MIKE TAYLOR: Nothing to gain in a business venture

I’m too old to think about embarking on a new career, but I am anyway. Thinking about it, I mean. When it comes to big decisions, I do a lot of thinking and very little actual doing.

This case might be the exception, though. Why? Because I’ve finally found a job that’s easier than writing: doing nothing.

That’s right, not a darned thing. While still getting paid for it.

I got the idea from a guy in Japan. That’s where my new hero, Shoji Morimoto, lives. For a fee of 10,000 yen per “session,” Morimoto sits quietly with you, maybe eats a little lunch. Mostly, though, he does nothing.

Now, 10,000 yen is only about $85 in Yankee bucks, but a Morimoto session probably lasts for an hour or less, so there’s time to fit several into any given workday. That’s not bad scratch, considering the minimal effort involved.

Why would anyone pay $85 to have someone sit quietly with them? I have no idea. But people do. Japanese people, anyway. I’m hoping Americans will be just as crazy once I get my new business cards printed.

A lunch with Morimoto typically goes as follows: He sits across the table and eats. He listens to you talk (or not, your preference), all the while nodding and saying “uh-huh” at the appropriate times. That’s about all the conversation you’re likely to get from him; you are, after all, paying him to “do nothing.” The theory is that this is better than dining alone.

Other gigs he’s taken on include waiting for a runner who wanted to see a “familiar face” as he clocked off the last hundred yards of his race, listening to health care workers gripe about the Covid pandemic, and tagging along with a woman who didn’t ‘t want to file her divorce papers alone.

He’s even been hired to stand at a train station and wave goodbye to a departing passenger in a “dramatic” fashion.

Morimoto is a temporary companion for folks who, after having lived through months of Covid isolation, are now uncomfortable with “real” friends, but at the same time don’t want to attend the opera or their brother-in-law’s son’s bar mitzvah solo.

He’s basically an escort who not only doesn’t offer, um, “adult services,” but doesn’t even try to be interesting, funny, or in any way pleasant to hang out with. He’s a warm body, period.

I can do that. It’s the job I was born for.

I’ve even come up with a few improvements to Morimoto’s business model. First, this being the 21st Century, I’ll need an app. It’s gotta be a simple one because the sort of people willing to drop $85 for a chance to hang out with me are not going to be smart. The app will have only two buttons, labeled “No Thanks” and “Transfer $85 From My Account To Mike Taylor’s PayPal.”

The second button will be much larger than the first. And no matter which one the user taps, the money will still be transferred. (This policy will be clearly explained in the “end user license and terms agreement,” a 392-page online document written in 2-point type entirely in Sanskrit.)

Once the cash is safely in my account, the app will take you to the “expectations” page. There, the user can peruse the many services available for his or her $85. These include the following:

• Do nothing at a baseball game or other sporting event.

• Do nothing over dinner, lunch or breakfast.

• Do nothing while you try to convince your mother that I am, in fact, your fiance and she can stop worrying about the fact you’re over 30 and still single.

• Do nothing while I watch you sleep.

• Do nothing while you read me the first draft of your new screenplay based on the life and times of Winston Churchill’s second cousin, Larry.

Of course, there also will be the section explaining exactly what I will not do for your $85. This includes:

• Anything that doesn’t involve doing nothing.

Naturally, all this will come with my exclusive No Money Back guarantee.

If the cash rolls in as I expect it to, it won’t be long before I’ll be able to retire and fulfill my lifelong dream: doing less than nothing.


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