Shell Shocked: Pardon me
The words “pardon me” have taken on new meanings these days. With the flick of a presidential wand, indicted criminals are returning to active duty in the non-criminal world as model citizens.
Memorize those words. “Pardon me” can free you from being punished for criminal behavior – if you know the right people. If you run across an old rusty bottle that has washed up on shore, be careful what you wish for when the genie is freed. If you’re out on bail, failed to see your parole officer, or hoping you’re not caught for committing the perfect crime, then saying “pardon me” to the genie can remove any criminal stigma hanging over your head.
But never waste the words “pardon me” if you haven’t yet committed a crime. Commit the crime first then utter “pardon me” and you’ll not only have gotten away with the crime but you’ll now have the opportunity to commit further crimes.
If you brush into someone accidentally on the street say “excuse me,” not “pardon me.” If you say “pardon me” then the person you brushed up against will take you literally and absolve you of any crimes you may have committed. If you haven’t committed any crimes – yet – then you will have wasted a “pardon me” for the time and circumstance you may really need it.
The pardon process frees you from having to claim that you’ve been framed, that you’re innocent, that you have an alibi, that you were misunderstood. You won’t need excuses. Just commit the crime and laugh all the way through your trial. The jury verdict won’t mean a thing. Your friends in high places will pardon you anyway.
In fact, the pardon process could eliminate the need for jury trials thus saving billions of dollars of taxpayer money. Simply be friends with the person doing the pardoning and you can be assured of loyalty, dependability and instant forgiveness.
Hint: don’t make the crime too despicable. It then becomes a stretch for the public to accept your being pardoned. Stick with the old standbys: graft, corruption, making deals with the Russians, jaywalking, speeding and intruding on the civil rights of others.
And once you’re pardoned you can go right back to the old standbys. That’s true democracy in action. You’ll have an opportunity to commit another crime. As a pardoned criminal your standing in the community will rise. You will be seen as the anti-hero, the hard driving criminal who has a friend in court, so to speak. And imagine if you are able to set the record for the most pardons in one’s lifetime. Not only one pardon but four or five – giving you honorary mention in the Guinness Book of Records.
The right to pardon should go well beyond the office of the presidency. It should be bestowed on mayors, governors, chiefs of police and TV news anchors.
I believe that Lester Holt, for example, is a fair and decent man and has the judgment to determine if a conviction for a crime was fairly rendered. He could open his evening news telecast by reciting a list of those convicted criminals he would be pardoning. And the pardoned would be signing multi-million dollar book contracts to tell their story of crime, punishment and absolution.
Our prisons would become less populated and could be turned into homeless shelters for the pardoned who can’t quite make it back to civilization. So remember. Be careful how you choose your words. Be very careful when uttering the words “pardon me.” If you do utter them be sure you’ve committed a crime first.
-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.