Fun! I wasn't expecting a second chance after my dismal failure to predict the content of yesterday's Richard Cohen column, but here it is, Wednesday, and we've got a bonus, a second round! Yay! And this one is really great, because it features what we love, a glimpse at Li'l Dickie's sad high school years. Truly we are blessed.
It turns out that Cohen went to high school with Bernard and Ruth Madoff (and Dr. Joyce Brothers and Richard Feynman), and one gets the distinct impression that they were the cool kids who didn't really want to be friends with him:
I remember her only as really cute, an object of desire across a classroom or another. But in the yearbook she wrote a long inscription. It seems I teased her. It seems I kidded her. She forgave me all that and ended by writing that I would "meet Bernie at the prom -- and I guarantee he will say hello."
Are you getting the subtext? Li'l Dickie had a big crush on Ruth and so he pestered her and, I don't know, stuck her pigtails in the inkwell or whatever. Bernie was one of the cool kids he longed to be friends with. There's something so pathetic about "I guarantee he will say hello" that it almost makes me feel sorry for him. But who's saying hello now, huh, Bernie? Richard Cohen is! And goodbye, too! Ow! At last, the snub is reversed.
So now, what, eighty years later, Richard can finally take out that sad yearbook and show it to anybody who will look and finally, finally feel superior to older, cooler Bernie:
When I tell people about my relationship with Bernie and Ruth, they sometimes gasp. When I show them the yearbook, they hold it as if it's a poisonous snake. My yearbook is the closest most people will ever come to evil. Bernie is evil, which is what the judge said Monday in sentencing him to 150 years in jail. The yearbook has become like a Nazi artifact. It is compelling. It is repulsive. It is about evil.
Are you picturing Richard running around, frantically trying to push his yearbook into people's hands as they nervously back away?
Once a pest, always a pest.