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A good man for a 'bad bank'

Just show me which rathole the money goes down, and I'll get right to work.

February 20, 2009|JOEL STEIN

Dear Government,

If you had asked me a year ago if I thought I could land a job as CEO of a huge, trillion-dollar bank, I would have said, "No way, dude." Back then, from what I could tell from commercials, it was all about online checking and stagecoaches and other stuff I don't know anything about. Back then, I was also less about CEOing than commercial watching.

But this "bad bank" job is perfect for me. Did you know that even as a kid I was such a bad banker that when someone passed "go," I'd just grab a wad of different colored bills and hand them to everyone? I'm not really a counter or a color looker.

Once, I stood in line at Citibank for 15 minutes, and when I got to the front of the line, I asked for a chalupa. Boy, was I wasted.

My other relevant banking experience was when I was watching that movie where they talk that old retired guy into doing one last heist. So I decided to call this old dude who used to be my L.A. Times editor and ask him to rob Citibank with me, but I fell asleep instead.

Here's my plan for how I'd CEO the bad bank. First, I would hook up all those security cameras to the Internet. Then I'd replace all the security guards' bullets with those little exploding dye pellets they sneak into the money they give robbers, and have the guards shoot each other and play Dokken really loud. Our business plan wouldn't involve investments but strictly Internet advertising.

Because the bad bank is going to own a lot of people's mortgages, I'm going to institute a policy called Foreclose/Evite/Party/Don't Clean Up.

And instead of interest, we're going to pay people compliments. We won't waste a lot of time keeping records, so it's likely that all our assets will get mixed up with the other banks' assets. So when you go to make a withdrawal, it's possible that instead of money you'll get blood.

In addition to taking toxic debt from the good banks, I'd also happily take other things they're dying to get rid of, like Canadian coins and elderly customers. All of my upper management will be Icelandic.

Our tellers will wear the same outfits as Hooters waitresses, only instead of "Hooters," the shirts will say "Bad Bank," which won't quite work as well, so we'll take out ads where dudes check out hot chicks and say, "Check out the bad bank on her," so people will get it.

I'm not naive. I know there's going to be a bad-bank competition. Citibank, I believe, is trying to get rid of all its bailout money on the deal for naming rights to the new Mets stadium. I wish I'd thought of that first.

My goal is that by year two I'm not showing up to work at all. Also, to do such a tremendous job that when people say they're making bank, they say it with shame.

If this goes as well as I hope, I'm thinking we could expand into other areas, like bad dry cleaning, where we will take seven or eight hours to Martinize. Sometimes we'd accidentally Simonize. Or be wearing your suit when you come to pick it up.

So, please look over my resume, paying particular attention to the skills-and-hobbies section, which takes up the bottom three-quarters of the page. That's where I talk about my ability to do body shots off both myself (skill) and others (hobby).

I don't know what kind of salary a bad-bank CEO makes, so I'm hoping the government has a bad accounting office that scrambles numbers, like on "Lost," and will assign a really high salary for the job.

Feel free to contact any of my references, both of whom owe me money from football games we bet on.

Let's make it the baddest bank ever!

Sincerely,

Joel Stein

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jstein@latimescolumnists.com

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