Being a law-abiding citizen is cool and everything, but it doesn’t always get us everything we want. Some of us have aspirations in life, and pencil-pushing isn’t going to cut it. So for those of you who think you’re cut out for the criminal underworld and are looking for nefarious routes to riches and success, here is a list of what I think are the best illegal professions out there, with “best” being very, very open to interpretation. Most items on the list are varying in degree of ethicality, likely depending on both your moral code and things such as where you happen to fall on this self-report sociopathy scale. Either way, whichever you choose, do realize that you can always just donate some of your profits to charity. It offsets the bad, kind of like buying carbon footprint credits.
6. NSA Agent
Pros: Likely will never face jail-time or lose your job. Wield an immense amount of power. Gets to lie to Congress.
Cons: You’re a Constitution-raping, communist douche-bag. Will probably unwittingly catch your wife cheating via mass surveillance. True American only by definition, not practice.
5. Criminal Lawyer
Pros: Excellent role model to look up to (see: Saul Goodman). Circumvent the law through application of every loophole and technicality imaginable. Great satisfaction outplaying the government through both lawful and unlawful means.
Cons: You’ve got to be the one thinking up said loopholes and technicalities. Can’t be as stupid as an NSA agent and get by unscathed.
4. Graffiti Artist
Pros: Think Banksy. Promote your personal ethical values and be an activist for the greater good, all while making bank (no pun intended) off art auctions to the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie—if you can make the grade in terms of infamy, that is.
Cons: The same infamy that fetches those insanely high auction prices also fetches Princess Di levels of paparazzi. Would have to sit back and watch as either various government entities or sexually dissatisfied soccer moms take the time and effort to cover up your works of art with unsightly, off-white rectangles.
3. Drug Lord
Pros: Tony Montana, Pablo Escobar, Gustavo Fring and Frank Lucas, to name a few. Essentially a government-funded occupation available to anybody smart enough to 1) Listen to their own personal Saul Goodman, and 2) Resist getting too greedy. Capitalism is on your side as it obeys laws of human nature, not unnatural states of prohibition, therefore this particular profession can result in massive, massive gains. As in getting a $200 return for every dollar invested.
Cons: You might get so much cash in returns that you end up having to write off 10% of your annual profits, or in Escobar’s case: a billion dollars, due to either water damage or consumption by rats. Oh, the horror. Once again, Tony Montana, Pablo Escobar, Gustavo Fring and Frank Lucas: they all die in the end. Wait, wait…I take that back. Frank Lucas is alive and kicking, and only served a total of 12 years in prison, so have at it!
2. Arms Dealer
Pros: Hey, if Nick Cage can do it, it must not be that hard.
Cons: I’m kidding. Between virtually every US and international law enforcement agency looking to nab you the minute you go rogue for an extra buck, you’d better just do this one by getting in with Booz Allen Hamilton or Lockheed-Martin. Or better yet, do it “legally” by skirting international laws, and then perpetuate certain wars in order to appease authoritative powers. Actually, this one is pretty fucked up. We’re talking about first-hand contribution to horrific losses of life. Do us all a favor and skip this one.
1. Mafioso/Member Of A Crime Family
Pros: You elude guilt by profiting from the degenerates of society and attending mass every Sunday as a family, and will be known to have hits occur during baptisms as the ultimate display of moral untouchability:
You’re surrounded by a combination of blood relatives, and individuals officially accepted and wholly trusted by your crime family. You all hold sacred, and obey, the omertà, or code of silence, ensuring your family remains prosperous and unbothered by the law.
Cons: You’re surrounded by a combination of blood relatives who end up traitorous and individuals who should never have been trusted by your crime family. No longer does anyone hold sacred nor obey the omertà, and thus your family gets slammed by prosecutions. You were born too late for your own good. Either find a way to bring back the mid-20th century, or move to Sicily.
Many of us are better off sticking to our day jobs. After all, it beats having showering go from the best part of your day to the worst part of your day. But for those of us who do decide to “break bad,” I wish you the most luck that I can without legally becoming an accomplice. And if all goes to hell and your life has “turned to shit” on a Jesse Pinkman-scale one day soon, remember that at one point, you were living the dream! Though if you remember from the beginning of this column, apparently I’m a sociopath, and you’d be wise to go take this advice with a grain of salt.