Common sense simply dictates that Billy Clyde has a lot of really important insight to share as Texans anxiously enter the final week for the Governor to sign/veto/file without signature those 1,400 or so bills that await his action.
Well .. nah. Not so much.
So I’m gonna delve into the apparently one and only area about which Americans give two hoots and a holler – yes, Ms. Paris Hilton. But it will be from an historic, analytic point of view based on the one subject in the whole world that BC has exhaustive expertise: The Tribulations and Trials Of Mr. Orenthal James Simpson.
First, a little background.
It was June of 1994. Life was good. BC spent most of his days writing position papers and news releases and getting yelled at on behalf of the Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock Re-Election Campaign. Sure, Mr. Bullock could be a tad, uh, mercurial from time to time. But the man had a great heart and really wanted to do right. Plus, the folks in the office – Tony, Steve, Susan, Stephen, Chuck, Lissa, Liza, DeDe, Barbara, et al – were simply joys to be around. Quality with a Big Q.
Of course, having an opponent who could not even properly drool helped. Having millions of dollars to our opponent’s hundreds also made life pleasant. And the consultants – Matthew, Mark, Jack, and David – didn’t come around enough to mess things up.
Well, in the middle of all this perfectness, I found myself taking off one afternoon to give a speech in San Antonio on a totally different matter. BC finished and started the trek north on your I-35 Interstate road. Every single radio station was carrying the same story: O.J. Simpson (they thought) was engaged in a slow-speed pursuit by the LAPD, LA County Sheriff’s Department, the Highway Patrol, the FBI, the CIA, the NSC, and for all I know, ODB and NWA.
So I punched it. Must get to Austin immediately. Back to campaign headquarters. Where we had just spent an obscene sum on a GIANT big screen teevee that we needed to watch the Tonya Harding wedding night sex tape (true story).
Can’t really put my finger on what makes a 20-mile-per-hour chase of a White Bronco that may or may not contain a former Heisman Trophy winner who may have kilt his former wife and her favorite waiter so interesting ... but hey, you watched it, too. About five o’clock, one of the gals in the office reminded me that she had set up a blind date for me that evening and perhaps I should go home and meet her there when she arrived in a hour or two. Thank God for good staff work.
But when I got home, I couldn’t get out of my suit or take a shower or fix a drink or go to the bathroom ... because the chase was on. About 7, the girl (we’ll call her Cassie, cuz that’s her name) showed up and we exchanged pleasantries and she noticed that I had the O.J. Show on and wanted to watch and I said “by all mean” and she was as interested in it as me. A women after my own heart. After the Bronco arrived at Rockingham and the drama got hot there, I sheepishly asked: “Do you want to just order in?” She responded: “I wanted to suggest that, but I figured you’d think I was weird. Hell yeah let’s order in!”
From that bizarre day when seemingly normal people were transfixed on a surreal truck chase to the end of the trial two years later ... the O.J. Simpson trial changed and shaped my life in strange ways. Consider:
*On Easter Sunday 1998, I spent the morning not in church praising the resurrection of my personal savior the Son of God. Nope. Me and Rebecca and Jim Pease were in the fashionable Brentwood area of west L.A. at the Rockingham address taking pictures (I’m looking for them). We also took pictures of me standing on the sidewalk of the Bundy location – just feet from where the actual (alleged) murders took place.
*I took the day off – and encouraged others to join me – twice during that long trial. Man, am I ever prescient. The first was the day when F. Lee Bailey got Mark Furman to admit that he was a liar. The second was the day when Marcia Clark and Chris Darden let The Juice try on the glove (“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”). I also skipped a lovely Paggi House lunch to go home and catch up on Court TV the EXACT DAY when Dr. Henry Lee proclaimed: “Something not right. Very very wrong.”
*The day the verdict came down, I was on a golf trip with an unnamed lobbyist (Joey Bennett) at the Waterwood Resort in Polk County. As you’ll recall, the jury informed the court the day before that it had reached a verdict. Judge Lance Ito, however, was not willing to let go. He said the verdict would be announced at ten a.m. (noon Texas time, unless you live in El Paso) and so we played golf that morning until about 9:45, at which point we put the cart in high gear and got back to the cabana. NOT GUILTY! HIGH FIVE! NOT GUILTY! HIGH FIVE! Then we played another 27 or so holes of golf. Frankly, it was kind of a letdown. Over. Done. Finished. The End of an Era. Although I’m still more than a little intrigued how the golf course maintenance workers – way out on the 6th hole in the middle of nowhere – knew the verdict so quickly.
Billy Clyde is a big fan of the City of Angels. But let’s get real. If the fine folks in Los Angeles are willing to flood the streets for a glimpse of a no-talent skank who’s in the hoosegow for having a suspend driver’s license – then the memory and sanctity of the O.J. Trial and its greatness is besmirched, if not completed ruined. People, let’s keep our L.A. star crime scandals dignified. Please.
If I may be so bold as to paraphrase former Hidalgo County Judge Lloyd Bentsen Jr.: “Paris, I knew O.J. Simpson. O.J. Simpson was a friend of mine. Ma’am, you’re no O.J. Simpson!”