Thursday, 28 May 2015
Expiration Cards (1970s)
"Have you ever worried about how and when you might pass away? With an Expiration Card you needn't worry ever again..." (From a 1971 Scarfolk information booklet).
As of 1970 all residents of Scarfolk were issued with Expiration Cards. A dedicated council department, run by someone known only as Tod XIII, calculated when each citizen was most likely to become an 'unreasonable imposition' on society, then set an official date and method of demise. Sometimes, the date was brought forward if the citizen's circumstances changed: for example, if a person had become undeservedly depressed or poorly and was unlikely to ever again be gainfully employed by any self-respecting organisation.
Each cardholder was expected to make the relevant preparations according to their allocated death event and to pay for it. Costs were taken directly out of citizens' income along with tax and costs incurred by governmental weekend breaks abroad. Unemployed cardholders had their assets and/or family members seized and auctioned off.
If a cardholder inconveniently died before their scheduled date and time, their card (and a hefty admin fee) was inherited by the next of kin who could either swap the card with their own - if the death event was preferred - or donate it to Scarfolk's Expiration Charity, which brought together poverty-stricken people to perish in the same event so that they may share costs. Charity expirations often took the form of driving a decommissioned double-decker bus off a pier into the sea while a brass band played. These expirations were televised on SBC TV's 'Beneviolence' programme, particularly if they featured once-popular celebrities who had fallen on hard times.
Note: Personalised Expiration Cards may be available for purchase in the future.