What a circus the O. J. Simpson trial was.
I tried to attend the trial. I had the perfect plan. I made a side trip to Los Angeles on my way back to San Francisco from Washington, D.C., stayed at a downtown hotel so I would be close to courthouse, and took a taxi instead of my rent-a-car so I wouldn't waste time looking for the courthouse or a place to park.
That's when my best-laid plan fell apart.
I hopped in the taxi and said with considerable satisfaction, "take me to the O. J. Simpson trial."
The East European taxi driver didn't understand. "Simpson Avenue?" he said, consulting a book of L.A. street names.
"No, no -- the trial, the O J. Simpson trial.
Turns out he had never heard of O. J. Simpson, and had no idea that the city he was driving in was transfixed by the trial of the century.
"The courthouse", I said, to which he replied with a glimmer of recognition:
"Ah, the courthouse". Followed by, "Which one -- there are three courthouses."
I was panicking at this point. I think I told him the wrong courthouse. At any rate, at some point I asked him to just let me out of the taxi, and he did.
Eventually I found the courthouse. But I arrived too late for the daily draw for public seats.
So I watched the circus from outside.
It was a circus. Those fuzzy microphone covers on long poles. Reporters. On-lookers. Security.
"Here's Johnny!", someone shouted, and sure enough, up pulled Johnny Cochrane. He got out of the car he was riding in, went to the trunk, got his suit jacket and put it on. He looked very self-confident and pleased with himself.
A few minutes later Robert Shapiro arrived. He just got out of the car, suit jacket already on. He looked a bit frumpy compared with Johnny and didn't seem to be enjoying himself as much.
It was around the time of the "glove doesn't fit" debacle, to be followed shortly by the "you must acquit".
* * *
The same O. J. Simpson is in the news again today.
On Friday Las Vegas investigators questioned O.J. Simpson about a break-in at a casino hotel room involving sports memorabilia.
The good news, if you can call it that, is he has a book coming out called "If I Did It".
He can just add a supplementary chapter to cover the break-in.
And that's the way the Ball bounces.