Send Me to GITMO!

Whenever I hear of  rich people like Martha Stewart, Dennis Kozlowski or Leona Helmsley being convicted and sent to prison, I find myself wondering how these jet-setting sybarites withstand incarceration. In sympathetic identification, I project myself into their circumstances and embark on a mental sojourn of the accommodations and appointments found within the correctional facility.

My quest for the perfect incarceration location was satisfied recently on a visit to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which truly rates an entry in the Michelin Guide to Correctional Facilities. I've informed my lawyer, family, close friends and associates that if I'm ever convicted, send me to GITMO!

"Why GITMO," you ask? 

The location is ideal, the climate sublime, food selection vast, the accommodations well ventilated, recreational opportunities abound and cultural sensitivity is king. Besides, I'd fit right in with the GITMO inhabitants. I'm a middle class college graduate, educated at a Western university. I'm not an explosives expert, but I did set off some illegal fireworks on the 4th of July once. All right, so I'm not a terrorist trainer, recruiter, aspiring martyr or financier, but my stint raising three boys has to count for something! 

Yes, GITMO is definitely the choice for me.  But I know my rights and have a few simple requests.

Let's start with my religious needs.  I won't be needing the Koran that's given to other inmates with a gloved hand to hang on the wall with a surgical mask. You can handle my Bible, the Old Testament, but you have to promise to kiss it if you accidentally drop it. Instead of an arrow on my bunk pointing toward Mecca, I'll need a mezuzah on the cell door and will be forwarding directions certified by my rabbi indicating the exact location, angle and required prayer for proper mezuzah installation. I won't require the customary prayer mat, skullcap and prayer beads. I'll be content with a yoga mat and a block to work on my downward-facing dogs and chatarangas. I also won't be needing the five times daily calls to prayer and the cone with the "P" on it that you place on the floor to enforce 20 minutes of quiet respect during each prayer session. On second thought, the "P" cone may come in handy right outside my cell during monthly cycles when I'm hormonal and dangerous.  

By the way, if you could tell the Muslims in adjoining cells that when they're loudly praying about what they're going to do to the "Yahoud" that I know that's the Arabic word for "Jew" and I'm grossly offended! I'm sure they'll understand and modify their incantations accordingly. Oh wait! That's part of the Koran, the holy word of Allah as told to Mohammed; it can't be changed! Well, life is certainly not a bowl full of ball bearings as my late father, PBUH (that's "peace be upon him"), used to say.  It just goes to prove that life isn't perfect, even in an idyllic setting like GITMO.

Here's some advice for GITMO soldiers attending to my care. You won't need plastic face shields as I don't plan to toss fecal cocktails in the honored tradition of GITMO detainees. Also, I'm friendly and harmless and won't visit their families upon my release. So, tell the staff that the Velcro® nametags can remain on their uniforms in my presence.

Let's move on to discuss food and dietary needs. I know you provide inmates with six choices per meal. But those meals - regular, vegetarian, vegetarian with fish, soft diet, bland diet and high fiber - won't cut it for me. I'm not going to be pushy and demand kosher food, but certainly you can put together a low-fat spa entrée. I know that you bake fresh bread daily and hope that you can pop a challah in the oven for me on Fridays for my Shabbat observance. No thanks on the baklava for Ramadan but if you requisition a box of matzoh and a jar of gefilte fish for Passover, I'll promise not to report you to the Center for Constitutional Rights for cultural insensitivity.

Let's talk about my recreational activity requirements. Instead of soccer and stints on the treadmill, I'll require an elliptical and a set of weights. The Pashto class won't work for me, but Spanish will. I'm from Los Angeles where Spanish is the unofficial language and will need to keep up my communication skills. You're going to need to add the Classics to your literary collection in anticipation of my arrival. Incidentally, these must be in English, as I don't read Urdu, Pashto, Arabic or Farsi. Sign me up for the gardening project. I've perfected the art of growing exotic herbs and can be a great asset here. 

I'm impressed with your 20-bed medical facility, your dental plan and your mental health services. Surely, I'll make good use of the facilities but have a few requests. As part of the twice-yearly dental cleanings, I'd like to schedule a whitening treatment and some Botox injections. I'll definitely require the psychotherapy sessions as I have issues with my mother, my father, my siblings, my husband, my colleagues, my kids, my neighbors, you name it! Don't despair about suicide attempts on my behalf. Unlike the other GITMO residents, my religion prohibits suicide; even homicide, for that matter. I must warn you that hunger strikes do not confer elevated status among my people and it is considered a sin to waste food. Where I come from, instead of psychological evaluations following nine missed meals, a rabbi makes home visits after three missed snacks! Please be advised that I might request an extra nosh now and then. While we're on the subject of hunger strikes, I'm horrified to hear that the average detainee weight gain is 18 pounds! That's worse than the poundage I put on during a recent cruise on the Mexican Riviera!   

I must confess that the yearly detainee review process and nine annual Red Cross visits don't work for me. Instead, I'll need an annual meeting with my astrologist to chart my horoscope for the coming year. After all, I hail from Southern California and expect the same cultural sensitivity for our customs that are so generously conferred on the current GITMO inhabitants. As for Red Cross visits, (frankly, I'm surprised it's not the Red Crescent), I'll be meeting with the Mogen David Alom. I know that the Red Cross is charged with mail delivery, detainee-to-family communication and Geneva Convention regulation, but the Mogen David Alom not only gets word to the mispocha, it arranges for a nightly turn down service and chicken soup deliveries when you're ill. 

In conclusion, if the occasion arises for an incarceration, I'll certainly look forward to an enjoyable stay at Guantanamo Bay. It certainly has all the amenities I'm looking for in a detention facility. The only downside I can see is that escape route choices are harsh. It's either hightail it through a minefield into the arms of a brutal Communist dictator or hijack a schooner or the GITMO ferry to brave the high seas to Jamaica.

Janet Levy is the founder of ESG Consulting, which provides conservative political causes with project management and development, event planning and promotion, and fundraising services.
Whenever I hear of  rich people like Martha Stewart, Dennis Kozlowski or Leona Helmsley being convicted and sent to prison, I find myself wondering how these jet-setting sybarites withstand incarceration. In sympathetic identification, I project myself into their circumstances and embark on a mental sojourn of the accommodations and appointments found within the correctional facility.

My quest for the perfect incarceration location was satisfied recently on a visit to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which truly rates an entry in the Michelin Guide to Correctional Facilities. I've informed my lawyer, family, close friends and associates that if I'm ever convicted, send me to GITMO!

"Why GITMO," you ask? 

The location is ideal, the climate sublime, food selection vast, the accommodations well ventilated, recreational opportunities abound and cultural sensitivity is king. Besides, I'd fit right in with the GITMO inhabitants. I'm a middle class college graduate, educated at a Western university. I'm not an explosives expert, but I did set off some illegal fireworks on the 4th of July once. All right, so I'm not a terrorist trainer, recruiter, aspiring martyr or financier, but my stint raising three boys has to count for something! 

Yes, GITMO is definitely the choice for me.  But I know my rights and have a few simple requests.

Let's start with my religious needs.  I won't be needing the Koran that's given to other inmates with a gloved hand to hang on the wall with a surgical mask. You can handle my Bible, the Old Testament, but you have to promise to kiss it if you accidentally drop it. Instead of an arrow on my bunk pointing toward Mecca, I'll need a mezuzah on the cell door and will be forwarding directions certified by my rabbi indicating the exact location, angle and required prayer for proper mezuzah installation. I won't require the customary prayer mat, skullcap and prayer beads. I'll be content with a yoga mat and a block to work on my downward-facing dogs and chatarangas. I also won't be needing the five times daily calls to prayer and the cone with the "P" on it that you place on the floor to enforce 20 minutes of quiet respect during each prayer session. On second thought, the "P" cone may come in handy right outside my cell during monthly cycles when I'm hormonal and dangerous.  

By the way, if you could tell the Muslims in adjoining cells that when they're loudly praying about what they're going to do to the "Yahoud" that I know that's the Arabic word for "Jew" and I'm grossly offended! I'm sure they'll understand and modify their incantations accordingly. Oh wait! That's part of the Koran, the holy word of Allah as told to Mohammed; it can't be changed! Well, life is certainly not a bowl full of ball bearings as my late father, PBUH (that's "peace be upon him"), used to say.  It just goes to prove that life isn't perfect, even in an idyllic setting like GITMO.

Here's some advice for GITMO soldiers attending to my care. You won't need plastic face shields as I don't plan to toss fecal cocktails in the honored tradition of GITMO detainees. Also, I'm friendly and harmless and won't visit their families upon my release. So, tell the staff that the Velcro® nametags can remain on their uniforms in my presence.

Let's move on to discuss food and dietary needs. I know you provide inmates with six choices per meal. But those meals - regular, vegetarian, vegetarian with fish, soft diet, bland diet and high fiber - won't cut it for me. I'm not going to be pushy and demand kosher food, but certainly you can put together a low-fat spa entrée. I know that you bake fresh bread daily and hope that you can pop a challah in the oven for me on Fridays for my Shabbat observance. No thanks on the baklava for Ramadan but if you requisition a box of matzoh and a jar of gefilte fish for Passover, I'll promise not to report you to the Center for Constitutional Rights for cultural insensitivity.

Let's talk about my recreational activity requirements. Instead of soccer and stints on the treadmill, I'll require an elliptical and a set of weights. The Pashto class won't work for me, but Spanish will. I'm from Los Angeles where Spanish is the unofficial language and will need to keep up my communication skills. You're going to need to add the Classics to your literary collection in anticipation of my arrival. Incidentally, these must be in English, as I don't read Urdu, Pashto, Arabic or Farsi. Sign me up for the gardening project. I've perfected the art of growing exotic herbs and can be a great asset here. 

I'm impressed with your 20-bed medical facility, your dental plan and your mental health services. Surely, I'll make good use of the facilities but have a few requests. As part of the twice-yearly dental cleanings, I'd like to schedule a whitening treatment and some Botox injections. I'll definitely require the psychotherapy sessions as I have issues with my mother, my father, my siblings, my husband, my colleagues, my kids, my neighbors, you name it! Don't despair about suicide attempts on my behalf. Unlike the other GITMO residents, my religion prohibits suicide; even homicide, for that matter. I must warn you that hunger strikes do not confer elevated status among my people and it is considered a sin to waste food. Where I come from, instead of psychological evaluations following nine missed meals, a rabbi makes home visits after three missed snacks! Please be advised that I might request an extra nosh now and then. While we're on the subject of hunger strikes, I'm horrified to hear that the average detainee weight gain is 18 pounds! That's worse than the poundage I put on during a recent cruise on the Mexican Riviera!   

I must confess that the yearly detainee review process and nine annual Red Cross visits don't work for me. Instead, I'll need an annual meeting with my astrologist to chart my horoscope for the coming year. After all, I hail from Southern California and expect the same cultural sensitivity for our customs that are so generously conferred on the current GITMO inhabitants. As for Red Cross visits, (frankly, I'm surprised it's not the Red Crescent), I'll be meeting with the Mogen David Alom. I know that the Red Cross is charged with mail delivery, detainee-to-family communication and Geneva Convention regulation, but the Mogen David Alom not only gets word to the mispocha, it arranges for a nightly turn down service and chicken soup deliveries when you're ill. 

In conclusion, if the occasion arises for an incarceration, I'll certainly look forward to an enjoyable stay at Guantanamo Bay. It certainly has all the amenities I'm looking for in a detention facility. The only downside I can see is that escape route choices are harsh. It's either hightail it through a minefield into the arms of a brutal Communist dictator or hijack a schooner or the GITMO ferry to brave the high seas to Jamaica.

Janet Levy is the founder of ESG Consulting, which provides conservative political causes with project management and development, event planning and promotion, and fundraising services.