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By Joel Achenbach
Sunday, September 24, 2006

Someday you will shuffle off this mortal coil, and your friends and loved ones will gather 'round to share their memories of you. Will they recall fondly a kind and loving person? Will they eulogize someone who had time for grand acts of love and small gestures of friendship? Look in the mirror, and ask yourself: What can I do, right now, to ensure that I will be remembered as a good human being?

The answer: Subscribe -- at a discounted introductory rate of just $299.99 a month -- to our sensational new lifestyle-management service, Legacy Booster!

Legacy Booster is like having a personal trainer for your entire personality. We can help you forge a reputation for being the kind of thoughtful, caring individual you would surely be if you had more time, energy and emotional depth. Our agents are professionally trained and certified to help you become a "people person" without having to go through the hassle of dealing with people and their tedious problems.

Our motto: Even Human Decency Can Be Outsourced.

Legacy Booster shoots for the long-term reputation makeover, not the quick fix. We phase in the transformation by starting with a few delicate touches -- a nice Hallmark card to Mom on her 80th birthday, for example, inscribed with a thoughtful sentiment and what appears to be your signature. But that's only half the battle. Your friends and colleagues must also know of your generous gesture, which is why Legacy Booster will create a marketing campaign via Internet, phone trees and street rumors to make sure that every loving and unselfish thing we ever do on your behalf gets maximum exposure and possibly even a write-up in the local paper. Here are some ACTUAL HEADLINES in respected publications about Legacy Booster clients:

Busy Executive Personally Attends Funeral of Lowly Colleague

Parent Lauded as Sally Foster Giftwrap Sales "Prodigy"

Homemaker Recycles Bottles, Newspapers for 137th Consecutive Week -- Guinness Book Investigating

Let Legacy Booster be your publicist, counselor and 24-hour apologist. Can't make it to your kid's soccer game? One call to Legacy Booster, and we'll make sure every other parent on the team knows that you're busy with important charitable work involving the poor, the sick and the pathetic.

You can pick from our menu of virtues you'd like to be remembered for. These include Fabulous Cook (check out our Home Cooking Express Delivery Menu -- all yummy and better than anything you could ever make!), Amazing Athlete (by UPS we'll send enough trophies to fill an entire wall of your den!) and Incurable Romantic (your sweetheart will get such "just because I love you" gifts as the jumbo vat of Stubble-B-Gone Depilatory Cream).

Still not convinced? Then consider that, for just an extra $795 per month over our base price, you can receive our Premium Legacy Booster Simulacrum Membership, in which, in a pinch, you can call on one of our agents to pretend to be you. Let's say you've got a close friend with a romantic crisis, and she calls you looking for guidance. She's weeping, she's desperate, but what she doesn't realize is that you're smack dab in the middle of a compelling episode of "Judge Judy." Solution? Press a button, and the call is forwarded to a Legacy Booster Special Friend, who will offer reassuring murmurs and clucks.

If you have small kids, you know how much they love bedtime stories. But you know, too, how boring it can be telling the same old stories about fairies and princesses and bears and crocodiles and plucky little kids who somehow always find their way home after a misadventure. That's why your kids need to wear our Legacy Booster Bedtime Story Wireless Headset that, via satellite, will pick up an authentic-sounding parental voice -- specially selected to mimic your own -- telling heartwarming tales your kids will love. And if you want to be remembered as a no-nonsense parent who built character by setting limits, we've got the solution: Any child who refuses to go to bed will receive, via the locking headset, a brief electric shock. Voltage easily adjusted.

Don't take the chance that your legacy will be tarnished by accurate memories of your life so far. Legacy Booster can ensure that people will remember you as you plausibly could have been. Sign up today! And someday, when you're gone, rest assured.

Read Joel Achenbach weekdays at washingtonpost.com/achenblog.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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