“Impossible,” you’ll say. “It can’t be done.” Well that’s why I’m Bernie Madoff and you’re not. You probably think that my being aged 71 with a sentence of 150 years equals ol’ Bernie never getting out of the hole. I, on the other hand, simply see it as swindling death. I pulled off 65 billion swindles, so one more will be easy. How smart can a cape-wearing scythe-waving anorexic be?
Clawing back 150 years isn’t so tough. I have a 5-step plan:
1. SWINDLING IS STRESSFUL
I’ll add years to my life with some laid back prison living. Look at my former to-do list:
6 a.m. – Wake up; start swindling.
7.40 a.m. – Get out of bed.
10 a.m. – Swindling.
11 a.m. – Write list of people to swindle.
12 noon – Pangs of guilt or indigestion? Ask doctor.
1 p.m. – Recommend to doctor a “nice little investment”?
It went on like that pretty much all day, everyday, and it was very very stressful: I really can’t emphasise that enough – hence the double “very.” Sometimes, instead of swindling, I’d opt for light grifting, which was kind of like swindling but had more of an “all dressed down” feel. If you knew how stressful it was you’d probably be saying, “Jeez, poor Bernie kinda deserved that $65 billion to compensate for all that crippling swindling stress.”
* Years added to life by no longer swindling: I reckon 2 for each of the 20 years it went on = 40 (110 to go).
Do you know how many Egyptians it took to build a pyramid? Me neither, but I’m guessing 23. And I’m talking strapping Egyptians too, not puny ones – like when you see an unwrapped mummy and think, Heck, were all those guys skinny midgets? I built my Ponzi pyramid alone.
* Years added to life by my being equivalent to 23 strapping Egyptians = 20 (90 to go).
3. STOP FEELING GUILTY; IT WAS A MISTAKE
Come on you bunch of goody-goodies; you must have made errors of judgement. Have you ever taken a left turn when you really meant to take a right? You’ve done that, haven’t you? Well what I did was similar, except I kept taking that wrong turn for 20 years. It’s pretty much the same thing. Now imagine that whenever you take your wrong turn you accidentally end up robbing a bunch of people. Lots and lots of “error of judgement” robbing. Heck, if you think about it, I should be applauded for only taking 20 years to spot such a “tragic mistake.”
Look, some jerk crayoned over my copy of the Ten Commandments, and I couldn’t read the bit about not stealing. I thought it said, “Thou shall not steam.” And I promise you, I’ve only ever eaten boiled vegetables.
* Years added to life by recognising it was just a mistake, therefore fewer pangs of guilt = 20 (70 to go).
4. COUNTING ERRORS
Ever noticed how when an investor is trying to work out some figures and you distract him by going “la, folly di, la, folly di, la” that he loses count and gets all flustered? Add a peacock impression and you’ve got a combo that ensures no investor will ever get his figures right. Whenever I ask the prison guards how long I have left inside – “Am I nearly there yet?” Am I? I must be; it seems like my sentence has been going on for ages and ages” – I’ll start squawking and flapping until they mess up their count.
* Years added to life by peacock related miscounts = 20 (50 to go).
5. TIME OFF FOR BEING “GOOD BOY BERNIE”
A few goods deeds, a makeover, and they’re bound to knock some years off:
a) Educate nation on both nutrition and morality in a book called “Uncle Bernie’s Hip and Lie Diet.”
b) Point out how many rainforests I’m saving by no longer receiving a bank statement.
c) Give myself that Winkler “Happy Days” vibe by wearing a leather jacket and calling myself “the Ponz.”
* Years off for good deeds = 10 (zero to go!!!).
And there you have it – 150 to freedom in 5 easy steps.
[Note: Observant readers will have noticed that this does not, in fact, add up to 150. When we questioned Mr. Madoff on his suspect figures, he started flapping his arms wildly and repeatedly asked us to “check out” his ample plumage.]