With yesterday being Thanksgiving, it’s safe to say that all of us are approximately 2 1/2 pounds heavier. (And a few antacids lighter.) I’d say get on a scale, but between now and New Year’s it’s probably best to avoid scales.
On the most serious of notes, this past Tuesday marked the 48th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. (Indelibly imprinted by the famous Abraham Zapruder film.) My friend, the famed former prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, wrote a 1,200-page book insisting that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
Personally, I’m with comedian Mort Sahl, who said of the Warren Commission, “It’s on the New York Times bestseller list. For fiction.” (After defecting to Russia at the height of the Cold War, Oswald was welcomed back into the U.S. like a Saudi Prince and without so much as a debriefing? Give me a break.)
Tomorrow also marks (except for the most insane of sports fan) a less ominous anniversary, the annual UCLA vs. USC football game at the Coliseum. As a Bruin alum I’m exceedingly aware that in the last 12 years, UCLA has won once. Put it this way, the Bruins have about as much a chance of winning as Rick Santorum does of getting the GOP nomination.
Actually, the outcomes have been so one-sided lately that it’s hardly a rivalry. It’s reminiscent of when the cross-town series began in 1929. USC won 76-0. (And I’m told it wasn’t that close). Then in 1930 UCLA lost 56-0, which meant in two full games UCLA was only even twice, right before each kickoff.
Following these two “nail biters” the rivalry was canceled for six years on humane grounds. (For Bruin fans it was “cruel and unusual punishment.”) When the series resumed in 1936, the game ended in a 7-7 tie. (How I would dearly settle for that tomorrow.)
While the JFK mystery goes back 48 years, there’s a slightly less publicized mystery, until now, that involves the SC-UCLA football game. A mystery that goes back 50 years ago tomorrow. That game in 1961 ended with UCLA winning 10-7. (Apparently, miracles happen, albeit once every decade.)
The mystery in this case involves me and my best friend, who is a famed Beverly Hills divorce attorney and shall remain nameless for business purposes. (And no, it’s not Gloria Allred.) OK, his name is Lance.
At Hamilton High School in West Los Angeles, Lance and I were on the school newspaper, The Federalist (makes us sound like teenage Tea Partiers). I was the sports editor and Lance was one of my reporters. He is such a devout SC fan that he missed my wedding because it fell on the day of an SC football game. Curiously, my wife wasn’t mad at him, she was mad at me that I wasn’t mad at him. (If that makes any sense.)
But I digress from the 1961 mystery. The Monday after the SC-UCLA game, a certain person or persons (hence the possible conspiracy) took Lance’s notebook and wrote 10-7 on every single page. (If only Zapruder had been there, to film it!) As I tried to reason with Lance, I’m so lazy that after two or three pages, I’d have gotten bored.
But being an ardent Bruin fan, I was the prime suspect. Five decades later, despite my willingness to take a polygraph and submit to DNA testing (I’m assuming Lance still has the notebook) I’m still suspect numero uno.
While everyone remembers where they were when JFK died, only a handful recall the attack on Lance’s notebook. My hope is that one will now come forward. As it’s written at the entrance of the CIA building, “The truth shall set ye free.” (A bit ironic, given the countless lies the agency has propagated.)
There were two other reporters on my staff who had access to the notebook. Al Michaels, the legendary sports announcer who does Sunday Night Football, was one. With all due respect to Al, I don’t see him volunteering for a polygraph.
Steve Harvey, who wrote for the L.A. Times for nearly 40 years (and still freelances), was another of my reporters. And yet, in all these years, Steve has been curiously silent on the subject. The last “suspect” was Michael Goldman, who seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth. (Which seems pretty suspicious to me.)
Last year when I suffered a major heart attack, Lance rushed to see me at the hospital. As uplifting as his visit was, after he left, I couldn’t help but wonder if he had hoped for a deathbed confession.
Delusional as it is, I still hope UCLA wins tomorrow. (Hey, Santorum shows up at the debates.) I’d settle for someone coming forward regarding the notebook conspiracy and clearing my name. I can promise there’d be no recrimination. In fact, Lance might do your divorce at a discount.
If he isn’t too busy avoiding scales or rebroadcasts of the UCLA-SC football game, Jack can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.