I’m suggesting here in this public forum that everyone must sign up for Prehabilitation (Prehab) so as to avoid the more costly Rehabilitation (Rehab) which seems to have become de rigeur for all kinds of transgressions, real and imagined.
Not unlike absolution, Rehab has been used for problems with drinking, substance abuse, interpersonal ineptitude, bigotry, racism, lewd behavior, and purchasing the new Vista operating system. It’s costly and time-intensive. Paris Hilton is being jailed for 45 days, a huge loss to society. Rehab might have required 30. But effective Prehab, well, that would have merely been part of her life experience and prevented the ensuing unpleasantness. (If they didn’t lock her up for that television show, how can they lock her up for driving without a license?)
Prehab is atonement in advance. You have the regrets in the bank. It’s sort of like those machines in mall lots that enable you to pay for parking ahead of time, so you don’t have to wait in line later.
I’d suggest that Prehab simply be a course taught in the school system, thereby avoiding the need for precious discretionary time being washed away. Prehab would allow someone to acknowledge in advance the error of their future ways, e.g., shouting racial epithets at cops is wrong; beating your spouse senseless is a tad over the top; blaming your kids for your marital inadequacies is somewhat misplaced; drinking until you are even dumber than when you’re sober and driving into a crowd is poor etiquette.
In the somewhat likely event that these transgressions actually eventuated, you would merely present your Prehab card to the proper authorities. I realize this could be abused, so I’m recommending that it take the shape of a coffee card from the local donut place, and it is revoked if it’s punched, say, 48 times. I think that’s a nice balance between draconian penalty and public menace.
What we want to avoid are the repetitive trips to Rehab, which cast doubt on one’s discipline, as well as their tolerance for chirping birds and health nuts. I thought Imus was bold not checking into Rehab after his racial remarks (as he had in the past for alcohol and substance abuse) but he did go on the Reverend Al Sharpton’s radio show, which is Rehab on steroids.
In any case, give it some thought. A Prehab experience and lifetime card could be the answer to the multitude of public figures embarrassed by the rest of us paying attention to their public transgressions. The IRS allows you to pay estimated taxes during the year in order to avoid a painful “hit” later on. Insurance companies sell annuities that pay you back much later, when you need the cash.
Prehab is just a way to make sure we focus on true celebrity and not overrated character.
© Alan Weiss 2007 All rights reserved.