Cue the Eddie Holman classic, " Hey There, Lonely Girl." Ruth Madoff is in exile and she's having as much fun as Marie Antoinette awaiting her date with the guillotine.
Of course the wife of the biggest Ponzi schemer in history is not exactly withering in a dungeon, praying for a piece of cake upon which to nosh. No, Ruth is prattling around her multi-million dollar Fifth Avenue penthouse. Alone. So alone, according to a recent article in The New York Times, she has ditched her chic but understated designer duds for jeans and Oxford shirts. Such an interesting fashion choice could have arm chair psychologists labeling it simulated prison garb. Maybe she's practicing for the inevitable or just punishing herself. It doesn't matter; there's nothing to primp for anyway. Except visiting day at the federal lock-up in lower Manhattan. Her hair salon won't even let her come in for a dye job. And she's been shunned by her tony Hamptons florist, too. Her sons--both under investigation, but not yet charged in daddy Bernie's greedy grab--won't speak to her. And they now refer to their parents as Ruth and Bernie. ( could be worse; they could call them Mr. & Mrs. Madoff).
Feel sorry for Ruth? She is, after all, sixty-eight, and facing an unpromising future. So yeah, when pouring out the milk of human kindness, save a few drops for Ruth Madoff. But they're sour drops, their freshness date quickly expired when I read excerpts of victim impact letters printed in The New York Post. I feel for these people many of whom are not like Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, duped big time , but young and successful enough to rebuild their fortunes. I feel for those in their 70's, 80's, 90's, with neither the time nor stamina to recoup a substantial fraction of their losses. These people, once set for a comfortable retirement, must now rely on family members for meager survival. And what of those generations of families wiped out? These people must rely on social security and food stamps. I feel for the charities, foundations and pension funds pillaged, and the countless people and programs that depended on that money. Feel sorry for sixty-eight year old Ruth? How about compassion for the eighty-year old who has to grovel for a greeter gig at Walmart for minimum wage?
Ruth, of course, wants to keep prattling around her ritzy prison. But it's gotta go. It should be sold along with the houses in France, Florida and the Hamptons, the yacht, the jewels, the art. You know, Ruth, all the goodies you tried to stash away in the days before Bernie's big old house of cards came tumbling down. All the proceeds will eventually be divvied up among his victims, doled out as meager reparations.
Well, a girl's got to live somewhere, I know. So Ruth can move to more modest accommodations. There are several cozy downtown SROS, conveniently located near her hubby's current digs, that would surely welcome her tenancy. And with such close quarters and charming communal bathrooms, Ruth could easily make a lot of new friends.
And you never know, Ruth. If you play what's left of your grubby little cards right, the Feds might offer you three hots and a cot of your own. But probably at a different facility than Bernie's. Just as well. Doubt you want to be that close to the guy that shook up your world.
However it plays out, Ruth don't bother calling your hairdresser or florist. Seems your money's no good around here anymore.
Drive safe. Play nice. Think peace.