Mini-Madoff

What’s it like inside the Madoff household? Why did he do it?

This article comes close to an insight. My own take, paraphrasing and contradicting Tolstoy: honorable people are all honorable in their own unique way, but thieves are all the same. Indifferent to all but their own impulses.

The article describes a mini-Madoff. Only 4 million stolen. Only. But the mindset of the thief, robbing from those closest to him, without compassion, is complicated by his human, if not fully available for scrutiny, complexity. The man’s stepson wrote the article. He was the only person left to appear in the court galleries for his stepfather – everyone else disappointed or filled with rage at an individual once considered a “pillar of the community”.

The article doesn’t answer why. That is unavailable to everyone most likely – including the perpetrator – only Shakespeare could express what lies inside an individual who betrays so many. But the article can, and does show the ambiguities of love and connection.

I was in a Miami courtroom, watching my 66-year-old stepfather be sentenced to 63 months in prison for doing […what Madoff did]…But for better and worse, he’s my dad. He taught me to play tennis, bought me my first dog, gave me “The Great Gatsby” (talk about irony). He was the one who read my report cards, made me study for the SAT and sent me extra money when I went broke at college. More than my somewhat eccentric biological parents, he was the one who shaped me, made me into a guy with a good job and a mortgage and two children. You know, a semi-normal grownup.