Hartley: Giving it what its awful behavior deserves | AspenTimes.com

Hartley: Giving it what its awful behavior deserves

Todd Hartley
I’m With Stupid

I am not, by nature, a violent person. I don't hunt, I haven't been in a fight that didn't involve hockey since seventh grade and I don't, under ordinary circumstances, think that fisticuffs or other pugilistic measures solve any problems. Having said that, however, I do feel that Aspen could benefit from having a mafia.

Now, before you jump all over me for supporting organized crime, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not. When I say "mafia," I'm not referring to the mob. I'm not in favor of racketeering, trafficking in illegal drugs, loansharking or strong-arming people into paying for "protection services." Those sorts of things have no place in civilized society.

But I do think there's a place in Aspen for a shadowy group of individuals who could ensure that karma bites people in the ass when they deserve it. And in a town like Aspen — trust me — there are lots of people who deserve it.

Here's the problem, as I see it: People frequently do bad things that aren't quite illegal enough to cause them to be arrested. Thus, there's no penalty for their bad deeds, and the people are allowed to get away with it. This just emboldens them to do more bad things, and it turns into a vicious cycle in which the bad people think they're untouchable — not necessarily above the law, but nevertheless unaccountable for their crimes.

What those people deserve — and what my proposed mafia would dole out — would be things like Tonya Harding-style pipes to the kneecaps, broken fingers or semi-serious injuries of that manner. I'm not suggesting anyone should be killed, but they ought to be reminded in no uncertain terms that their crimes will not go unpunished.

Let me give you an example using a person who may or may not exist. I won't say the person's name or even what gender he or she is. In fact, as this person is such a blight on Colorado and humanity in general, I won't dignify him or her by calling him or her "him" or "her." That would be tantamount to admitting the person qualifies as human, which he or she decidedly does not. So, instead, I will refer to said person as "it."

Recommended Stories For You

It used to work in finance, and for many years it owned a company that had nothing going for it but its name. It was such an awful person for all those years that it went through countless assistants, brokers and other employees, almost all of whom would quit within a few months because they couldn't stand it.

In addition to being a vile ogre, it also was so bad at its job that most of the company's clients pulled out, and on a number of occasions, its office just stayed closed when it should have been open. It, of course, made up lies to explain those situations, but everyone knew the truth: The company was dying because it was evil and incompetent.

In the end, it was forced to sell the company, but somehow it managed to secure itself a contract as the company's manager. After a year, however, it proved to be such a horrid manager that it was fired and replaced with a far superior manager. As a result, the company is now thriving and the clients have come back.

Naturally, its reaction to this state of affairs has been to incessantly badmouth the new manager and try to take credit for the company's resurgence. No one believes a word it says or takes it especially seriously, but no one does anything to stop it from spewing its vile rhetoric, and so it continues to spew.

I've never heard anyone say anything good about it. In fact, I've never known of a person about whom people have had such bad things to say. If you so much as bring up its name, people are eager to tell you what little regard they have for it. But because no one tells it to its face what a wretched person it is, it never reaps what it sows.

With my proposed Aspen mafia, that would change. It would be taken behind the figurative woodshed and made to understand that people had had just about enough of its shenanigans. When it reappeared later on crutches or with a splint on its thumb, I promise you no one would feel any sympathy for it. That's how bad a person it is.

Anyway, think about it, Aspen. It's an offer you shouldn't refuse.

Todd "Don" Hartley runs an olive oil importing business that he swears isn't a front for anything sinister. To read more or leave a comment, visit http://zerobudget.net.

Go back to article