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Columnists

Surfers' paradise

Dixe Wills

I am not a violent man (now that I've retired from park football, anyway) but there's one phrase that makes me want to punch people in the face: viz. '[Insert the name of well off person here] is worth [insert multiple of millions here].'

In my experience, Christians are just as prone to deploying this casual reduction of a human being to a bottom line as anyone else. Even the followers of the Way, however, might balk at actually taking the phrase to its logical conclusion and buying the person mentioned. That doesn't mean, of course, that it wouldn't be tempting to put in an offer for their life (Pete Doherty's notwithstanding).

Now, courtesy of the interweb, that possibility has become a reality. One Ian Usher is holding an online auction with a single lot: his entire life (alife4sale.com). The highest bidder will receive all his possessions including a car, motorbike, jet ski, several surf boards, a hot tub, sky diving equipment and, of course, the house of Usher (move in now before it falls).

But that's not all - the purchaser also gets Ian's friends (they've solemnly agreed to be nice to the New Ian) and his job. So, if you fancy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get into the rug industry as a shop assistant (jennyjonesrugs.com) while by-passing pesky interviews, here's your chance. Be warned, however - there's a two-week trial period, after which the owners have the right to pull the rug from under you (possibly literally if they're sacking you for trampling on the merchandise).

The downside to taking on Ian's life is that you will have to move to Perth. Not proper Perth, in Scotland, but the young pretender on the west coast of Australia. In her more generous moments, a friend of mine who has moved there describes her adopted city as 'a bit boring', so you'd do well to take a book. There's no significant other in the deal either, Ian's wife having recently divorced him.

She'll presumably not be on hand to see her ex shake hands with New Ian as the former leaves his home 'in just the clothes I am wearing, and carrying only my wallet and passport'. While you're busily discovering that his music collection is a tad INXS-heavy for your tastes, he'll be off to the airport asking 'where the next flight with an available seat goes to' and getting himself onto it.

On the face of it, it's the ultimate in mid-life crisis solutions: get someone to shoe-horn themselves into your life in return for the means (Ian hopes to realise £200,000) for you to start again with a clean slate. Well, almost clean - even if he has no hand luggage, Ian will doubtless be taking some emotional baggage with him. And that, perhaps, is the root of the problem - our irritating inability to escape from ourselves.

The auction (ebay.com.au) opens on 22 June at midday. If you aren't already a 44-year-old divorcee and fancy becoming one, I suggest you start saving now.