The Keys to a Clear Conscience: Kugel Pudding and the Telephone Game

If you visit a prison, what you’ll hear while there, save a few repentant souls, is braggadocio.  Puffed-up pride and confidence is what makes a person brazen enough to be a criminal in the first place.

The same is true for those who financially abuse the elderly or snatch someone else’s inheritance.  To convince yourself you’re worthy to be bequeathed what intrinsically you know is not yours is endemic to the criminal mind and behavior.  Truth is, not everyone is gutsy enough to steal someone’s life savings or deprive a rightful heir the proceeds from their childhood home, so hats off to ya!

Let’s face it, to be able to murder someone a perpetrator has to have convinced themselves that the person they just garroted with a shoelace somehow deserved it. Everyone knows rape has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with hostile anger and hatred toward a person far removed from the victim.

In like manner, to don a clown mask and rob a bank, the person filling up the duffel bag has to – on some level – feel entitled to the contents.  And so it is also with any respectable inheritance heister.

However, sometimes a guilty conscience can be an albatross around the neck of a person who’s convinced they deserve something that they’ve stolen.  So, today we’ll cover how to deal with being unethical and feeling good about it.

Unfortunately, in almost every person’s heart and soul God places a pesky thing called a conscience.  The hope is that principled morality will light the way toward an honest and truthful life. Which means anyone who’s actually managed to rob the elderly or steal an inheritance already possesses that special talent to dismiss twinges of shame.

Yet, even for the most hardened thief, maintaining a clear conscience can occasionally pose a little bit of challenge.

With that in mind, and to assist ‘guilt-free thievery,’ Advice for Thieves with PhDs (also known as Slimes with Balls) is willing to provide a few pointers on how to ignore, suppress and self-talk yourself out of culpable feelings that sometimes creep in and spoil the fun.

One helpful method is to revert to childhood and employ the telephone game tactic.  You’ve already called upon childhood memories to rip off Aunt Esther and cousin Marvin.  Wasn’t it auntie who always made you your favorite holiday noodle kugel with raisins?  Doesn’t that prove that dead Uncle Howie wouldn’t mind Aunt Esther cutting his only son out of the will?

So, in keeping with the telephone game theme, everyone knows that stories passed from one person to the next tend to morph in the process.  If you’ve been lucky enough to find an ornery relative willing to pay your mortgage just to spite an heir, shield your own emotions by playing the telephone game with them.

Here’s how it goes: the person with the big bank account relays to you an untrue story about an innocent son or daughter.  You’ve really hit the jackpot if the complaint involves an evil in-law.  All you have to do is repeat whatever they told you to a few people in a convincing way, and do it with feeling.

After you’re more comfortable (this works especially well with elderly dementia patients), reiterate to granny or gramps what they originally told you, only this time with a twist, which will make them even angrier.  Reaffirm inaccuracies, bolster irrationality, disregard past behavior in the aged, and above all add a little spice to the story – something that makes larceny a tastier morsel for you to swallow.

Thieves with PhDs need to remember that twisted falsehoods have a twofold purpose: conscience comfort and, if things go according to plan, possibly an even bigger payday.

Keep the telephone game going until you’ve concocted a story that helps you feel comfortable about accepting a large check or facing a relative you know is guiltless but whom you’ve successfully managed to defraud.

Couple the telephone game with reinforcement by repeating lies until you believe them yourself.  This always works.

Then, if you really, really, really want to feel better about being a money-grubbing lout, lie to yourself.  It’s a known fact if you lie to yourself enough, eventually fiction becomes truth and what you originally knew was true is no longer true in your own mind.  The falsehood you cling to in order to perceive yourself as an innocent, deserving recipient will become a life preserver for stormy times up ahead.

An entitlement mentality is also helpful.  If you’re feeling a little guilty about taking what’s not yours, set up camp for a couple of days with the Occupy Wall Street protestors and wallow in that pervasive entitlement atmosphere.  Grab hold of their ‘I deserve what’s yours’ mentality until the belief that you’re worthy is seared into your iniquitous mind.

To avoid inflicting personal anguish on yourself, try to forget past conversations where your generous sibling, cousin or close relative told you that if they ever inherited anything from Mom or Dad they’d share it with you.

Self-talk works.  Just say things like: “Uncle Willy loved me more.”  Or how about playing the trusty old ‘He may be their only child, but they had a tumultuous relationship’ card?

If alone and feeling uneasy, take out old pictures of yourself with your benefactor. If a smiling next of kin is in the snapshot leaning in toward dear old Mom, just color them in with a black Sharpie® and pretend they never existed.

Nonetheless, there are many ways to ease aching consciences, and helpful tips abound.  However, the best way to ensure that a financial abuser of the elderly/inheritance hijacker can go on with life no longer plagued with self-reproach, is to spend an afternoon buying something nice for themselves with that stolen money and never forget that no one deserves it more than they do.

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