There is a scene near the end of My Cousin Vinny that recently drew uncanny comparison to real live events, so much so that I thought I’d been planted smack dab in the movie set courtroom, with an awkward Joe Pesci fumbling over his defense and the late Fred Gwynne threatening to hold him in contempt. And if you haven’t seen My Cousin Vinny, you are from neither the North nor the South but rather from another planet. Bump it up in your queue immediately before we can proceed with our friendship.
My Cousin Vinny is a well-scripted, well-acted spoof of what happens when Northerners visit a Southern town, all the while exposing and exaggerating, only slightly, the cultural differences between them.
There’s a scene near the climax of the film where Joe Pesci’s character, a fledgling attorney for whom it took six times to pass the bar exam, is trying to free his clients from a crime they didn’t commit. Upon realizing he’d cracked the case, he asks his star witness (and fiancée), played by Marisa Tomei (who won an Oscar for this role), whether it was possible for “two metallic mint green 1964 Buick Skylark convertibles” to leave the scene of the crime minutes apart from one another.
His defense was based on the unlikely occurrence that eyewitnesses testifying against his clients had confused two different, metallic mint green cars, one containing the wrongly accused and one driven by the actual criminals. Of course, the odds of such an event happening were inconceivable. That’s what Doctor Milhouse thought, until it happened to him in person.
My good friend, Milhouse, ironically an attorney but one who does not wear a tuxedo into the courthouse unless specifically asked, has an inexplicable affinity for metallic mint green SUVs. They’re not 1964 convertible Buick skylarks but they are a color green that is hard to miss from the road, one would think.
Milhouse recently bought a new one. As of the end of the year, it only had 500 miles on it. It still had that new car smell.
The reason he had to buy a new one is because his old one got totaled. He wasn’t driving it, and everyone is safe. His last one, against most odds, was smashed into while parked on the street right in front of his household.
Innocently parked in front of his Ybor City abode, right at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic hit, before Kobe Bryant died tragically in a helicopter crash, before his house got broken into, before he had other personal family issues, his metallic mint green SUV was driven into at a high speed by an automobile driving down the road at six in the morning. He woke to a crash and knew immediately something was wrong. His poor baby had been demolished. As if he wasn’t having a bad enough year with all the other drama in his life, and a pandemic right around the corner, he now had to figure out who was going to pay for the damage and what he was going to drive next.
That’s when, after he had saved up enough money, some 22 months later, he bought, yes, another metallic mint green SUV. I told you, it’s his thing. Well, it might not be anymore because no one before in the history of parked cars has hit a parlay of this magnitude.
You see, the other morning, his brand-new, metallic mint green, Hyundai SUV, in all its glory, was parked outside his house when, just like the old one when, wouldn’t you guess it… BAM! Another driver, this time with the defense of having (unsuccessfully) worked on his power steering, lost control of his car and smashed into the side of Milhouse’s brand new wheels. It was all he could do but cry.
These are the times you want to say something supportive to a friend like “It’s going to be okay” or “these are only material possessions” to put things in their proper perspective but you only sound like an idiot when doing so. He’s explicably angry and questioning God’s plan and there’s nothing you can say or do to make it any better. Within two years, Milhouse has had two brand new vehicles that he loved, parked outside his house only to have them both leveled by random drivers. At least if he had tipped back a few scotches and driven into a telephone poll, he’d have himself and Johnny Walker to blame. But having his car rammed into twice so inexplicably? I ask you, what are the odds?
Milhouse and I love to bet underdogs. In fact, there’s very few we’ve seen we haven’t played in some way, shape or form. To give you some idea of the silly stabs we take, we had a $2 four-teamer on the Jags, Falcons, Jets and Ravens the other day that would have paid around 87,000:1. We do that sort of thing with the hopes of an early retirement.
But betting on two different metallic mint green SUVs to be sideswiped while parked outside his house, bookending 2020 and 2021, two of the shittiest years in our great nation’s history? The odds of that happening must be about the same as two different family members buying each other the same exact gifts for Christmas… but that’s a story for another time.