Lisa was a bit preoccupied because she knew her job would come to an end. Her husband lost a massive amount in the stock market and was very depressed. She had spent most of the morning scanning for other administrative positions. And praying that Harvey would give her a severance package which would allow her more time than a month to recover from the foreboding job loss.

Harvey reached for the phone to call his travel agent while logging into Google Earth (r)  to plan a nice stress-free vacation. Bahamas, Fiji, Cancun? So many get-aways, so little time on Earth he thought to himself. He imagined a beach that he’d seen on the corona beer commercials and wondered where there was a place on this Earth as beautiful as the commercial.

Lisa came in and handed Harvey the spreadsheet. He calculated the severance package and to his delight, it tripled the amount he had in his personal investment portfolio. 45 million dollars. 45 Million Dollars!! It was obvious that behind that sticky-sweet smile Lisa felt more than a little resentful about the report she handed him. She’d seen the tearful farewells of the employees as they left the building knowing that the news of the bankruptcy was imminent and that difficult days were ahead.

Tired of being on hold, Harvey hung up the phone and crossed his legs on his desk. 45 million dollars. He thought. “I’ll have to keep a low profile. This is no time to gloat especially with the fed breathing down his neck. It might be the right time to make a few donations to a few representatives and senators to call the dogs of.

But enough for worrying. He really didn’t do anything illegal. Immoral? Maybe- illegal probably not. He called his favorite Swiss banks and overseas financial institutions and planned to prepare to spread that 42 million across several institutions to assure that what happened to his customers would never happen to him.

As he waited on hold again he thought. Here’s what I will do. I’ll diversify this 45 million and sell my homes in San Francisco, Tampa, Miami, and the condo in New York. And then I’ll live in ease. I can be the youngest retiree I know.

He reached for the Scotch and decided to take a moment for a little private celebration. But suddenly he started feeling strangely weak; his left arm began to feel numb. He loosed his tie and tried to get a little air. It was then that an unexpected guest showed up.

Death? No not death. “I’ve worked so hard.”

Death came closer.

He backed away from his desk and tried to run but it was as if feet were stuck in sand.

Death moved closer.

Harvey began to beg couldn’t we have a compromise. How about if I make a larger donation to the United Way? What about all the Christmas Bonuses I gave over the years to the slackers that I really wanted to fire? I’ve been working my whole life for this dream of retirement and ease.

God whispered, You Fool.

This night I’ve sent my messenger. He will demand your soul. What good are all the real estate, stocks, and golden parachutes?

What a fool.