If you think O. J. is guilty, press 1, then pound sign

June 17, 1994|By ROGER SIMON

"If you think O. J. is guilty and should fry for it, please press 1 followed by the pound sign," Bad Roger said. "If you think O. J. is guilty but Jackie McLean had something to do with it, please press 2 followed by the pound sign."

Bad Roger looked up from the telephone as Good Roger came in the door. Good Roger looked at him with disgust.

Good Roger is the decent, pure and upright side of me. Which may be why he is such a pill.

Bad Roger is the twisted, demented, and repulsive side of me. Which makes him a real hoot.

"If you think O. J. stabbed him but not her, please press 3 followed by the pound sign," Bad Roger said into the phone. "If you think O. J. stabbed him and her and wanted to off the dog, too, but had to catch a plane, please press 4 followed by the pound sign."

"What are you doing!" Good Roger yelled, taking off his tool belt. (Every afternoon, Good Roger spends several hours building low-cost housing for the poor.)

Bad Roger covered the phone receiver.

"It's my new 900-number," he said. "You dial 1-900-WEASEL and I make 50 cents off every call."

"You are making money by exploiting a man presumed to be innocent!" Good Roger said. "Isn't the press acting unspeakably enough without you joining in?"

"Good idea!" Bad Roger said and turned back to the phone. "If you think reporters are exploiting O. J. and they should be thrown into shark tanks live on 'Donahue,' please press 5 followed by the pound sign."

Good Roger sank into a chair. "This has been a media circus," he said. "Besides, I don't see how he could have done it. They say the murders were committed at 11 p.m. and he was on an airplane at 11:45 p.m. Nobody could get on a plane that fast."

"Are you kidding me?" Bad Roger said. "Have you ever seen O. J. run through an airport?"

Good Roger glanced at his watch and then turned on the television. He allows himself only 45 minutes of television each night. Just enough for the news and 15 minutes of "Star Search."

But Bad Roger grabbed the channel changer and switched to "Hard Copy."

"These are the only true journalists in the nation," Bad Roger said. "They are the only reporters who are not afraid to speak the truth. And I think they are going to show a wet T-shirt contest right after the O. J. segment."

"Hard Copy" came on with Susan Forward, a psychologist who had counseled O. J.'s ex-wife. Now, guided by the highest standards of her profession, Forward was going from TV show to TV show revealing the confidences of her former patient.

"He would say things to her like, 'If I can't have you, nobody can,' " Forward said. "And to the best of my recollection, she said he threatened to kill her many times."

Good Roger leapt to his feet. "Hearsay! Inadmissible!" he shouted. "This would never be allowed in a court of law!"

"This is not a court of law, but something far more irresponsible and important," Bad Roger said. "This is the court of public opinion."

The next person on the screen was some guy named Zeldes, who was a friend of the waiter who was murdered along with O. J.'s ex-wife.

"I asked him if he was sleeping with her point blank, and he denied it," Zeldes said.

"How do you sleep with someone point blank?" Good Roger asked.

"I think it's some new kind of safe sex," Bad Roger said.

Good Roger grabbed back the channel changer and switched to CNN, one of the most serious and responsible channels on TV.

And there was Judy Woodruff, one of the most serious and responsible reporters on TV, saying: "CNN goes live to O. J. Simpson's house!"

"Not CNN!" Good Roger moaned. "What have they come to?"

"They have come to bad ratings," Bad Roger said. "And they need either a war or sex to boost them. So unless North Korea starts lobbing nukes by sweeps week, they are going put Woodruff in a tank top and Bernie Shaw in bicycle pants."

Good Roger snapped off the TV.

"I am not going to watch another minute of this garbage," he

said. "I am going back to reading my book instead of dwelling on sex, murder, jealousy and revenge."

"What you reading?" Bad Roger asked.

"'Othello,' " Good Roger said.

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