$25,000 Is Its Own Reward

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Vol 40 Issue 48

Man Gets All The Way To Hospital Just To Find Out Wife Will Be Fine

BRIDGEPORT, CT—Responding to a distressing message left on his voicemail, Martin Hermenson drove all the way across town to Bridgeport Hospital Saturday, only to learn that his wife Kara will be fine. "All I heard was 'Kara fell off a ladder,' so I left work and rushed right to the emergency room," Hermenson said. "I got there, and it turned out she'd fractured her fibula—no big deal at all. It wasn't like she was never going to walk again." Hermenson added that he didn't see why he had to waste perfectly good Knicks tickets that night, when Kara went straight to bed after getting home anyway.

Party Host Proudly Informs Guests They're Eating Shark

MANKATO, MN—At a dinner party Monday, host Jeanette Rojahn, 44, announced with great pride that the main course she was serving was shark. "Can you guess what you're eating? It's shark!" Rojahn said to her seven dinner guests, who collectively muttered forced exclamations of surprise. "I know, can you believe it? It's actual shark! I saw it at the Market Basket, and I thought, 'What the heck! Let's try shark!'" Rojahn's guests last feigned excitement in August, when the hostess served cactus.

Beware The Kristina Applegate Curse!

Item! I've been researching one of my favorite actresses. You may know her as Kelly Bundy, but her real name is Kristina Applegate. She's always been a shining example of an acting triple threat: brains, beauty, and a great sense of humor. That's why I could hardly believe my discovery, but I checked and double-checked the evidence, and there was no denying the unsettling box-office phenomenon I christened The Kristina Applegate Curse. We little guys all think of Kristina as celebrity dynamite, but she's actually, at best, a firecracker. How do I know it? Let me set the scene. After seeing the underrated Surviving Christmas, I went on the Internet line, just to make sure I hadn't overlooked any of Kristina's work. What a surprise I was in for! It turns out I hadn't even scratched the surface. Her résumé read like a Top 10 list of flops. Surviving Christmas was a lump of coal, business-wise. Employee Of The Month? Never heard of it. View From The Top? Crashed on landing. All these movies had star power out the wazoo, so there was no reason they should've tanked. I double-checked the Harvey research, and sure enough, these movies all had one common element: Kristina.

Kids Using Drugs To Study

Studies show that more and more college students are abusing prescription ADHD drugs like Adderall and Ritalin to help them study. What do you think?

Trump Casinos Bankrupt

Last week, Donald Trump's casino empire filed for bankruptcy. What caused the company's crushing dept?

In Search Of A Better Life, Teen Moves Downstairs

DEERFIELD, IL—Like generations of teenagers before him, 16-year-old Eric Jankowski has pulled up stakes to seek a future in a distant land of opportunity and independence. Bravely facing the difficulties of a harsh new world, he placed his meager possessions on his back and made a journey of 70 feet in search of a better life downstairs.
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$25,000 Is Its Own Reward

I don't consider myself special. True, I helped bring a dangerous criminal to justice, but the attention I received doesn't matter to me. Call me a hero if you want, but I didn't do it for the praise. As far as I'm concerned, $25,000 is its own reward.

I've been called a "model citizen." I prefer to think of myself as a "paid informer." Sure, by providing information to the authorities, I did my small part in the war on crime. But, more importantly, I got 25,000 big ones. That's no small potatoes.

After I stumbled upon those counterfeiters in the abandoned warehouse, I had a choice to make: play it safe and stay silent, or go to the police. Fortunately, the feds posted a $25,000 reward, and an even better choice presented itself: tell the feds everything and collect 25 large. Sure, if I'd gone to the authorities immediately, I would've been standing up for what's true and right. But what would it have gotten me? A one-way ticket to no-reward city. No, thank you!

With so many friends calling to congratulate me for coming forward, it takes some effort to remember what motivated me from the start: the money. Without it, I'd be just another do-gooder in a world full of hopeless suckers. With it, I'm something my friends and family never thought I would be—financially secure for about a year if I play my cards right. And that feeling of security is something no one can buy, unless they have tens of thousands of dollars in cash.

By leading the police to that warehouse, I earned so much more than a feeling of satisfaction. I earned 25 grand! That's something no one can take away from me, unless they sneak into my house and steal all the big wads of cash from where I hid them in the... Hey! Nice try. Unless they steal the big wads of cash from... the hiding place. Or places. Not to sing my own praises, but I'm armed at all times and a hell of a shot. From the bottom of my heart, I swear I'll shoot anyone who tries to get my money.

It all comes down to this: There are things money can't buy and things money can buy. And $25,000 can buy a whole lot of things, like a plasma-screen TV, a five-speaker surround-sound stereo system, new jewelry, and rims for my car, not to mention expensive dinners with a lot of expensive women and expensive booze. So, no, I don't need your kind words, thank you—$25,000 is payment enough for me.

Some people might say it would've been better to take the easy way out. They say I risked my life, that I should have left an anonymous tip, that I jeopardized my safety by providing my name. And they're right. I could have gone the safe, anonymous way. But that would have meant giving up something far more precious than my dignity: a big fat check made out to "Harry Wilcox."

I have to admit that sometimes I think about those counterfeiters. I wonder how they feel sitting in that prison. I wonder what events in their lives led them to gamble their freedom. Most of all, I wonder if I couldn't have gotten more than $25,000 if I'd gone to them first. But, if I'm honest with myself, I know I could never do that—I don't know the first thing about extortion. At least I can sleep at night knowing that, even if a sharp operator could have made more, I made $25,000.

My only regret is that I'll eventually run through the $25,000, and all I'll have left is the satisfaction of knowing that I helped make the world a better place. But maybe there'll be another criminal to put behind bars, another chance to stand up and do some good in this world, and, if I'm lucky, $50,000 in it for me next time.

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