Dog Day Dershowitz


summer 1








Years ago, I was working as an electrical apprentice. One day, I found myself in a basement doing some work for a home owner. The man also happened to be an artist who worked primarily in paint. As I went about my tasks, I took notice of the collection of his talent.

After my job was done, I spent a few moments chatting with the painter. I saw some of his work that caught my eye, and I inquired if any of his work was for sale. He asked me which pieces I liked. The man seemed to specialize in a theme centering around the Jewish Holocaust. I found one particulate painting I liked, and said “how about this one?” The print was somewhat eerie, and though I had grown up in an Irish Catholic household, I thought it pretty interesting. He definitely looked me over before he chose his words carefully; “do you know what this painting is?” Having noticed the majority of his work, I was quite sure it was a picture of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. I began to tell him that, until both of us seemed immediately horrified when the words “Sure, it’s Dershowitz” exploded out of my mouth. Obviously a slip of the tongue and freeze of the mind.

At that time in current events, Newport Rhode Island resident Claus von Bulow was on his second trial in Providence for attempted murder of his wealthy socialite wife, Sonny von Bulow. His lawyer was Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz who was in the national and international papers, and on the daily and nightly news constantly.

Til this day I can still recall his next words, but what I remember the most is the look on his face and his next actions. He said “Hey, let me show you some other things I’v done.” I’m not going to say they were the artistic equivalent of a green felt mural of “Dogs Playing Poker.” but it wasn’t far off; ten projects of various sports logos and stadiums. I guess I was deemed not worthy of his art; a “charge” I would never levy against my readers.

I’ve thought about this many times over the years and laughed; what else is there to do. I also thought of some single acts that people never seem to overcome, shake off, or worse, people won’t forgive or forget. Sure, there are plenty of examples in the movies, but we don’t have to look that far. How about Red Sox, First Basemen Bill Buckner letting the ball go through his legs at the World Series, or Vice President Dan Quayle misspelling potato, or the time each of us ate that 3rd hot dog at the picnic. History is littered with single actions that started out as mistakes, and wound up as positive leaps of evolution in science and humanity. Those mistake escaped the harsh criticism.  Looking back, on the surface, things seemed to work out; kind of. Buckner got a long standing ovation on opening day to start the next season. Dan Quayle WAS the Vice President of the United States; probably a better overall speller than me, and the 3rd hot dog? Nope, just me being a moron. No excuse for that.

If the expression, “second times a charm.” is true, I guess Claus (almost just added and e…for real) von Bulow would know best. Alan Auschwitz…er, ah I mean Dershowitz  got him acquitted of attempted murder at his second trial.

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