Bernie Madoff, 150 Years in a Bag of Rock Salt

I can clearly remember the first time I wrestled with the concept of infinity. I was in the supermarket with my father. The TV news was reporting a large snowfall, and we were laying in provisions to prepare. The store had moved items one might need to navigate a blizzard to more prominent positions, and settled in among the snow shovels, flashlights, and road flares was a pallet of rock salt.
 
The bags of rock salt featured a picture of a bear. This is probably what drew my pre-school-aged eyes to it. The bear was pouring rock salt on his steps. The bag of rock salt the bear was using also had a picture of a bear on it. That bear was also pouring rock salt on his steps. The second bear’s bag had a very tiny picture of a bear pouring rock salt on it as well. It was too small to make out, but I realized that logic dictated that the third bear’s bag must ALSO have a picture of a bear on it, and so forth. There was nothing that said the chain ever was to break; there was no final bear, just bears using bags with tinier bears on them continuing on into forever. Even though I was hardly past my toddler years, I found the concept of infinity deeply unsettling. I do not remember starting to cry, but perhaps I squeezed my father’s hand a little tighter, seeking tactile, real-world comfort while my still not fully-formed mind struggled with it’s newfound knowledge of the infinite.
 
I wonder what Bernie Madoff felt when he heard U.S. District Judge Denny Chin sentence him to a (in my mind fully-deserved) 150 years in prison. Suddenly being told where you would be and what you would be doing for the rest of your life is to be forced to confront your own personal infinity: as a child I was disturbed to find out that there was a parade of infinite bears pouring rock salt, Chin essentially told Madoff he WAS to be little more than a metaphorical bear pouring metaphorical rock salt for the rest of his existence. 
 
For further analysis of the Madoff scandal, check out the Corporate Community page’s Focus on Madoff Litigation.