The Q&A Hole: How Much Money to Break Your Arm?

Because everything, they say, has a price

A person’s body is supposed to be inviolable, isn’t it? But, also, a person is supposed to be in charge of – and to set the rules for – their own meat puppet, their flesh hotel, their usually bipedal bag of bones and blood, right?

And so, if a person needed a lot of money … and another person was willing to pay so that they, the second person, for whatever sick or perhaps scientifically curious reason, could just go ahead and cause a little grievous bodily harm without any legal consequences …

Well, for this latest in our continuing Q&A Hole series, we just had to ask: What’s the smallest amount of money you’d accept to allow someone to break your arm?

JT Habersaat, comedian: Wouldn't do it. I think money is overrated and much prefer having an arm that works.

Courtney Hopkin, actor and improviser: In my current financial situation, there's no amount of money someone could give me to do that. If my child was starving, I could see considering it. Otherwise, not worth it.

Rob Gagnon, comedian: Without getting more details – breaking location, left or right arm, breaking method – I would say, with no confidence, $50K.

Jennifer Balkan, artist: Holy crap. I need my arm to paint! Honestly, I think this would be more like a “I won't kill your dog if I can break your arm” kind of thing – in some Tarantino kind of way. Then, OK, please spare me my dog and break my arm.

Shannon McCormick, actor and improviser: I don't like pain, nor weird hypothetical questions like how much would you accept to tear the wings off of a butterfly. So, my gut reaction is to say No Amount of money would be sufficient to let someone break my arm. Should this case ever present itself in real life, I will plead to ethical relativism and perhaps entertain the notion.

Jen Cash, artist and chef: Depends on which arm, where, and type of fracture. Your basic Tonya Harding type job would need to cover all medical expenses pertaining to said injury, in addition to clearing up my student-loan debt and living expenses for the time off work. I'm pretty cheap, actually. We’re probably looking at less than a hundred grand.

Mical Trejo, actor: For the left arm, $5K. For the right arm, $10K. And they’d have to cover any and all co-pays, etc. I can not jerk off with my left for a while, but going without the right one … I dunno, man. It's gotta cost a bit, because I'll be paying the price.

Nate Southard, author: I'm going to say fourteen grand. My insurance has an annual out-of-pocket maximum of four grand, so I want to make sure that's covered. Beyond that, I feel ten thousand is a fair price for the pleasure of giving me a standard arm break. For thirty-four, I'll allow one of those nasty compound fractures. And for a flat fee of $50K, you can take one selfie with my arm bone jutting out. Single-party transactions only, please.

Tim Doyle, artist: Left arm? Yikes. Right arm is totally off the table. I'd say they could break my radius or ulna for $50K. My humerus for $80K. Left arm only. And under controlled conditions, not like in a parking lot or something. If I was younger, the price would be less, but now that I'm over 40, I'm an experiment in decompositional sculpture, and there's only so many times I can break something before it sticks.

Lowell Bartholomee: actor, writer, video producer: I've made it this far without ever breaking a bone, so that causes me to charge a premium for breaking my decades-long record. $100K (plus all bills & expenses) feels like a decent price point.

Jordan T. Maxwell, actor and improviser: Well, I make most of my money doing transcription and massage these days, so I'd need to take into account any potential lost wages from not being able to use one of my hands – plus any acting jobs I might miss out on because of the injury. If we assume a maximum of six months to heal, plus enough to cover medical costs, and some extra incentive for the pure pain and suffering of the whole ordeal … I’d say $50,000 for the left arm, $75,000 for the right. But I'm also really bad at math, so I'd probably get my sister to negotiate it for me – she's a lawyer!

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