Pyramid Scheme


My wife, Dorothy, has been digging old photos out of the attic. I can't resist using them for moral instruction.

This photo, of me reading to Dorothy Jr. and George about 23 years ago, shows a classic pyramid scheme. My grandmother read to my mother when she was little, and Mom read to her kids, including me. My sister read to her three children, and my brother read to his two, and now those kids have kids of their own. And they're reading. 

So what does this have to do with the Time Barrier? I want my experiment in age reversal to be more than self indulgence. That's why I'm trying out a sort of pyramid. I used a combination of nutrition and exercise, based on Beachbody stuff, to get me ready to run. After not running for a year and a half, my times are better than they've been for 20 years. So now I want to see if other people can get the same results. I've signed up ten guinea pigs and expect to sign two more in the next couple days. (Get in touch if you're interested.) No, I don't make money from the experiment unless the book becomes a best-seller. And, yes, it will cost you money--less than a gym membership. Proceeds go to fight obesity.

Last night my daughter almost signed another guinea pig for me. He balked at the last minute. "It's a pyramid scheme," he said. That's because I insist that our guinea pigs sign up in a way that allows them to recruit more people. They don't have to do it. I just want them to be able to.

That's the way Beachbody works. You sign up for an exercise program along with the nutrition (about $4 a day). You can quit any time, but if you stick it out for a few months, people will start complimenting you. That's when you offer them the same deal at a discount. Some people make serious money doing this, because a share of the sales comes back to them. I give that money away.

So call it a pyramid scheme. I can't wait to see the last guy at the bottom of the pyramid after everybody else signs up. He'll look around him at a nation of fit people. His insurance costs will have plummeted because there are fewer sick people. He'll be forced to have lunch at a smoothie bar because McDonald's has gone bankrupt.

Like that will happen. But if that's the worst case? Go ahead and call it a pyramid scheme. Just like reading to your kids.