Peter Ingersoll (Jerry Lewis) is about to undergo an operation at a hospital in Chile. Before beginning the operation, the medical staff insist that he first tell them how his unusual condition came about.
He recalls his past life in California, where he was an insurance salesman. His best friend, Dr. Scott Carter (Peter Lawford) is there with him and breaks the news to him that he only has a short amount of time left to live. His wife (Anne Francis), although appearing distraught, tells him to go away on the fishing excursion that he has always dreamed of doing. She convinces him to charge it to his credit cards, and he soon has a bill of $100,000.
While travelling in Portugal, Peter is contacted by Scott and told that he misdiagnosed the tests and that he isn't dying. Now burdened with a large debt, Scott convinces Peter to fake his own death to avoid paying the bills...and for his wife to collect a $150,000 life insurance policy. He tells him that after seven years, when the statute of limitations is up, he can reappear.
However, Peter discovers that the whole thing was a scheme concocted by his wife and Scott, who are having an affair. He then proceeds to wreck their plans, while continuing to live a carefree life. Then one day, while fishing, a swordfish pierces his chest and the film closes with him on the operating table in Chile, where it began.