You're an American and you're not rich. You're in trouble. You work fulltime, but as an "independent contractor," without healthcare. You pay more than half your salary for a tiny apartment. The only reason Visa and AmEx stopped calling every ten minutes is that your phone's been disconnected. If you ever had any savings, you put them in the market like all the smart people said you should. Which means that today, you're broke, tired, angry and one illness away from sleeping in your car -- your illegally uninsured car.
Typical cell in Danish
Or let's say you're a Russian, where your prospects are even bleaker. Your wife will no longer support you, and you can't stand living with your parents, even though you love your mother's cooking. Still, you're thirty-two years old now, and you swear you're going to drive an ax through your engineer-father's skull if he prattles on again about how during the Soviet Union days, everyone worked and everything was easier. That doesn't help you any. You can't afford an apartment because you can't find a job that pays more than $250 dollars a month, and why work if that's all you can earn? Your dreams of moving to America and a free ride into a house with a swimming pool and two SUVs in the driveway went up in smoke when you actually went to America to visit. There, you learned that everyone was fat, overworked and completely opposed to social parasitism. In other words, the Americans are insane.
What would you say if we at the eXile promised to show you how you could retire in comfort for only a few hundred dollars? No, we're not asking you for the money. We don't make a cent out of this. We're not peddling a self-help book or a new religion. We're doing this just for you, because we care about you. And our plan doesn't take twelve steps. It's free, it's simple, and it's guaranteed to work. Here it is:
Buy a plane ticket to one of the following countries: Denmark, Austria, Finland, Holland, Switzerland, or the Netherlands. Find something you can brandish in a threatening manner. It doesn't have to be much: a broken bottle, a sharp-edged rock, or a stale baguette. Rob a bank. Just say, "This is a robbery. Give me all your money," and wave the rock or baguette in a more or less threatening manner. Don't hurt anybody, though.
Wait for the cops to arrive.
That's all you have to do. Within a few minutes of your attempted robbery, you'll be whisked away to a "prison" which will be more like Club Med than anyplace you're likely to visit if you'd stayed Stateside or in Russia. You'll be cared for in a way no ordinary American or Russian, let alone any American or Russian prison inmate, could ever dream of. You'll be fed, clothed and housed comfortably, provided with dozens of artistic or vocational programs, and offered all the entertainment options you could want.
The only problem is that these countries don't offer the sort of generously long prison sentences the US and Russia hand out. So the months or (perhaps) years will roll by all too soon, and you'll find yourself out in the real world again. At which point all you have to do is make sure that you're set free for a while -- long enough to repeat steps one through four again. As a recidivist offender, you can hope to get a longer sentence, providing you with an even longer R & R. Just make sure they don't transport you to the airport. That would involve being deported back to the US or Russia, where your prospects would not be good. Do whatever it takes -- fake an epileptic fit, claim refugee status, apply for citizenship -- but don't let them send you back to the Stepmotherland, America, or the land of tuberculosis-infested, overcrowded prisons, Mother Russia.
In case you feel a little guilty about deliberately choosing a prison, go to your local library -- if there still is one -- and get the September 17, 2002 issue of Forbes Magazine. There you'll find an article on which Federal pens the stylish Bush-crony embezzlers are choosing these days. Here's the first paragraph, complete with a witty little play on words: