An ingenious plan to keep Bills in Buffalo

HERE IN AMERICA, talking about dying is pretty much taboo unless you sell life insurance or you're some kind of rapper straight outta Compton. Mostly, we prefer not to acknowledge death, as if doing so will help us live forever.

The funny thing is we beat our breasts when someone threatens to take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance, but when the time comes to cozy up to the idea of eternal life with that same God – an eternal life free from the stresses of human existence and the frequent ulcers suffered when the Bills lose in only the special ways they sometimes can – we find it utterly distasteful that people even suggest that we may one day die and join God. That's the same God under whom our nation lives and who blesses our country during the seventh-inning stretch of most baseball games.

In fact, it took the discovery of mortality tables to convince Americans that we die at all. Until that point, we always thought our elders reached an age when they simply left the house one day and got permanently lost in the forest. Now we can say for sure that people die, which really is a good thing because otherwise earth would be more overcrowded than a federal prison. Then, there'd be people living in my shower – and worse than that … using my loofah!

WHAT MAKES DEATH more manageable for everyone involved is a plan. So just in case Ralph C. Wilson doesn't have a plan for the community's pro football team, I'm here to offer a solution, and I think you'll agree that it's quite compelling. It's amazing, really. I mean sometimes when I let my creativity wander, I come up with rather ingenious ideas like this. Other times when I let my creativity wander, I find I stepped in a big pile of dog crap because I wasn't paying attention.

Anyway, if you've read our story on "The Future of the Bills" in the current issue of Shout! (on newsstands or call 1-800-932-4557) you'll know that the Bills' prospects in Buffalo will largely be determined by what happens when Ralph – dare I say? – dies. In normal circumstances, his death would be none of my business – say, if he were a private businessman. But because he's a public figure who owns what really is a utility, his mortality is every bit as much a part of the Bills' story as who's scoring touchdowns for the team.

So here's my solution for Ralph to beat the humongous tax that would be levied on his estate. At the same time, the plan would keep the team in his family for generations. Upon their deaths, Ralph should leave the team to his wife, Mary. She could then remarry and leave the team to her husband, John, who'd then remarry and leave the team to his wife, Alexis, who'd then remarry and leave the team to her husband, Devon … and so forth.

Obviously, we don't know who John, Alexis or Devon are. They might not even be born yet. Truth be told, they may never be born because they're simply fictitious works of my mind's inner sanctum. Yes, I'm that clever.

By applying my convoluted concept to the 10th or 11th degree of separation, I'm happy to report that Ralph's marriage would last much longer than the 150-year life expectancy of the Giant Tortoise.

OF COURSE, I'LL READILY admit I'm no estate-tax attorney. If you have a big estate, you probably shouldn't implement my plan without talking to a professional somebody. I can only tell you that I briefly ran my idea past a tax professional, who said that it was "conceivably feasible," which I think means it's conceivable. To be honest, though, while this person's comment really didn't give me a whole lot of confidence, I was somewhat encouraged that I wasn't met with, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard come out of one human being's mouth."

Thus, I'm moving forward, which is a favorite phrase of mine straight out of corporate America. The company has gone bankrupt, the CEO's facing criminal charges, the stock price has dropped 77 bucks over the last year and some PR dude is faxing out press releases stating the company is moving forward. That's the kind of optimism I want to have, especially with cutting-edge ideas such as mine.

IN THE END, WHEN Ralph's attorneys closely examine my plan and actually see how incredibly inventive it is – and how one man's intelligent thinking is poised to save football in Buffalo – they'll probably feel obligated to suggest to the Bills that they rename their stadium "Mike Doser Stadium" and their training camp "Buffalo Bills Mike Doser Training Camp."

Today, of course, the training camp is called Buffalo Bills Bausch & Lomb Training Camp. Last year, it was Wegmans Buffalo Bills Training Camp. I'm not sure what happened that caused the Bills to put their name in front of the sponsor's, but I suspect it has something to do with a whole bunch of fresh, new 16-year-old Wegmans employees showing up bright and early at camp one day last year because they thought that's where they were supposed to be for orientation and training. It was "Wegmans Buffalo Bills Training Camp" after all.

That's really not that funny.

ANYWAY, LET'S JUST say because of my beat-the-estate-tax plan, I'm very well aware of the possibility that the Bills might name something in my honor.

However, I'd probably decline because I'm not a big fan of that kind of thing. Indeed, I think we're naming things after people and companies at such a stunning rate these days, that pretty soon there'll be nothing left to be named. We're going to demoralize whole generations of Americans and make them unwilling to build lives for themselves once they see that the only things left to permanently attach their names to – so that their legacy will live on – will be garbage dumps and public restrooms. They'll be so depressed about that, they'll sit around and accomplish nothing.

Fortunately, there are people such as me who are simply interested in coming up with ideas for the greater good of mankind and, most important, Bills fans.


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