Car salespeople and members of Congress are tied for the number one spot on the least trusted profession listing. I was amazed because I had clergy and lawyers pegged for the bottom of the ethical barrel picks. But it’s not wrong to discover that my choices don’t align with the polls; after all, the standards for the most blatant chicanery keep evolving. Just think, a century ago, bunco’s and cons had to get out and extort money in person. Now they do it by email and TikTok.
I know an almost friend who proudly confesses to being a professional con artist. When I first met him in the 1960s, he had an insurance racket on Boston Beacon Hill. He had standards. He never defrauded old ladies, widows, or families with young children. Eventually, he moved into more lucrative pastimes, resort area real estate, high-risk investments, and hi-tech. Ultimately John succumbed to the lure of big money and went into politics, first as a Congressional aide and then serving two terms in Congress.
John retired to Florida and lived there peaceably for some years, but last Christmas, the card arrived with a note saying he was thinking of moving back to New England; sharing a state with two inept, incompetent con artists like Trump and Desantis was beginning to irritate him. Not only were they willing to defraud widows, old ladies, and families with children, but one of them was dumb enough to take on Mickey Mouse. After all, this luminary of the Con stated, “In Florida, you don’t fight Sugar, Tourism, or Disney.” “Standards,” he said, “it’s all about standards. It’s sad to see my old profession represented by such idiots. Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware. And Lou, the next big area of growth for cons will be climate change. Bigger than solar, easier than natural food or supplements. Hey, I can get you in on the ground floor!”
At that point, I stopped reading. I am neither a widower, have small children, nor an old lady. And once a con artist, always a con artist.