I’m not a religious man, and even if I were, I would like to think that my conception of the Hereafter would allow for non-violent criminals to enter through the gates. Life is more interesting with scoundrels around and I presume death would be too.
That said, there would have to be some sort of vetting process, be it St. Peter or whatever it is you believe in. If I ran the afterlife, my gatekeeper would probably be like Loni Anderson on WKRP: not particularly helpful, but you never really care all that much.
Wait. Where was I? Oh, the Hereafter. Here’s how I imagine George Steinbrenner’s entrance interview went when the subject of his criminal conviction came up:
Loni: Now, about that campaign contribution business …
Big Stein: Hey now, I was pardoned for that!
Loni: Of course you were. I believe it was Mr. Reagan, wasn’t it? He’s still over there in the waiting room until we clear up all of this illegally arming rebels business. Hi Ronny! Anyway, back to you …
Big Stein: Look here, that was bad legal advice. It says so in today’s Associated Press! They released the documents! Big Stein was trying to do the right thing but the lawyers, oh boy, those lawyers. They messed up everything!
Loni: You have a point about the lawyers, generally speaking. We have a whole annex for them. Their wait to get in is interminable. But I fail to see how that helps you, Georgie. Because it does seem fairly clear that you were trying to hide campaign contributions that were clearly illegal even back in the wild west pre-Watergate days. Or are you saying that your lawyer told you to give your employees bogus bonus checks that directly corresponded with the amounts you intended to donate to the Nixon campaign? And if so, that you thought such advice was on the up-and-up?
Big Stein: Look, honey, I’m tellin’ ya. I was innocent!
Loni: George, you’re gonna fit right in. Everyone in here is innocent, you know that? Heywood, what you in here for?
Heywood: Didn’t do it. Lawyer screwed me!
Loni: See what I mean?
At that point I’d call out to Loni’s desk and tell her to let Steinbrenner in. What would Heaven be without him around to make things fun?