The latest in an emerging literature of “How Bernie Madoff screwed me and what I plan to do now” comes from artist, author and former editor Alexandra Penney writing in the Daily Beast:
Last Thursday at around 5 p.m., I had just checked on a rising cheese soufflé in my oven when my best friend called.
Heard Madoff’s been arrested,” she said. “I hope it’s a rumour. Doesn’t he handle most of your money?”
Indeed, he did. More than a decade ago, when I was in my late 40s, I handed over my life savings to Madoff’s firm. It was money I’d been tucking away since I was 16-years-old, when I began working summers in Lord & Taylor, earning about $65 a week. Not a penny was inherited. Not one cent was from my divorce. I earned all of it myself, through a long string of jobs that included working as a cashier at Rosedale fish market in New York City in my twenties, and later, writing bestselling sex books.
When I hung up with my friend, I turned on the TV, and began to scour Google for news until the message became nauseatingly clear: 40 years of savings—the money I’d counted on to take me comfortably through the next 30 years—had likely evaporated in Madoff’s scheme.
THAT MOTHERFUCKER!! The soufflé fell.
I called Dennis, my consort of 16 years, and he canceled the dinner guests. I took half of a very strong tranquilizer that I’d been stashing for years in case of a death in the family.
So what’s next:
How will I make money?
The art market, as everyone pretty much knows, is dead. If I can’t sell my work, I am going to have to find some way to make money.
I’ve lived a great and interesting life. I love beautiful things: high thread count sheets, old china, watches, jewelry, Hermes purses and Louboutin shoes. I like expensive French milled soap, good wines and white truffles. I have given extravagant gifts like diamond earrings. I traveled a lot. In this last year, I’ve been Laos, Cambodia, India, Russia, and Berlin for my first solo art show. Will I ever be able to explore exotic places again?
Since this happened last Thursday, I have barely left my apartment, I haven’t been out for dinner; haven’t bought groceries. Can’t remember the last time I ate a full meal. Food, which is one of my most favourite things in the world, has become meaningless. But I look on that as an upside.
Yesterday, I took my first subway in 30 years. Dennis came with me to show me how to get a MetroCard. The world looks very different from a crowded Lexington Avenue number 6 train. Read the whole thing >
How I Got Screwed By Bernie Madoff