Jon de Vos: A killer investment
Fraser, CO Colorado
Since June 17, 1994, I’ve been depending upon O. J. Simpson for my retirement. That was the day Al Cowlings drove O. J. in a Ford Bronco at 30 mph down California’s Interstate 405 with 30 squad cars in tepid pursuit. O. J. was holding a gun to his own head in a desperate attempt to avenge the murders of his ex-wife and her boyfriend.
That slow, white Bronco gave me visions of wealth, while giving America a slew of John Elway jokes. Today, even though he’s currently spending 33 years as Nevada’s guest at the Lovelock Correctional Center, I need O. J. to perform better than he ever did on the gridiron. Here’s how it happened:
My wife and I were vacationing in Virginia Beach on the opposite coast from O. J.’s high jinks. Because Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet, we had picked the Founder’s Inn from the Chamber of Commerce puffery that we’d ordered through the mail. Imagine my surprise to look over the check-in desk to see a big picture of an unsmiling Pat Robertson. Yup, that Pat Robertson, the one from the 700 Club. As surprised as this practicing pagan was, imagine my wife’s horror to discover we were in a hotel with six chapels and no bar.
I was driving through town when the shocking news about O. J.’s lethargic parade was just breaking. I’d stopped for a traffic light, looked up and saw a specialty store selling sports cards. It was like the Lord, speaking through Pat Robertson, had guided me there. I walked right in, smiled at the clerk and smiled wider when I realized the store was filled with Muzak. He hadn’t heard.
“Got any O. J.?” I asked, trying not to look like a crocodile. We dickered for a bit and I walked out with two mint condition cards, O. J.’s 1969 rookie card and his 1970 card, the first two years he spent with the Buffalo Bills. I paid eighty dollars for the two of them. I felt as guilty as a personal injury lawyer tip-toeing through the emergency ward.
Later, as the O.J. murder trial drug on, I was cheered by the secret knowledge of my killer purchase. The cards sat in my safety deposit box, my eighty bucks doubling, tripling, then quadrupling again. In my mind’s eye, the cards got larger and heavier, resembling sports cards no more, but rather golden bullion gleaming in the dark.
The other day I wanted to ascertain their exact value so I called Denver Sports Cards, described my holdings and asked what they were worth. “Well,” the guy said, “they really aren’t worth anything.”
“No, no,” I chuckled at his ignorance, “You know, O.J. Simpson, his rookie card, Buffalo Bills, mint condition?”
“I heard you,” he said. “They were worth quite a bit early on, but since the murder trial and the Las Vegas armed robbery, we can’t even give them away.” A mental scene of Bikini-clad French women frolicking with me on the Riviera receded as his words sunk in.
“But, but . . . why?” I said with a whine.
His answer shocked me, “Because he’s a (f-bomb) murderer!”
In my heart it was 1929. My personal stock market had crashed. How could I face my friends? My family? My dogs? The chauffeur I was about to hire? I went to the window, slowly opened it and looked down. “No!” I shouted. Leaping was the coward’s way out.
Besides, I was on the ground floor.
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