I am not a francophile today…

16May11

Shall we rejoice that Mr Strauss Kahn is headed for the slammer?  Yes,  he’s  a sex offender in a world where obtaining sex is as easy as boarding a bus or walking into a Seven-Eleven.  Or no, he’s an arrogant sick dude. It takes a criminal (or ill) mind to force sex  on someone else. He may be  shipped home, or may go to Rikers Island – a prison in New York not known for standards approaching the Ritz in Paris; however,  it’s not akin to Devil’s Island, either.  Maybe he’ll be sentenced to a year of community work in the slums of Bedford Stuy in Brooklyn – after all he is a socialist – Not sure how a French speaker works in Brooklyn, though.

Of course, he’ll probably get a free ticket to 30 hours of  “sex counseling” and, no doubt, emerge a changed man. Sort of the prince and the frog story. He’ll write a book (autobiography, of course)

Having said that, I do not rejoice that he is headed for stir. I had had a couple of friends in New York who did time  (at different times) and it was no joke, they told me,  and I witnessed it myself when visiting them.   Each ended up at Allenwood (PA) Federal Penitentiary, which had a reputation for being akin to a summer camp. I can tell you:  it was no summer camp. The guards must have thought I was a lawyer visiting two prisoners per visit. It was nice walking to the car park and driving home. A free man.

FYI, I shall not be visiting Mr. Strauss Kahn when I next visit NYC. He can get his own lawyer for whom the EU taxpayer will undoubtedly be (over) paying. I bet he’ll land F. Lee Bailey.

Memo to Mr Strauss Kahn: do not try any funny business  with our Secretary of  State, Mrs. Clinton.  She ain’t no chambermaid.

Speaking of prisons, let me relate a Bronx story. My mother still lives in the Bronx, in a reasonably nice section. When she was 90  years old she acquired a boyfriend whom she met at a local “club”, a euphemism for a mafia “office” where “messengers” would shuttle in and out throughout the day, bringing in “receipts”.

Somehow she attached herself to a “worker” there (Joe) and he moved in with her, to my horror. My mother had effectively become a mafia moll (at 90).  Of interest was that she was quite proud of the attachment and I sensed she enjoyed the frisson of excitement it provided, sleeping with a guy who kept a gun under his (their) pillow. How embarrassing is that!

One day when I visited Mom, she showed me the pistol, as if it were a trophy. I remonstrated with my sisters who live nearby, but to no avail. I think their lame excuse was…”well this is the Bronx”. For all I know, she may still have it under her pillow. By the way, the boyfriend mentioned above (since passed away – natural causes!) spent 10 years in the slammer (Sing Sing prison in New York State) for Murder II when his employer was the M—-a, 25 years ago. While at Sing Sing, the “boys” looked after his family…sort of like the Elks Club or the K of C or the Masons.
Anyway, since  Joe passed away (of natural causes). My mother still remembers him fondly. His photo still graces her night-table. Don’t know where the gun may be.  Also, I see no pictures of my father; guess he was not exciting enough.

Footnote: I recall a conversation with Joe in which I suggested he tell me his story and I could write an “as told to….” book about the mob. He said he could “never do that to the boys…”… Omerta?

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