How to fix the Embarrassing Presidential Loot problem.

Here’s the background: American Presidents can’t actually accept valuable personal gifts from heads of state, so they end up… being tossed in a warehouse somewhere.  This perturbs both The Volokh Conspiracy and Instapundit, both of whom find it wasteful.  I actually sympathize with the government on this one: auctioning off the stuff will tick off some of the gift-givers, particularly the more naturally tiresome ones.  So what we need to do here is to think outside the box.  Ready?

OK, here we go.

What we do is, we build this really, really big building.  In it, we put a bunch of sliding walls with doors on them – enough to make a bunch of rooms that are about, say, 10 feet by 10 feet; and they’re sliding so that you can come up with new floor plans every week.  Then you take a bunch of this stuff and you put it in various boxes and chests for people to find.  Just to keep things interesting, you can also put in some actual cash – pennies, half dollars, and those stupid dollar coins; also to keep things interesting, you can make some of the chests stay locked unless somebody has a key, or figures out the mechanism, or maybe solves a puzzle first.  You can also hide boxes, if you want.  If you really want to make it hard, stick somebody in the room to guard really important stuff.  That’ll keep people from making a beeline to the six-digit items.

People?  Yeah, people.  You sell tickets for people to go through the rooms.  They get a couple of hours to go through; anything that they have on them when they get back to the entrance they can keep.  If they stay past the time allotted for them, they either have to pay more to stay, or lose it all.  They can also pay to have a master key to some of the locks, or for having the right to tell some of the guards to leave, or maybe even to have the right to switch around some of the rooms temporarily.  There’s all sorts of things that you could do with that.

I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking, “Moe.  This will lose the government money.”  Not true!  The government’s just out for building/renovation costs and maintenance staff; besides, you could generate some really good cash flow here by VIDEOTAPING THE RESULTS.  Particularly when one group – oh, yeah, you’d do this in groups – encounters another.  This could be the ultimate in reality shows…

Moe Lane


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