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January 09, 2008

"Weekend at Bernie's" in Hell's Kitchen

Two 65-year-old men wheeled their deceased buddy to the store in an office chair in an attempt to cash his Social Security check:

The trouble began Tuesday when Dalaia and O'Hare tried to cash Virgilio Cintron's check at a store in Hell's Kitchen on their own, police said. The man at the counter told them that Cintron had to be present to cash the check, so they went back to his apartment, which one of the suspects shared with the dead man.

Cintron was apparently undressed when he died, sometime within the previous 24 hours. Police said Dalaia and O'Hare proceeded to dress him in a faded T-shirt, pants they could only get up part way, and a pair of Velcro sneakers. They threw a coat over his waist to conceal what the pants couldn't cover, police said.

They then put him on the office chair and wheeled the corpse over to the check-cashing store.

The men left Cintron's body outside, went inside and tried to cash his check, authorities said. The store's clerk, who knew Cintron, asked the men where he was, and O'Hare told the clerk they would go and get him.

At about the same time, Rapp spotted them and jumped up, confronting the men as they were attempting to haul the body into the store. He said even after he identified himself as a police officer, O'Hare told him, "I have to get my friend in here. I have to cash his check."

He ordered the men to back away from the victim. They feigned surprise when paramedics declared him dead, Rapp said. [AP] (Emphasis added.)

Weekend at Bernie's is a 1989 comedy about two guys who haul their dead employer around as part of some scam.


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I like that it appears that you only vaguely remember the movie.

That's all just dead wrong.

Use a stiff, you get stiffed.

Stinks, too.

Feel free to use my corpse for whatever scam you think you might get away with. All I ask is that you wait until I die in my own good time and that you pull my pants all the way on.

I was thinking the same thing, cfrost. I hope I'll get a chance to endorse or bequeath my negotiable instruments, but life's unpredictable.

If I cash my check without cashing my check, so to speak, my friends should feel free to take me on one last joyride to the MoneyMart.

Gee, forgive me. I thought the original post was put up because it was kinda funny. Not, you know, a cause.

I can't, in principle, be a part of any scam in which I don't get a cut. You wanna use me for a duet, though, knock yourself out.

They should have signed him up for direct deposit, then used an ATM machine.

It's sad they were so desperate they had to resort to this for the sake of what, 10^(-14) Iraq Wars?

I think these two guys were trying to hype a sitcom idea. Their friend agreed to play the dead guy so they could draw a crowd and claim he was alive. I'm sure they watched the original movie, but they are trying to sell this one to Fox as more reality based. Their vision is two guys who are buddies, one in the morgue, and one in a funeral home. The episodes start out with some friend who dies that day. They build comedy off the various funny things that everyone has to go through to make sure things go off well during mourning.

The lead characters are based upon a spin of grumpy old men. One guy is Jack Nichelson trying to revive his career again. The other is Morgan Freeman. Morgan is the doctor in the Morgue. He's tired of life, but got a heart of gold. Jack's a former everything kind of guy who is always scheming to get back in the action. The pilot is obviously this episode above. It's Jack's idea to put him in the chair. An office chair doesn't look like a grocery cart see! And all they need to do is get the money to pay for a cremation. We get lots of close ups of the deceased lolling in the chair. Sliding around, goofy looking eyes, and literally everyone knowing this is a gag. Some people go along, some don't but that's comedy.

That's my hood! I'm so...uh...proud?

This is obviously just a funny little incident. But there is a larger point lurking in the background.

I do deplore the attitude that suggests scams and con games by the powerless and impoverished can be cute 'n' understandable but outrages that must be crusaded against when done by potent plutocrats. The principled -- as opposed to merely ideological -- stand is that scammers and con people are always the bad guys. They can be lovable, of course, but they are responding to their situation in a dead-end (so to speak) way.

Dock Miles, you're right basically. Another word for scam is theft. On the other hand, below a certain income threshold, like minimum wage, you're often forced to do something like a scam.

I've been there and done it myself. Long story short, I owe several thousand dollars to the German government for tax revenue lost and to the US Army for shipping and handling, for booze and cigarettes I sold under the radar. I wasn't going to make the rent with a sub-minimum wage. Not something I'm proud of, but something that did open my eyes.

I should add another thing I learned selling tax-free (and let's call a spade a spade: stolen) merchandise: A successful scam quickly becomes consuming. I was soon making much more money than I could use. I finally left Germany once I had so much cash that there could be no possible way to explain how I got it. It was exhilarating but too nerve-racking. I'm not cut out for scamming.

For better or worse, the likable rogue/trickster/scam artist seems to put in an appearance in just about every human culture, from Falstaff to Coyote to "One Piece At A Time." One reason being, I'm sure, that most people who've lived on this earth have been very poor, and very aware they're being scammed themselves by "legitimate" authority.

Somebody actually built that "psychobilly Cadillac" by the way:

This is no different than what is happening in the financial arena now. For instance Countrywide is dead yet their 'roomate', Bank America (7% owner) is pushing it around in hopes that someone will still in effect, cash their checks. More specifically they are hoping that others will lend Countrywide money at decent rates so they can continue to appear alive for awhile longer in hopes that some miracle will save them.

In this case however the police, the Fed and the Treasury, are helping with the charade. For all purposes in fact they wrote the script which might be called, Weekend with Henry (Paulson)

Rapier, that's a very good point.

yes. excellent point.
cfrost i just like all parts of that story.

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