I'm about to watch the very last episode of The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and I'm kind of dreading it. Not just because (spoiler alert!) the verdict is already known, but also because damn was this a riveting show. It's got John Travolta and his eyebrows. It's got Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. playing O.J. himself. It's got Ross from Friends playing a Kardashian.
You simply couldn't have made this stuff up. It's all too bizarre. The most publicized trial ever, the most high-profile murder defendant ever, the famous attorneys, the corrupt police detective, the Bronco chase, the gloves, Kato Kaelin, the dismissed jurors, the Hollywood connections...all leading up to the morning of October 3rd, 1995.
I remember that morning. I was a freshman in High School. We'd moved to the U.S. less than two months before. Living in Switzerland in June 1994, I hadn't been aware of the murders when they happened. I knew O.J. only as Detective Nordberg from my beloved Naked Gun movies, without realizing he'd been a famous football star even before that.
I was sitting in Algebra I class. The teacher paused the class and turned the TV on in time for us to watch the verdict: "Not guilty."
I remember the teacher turned to us and asked, "do you think O.J. got off because he's O.J.?" I don't remember if anyone answered.
It's more than 20 years later now, and I feel strange writing about this as a Happy Moment in any way. It's highly entertaining, sure, but two innocent people died, and countless lives were ruined.
Maybe the Happy Moment for me is just to remember that moment in math class so long ago, a shy kid new to the country, who hadn't followed the trial and who still believed in innocence.
With that in mind, time to hit the Play button.