I thought you were innocent until proven guilty? I also thought friends were supposed to be like condoms: Protect you when things get hard…

It’s not only my lawyer who considers my whole life-style a crime in progress. So, apparently, do some of my erstwhile friends. But that doesn’t mean I have ever been guilty of anything – in court, or out of court. Or ever done anything worth prosecuting.

Ever!

And it shouldn’t matter whatever my future ex-wife lodged thru her lawyers — lawyers I was paying for.

Her charges were dismissed by family court; even withdrawn by an inept Philadelphia DA’s office. And especially that meshugenah ADA Kate Thurston when she had to admit my future-ex Stephanie Blatt was a tad psychologically challenged. That is, even before Miss Stephanie took an hour to cook minute rice.

However, the court where charges seem to forever linger is the court of public opinion – that is friends and relatives who thought they knew me well but finally believed they found a reason to more than suspect I must be crazy – or at least guilty of something more than body painting some of their bodacious wives.

But then when all the charges were dropped because of Miss Stephanie’s mendacities, prevarications and downright canards, my ex-friends didn’t know how to save their flabbergasted faces.

They didn’t know where to park their emotional toothache. That is, to be: mad at me because for years I had sought their help for  Miss Stephanie’s foot-in-mouth disease; mad at Stephanie for making them mad at me, or, the third possibility, mad at their stupid selves – because in this country we seem to forget that a person is innocent until “proven” guilty. No matter what the prosecutor alleges.

Gee, I thought friends were supposed to be like condoms: they protect you when things get hard.

Instead, what I discovered is that when you are down and out what often turns up is their noses.

Hmm…And here I thought friendship was non-negotiable. Now I know: A real friend walks in when the rest of the world walks out.

This innocent until “proven” guilty has come to mind of late with numerous newspaper splashes of yet to be tried cases.

There is the national cause célèbre case of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky who we have crucified and made part of our lexicon for deviant activity.

He may be found guilty. Then again, he may only be found guilty of stupidity — in our overly political correct mania, of snapping towels in the shower with young boys.

Then there are all the priests who haven’t had their day in court. I know that some priests are stupid perverts, just like some policemen and lawyers and doctors and engineers and unemployed housewives. But, except for Pope Pius XII, many priests do good work.

Furthermore, there is Junior, the 29-year-old son of Philadelphia Congressman Chakah Fattah, He has been “visited” by a bunch of government boys carting out boxes of information and records.

Now Junior may be living well over his head and written some schizophrenic checks, and maybe ventured too deeply into the murky cesspool where venal lobbyists dwell, but that doesn’t make him a bad guy…yet.

In other words, just because he may look like a stupid idiot and act like a stupid idiot, don’t let that fool you, he may well be nothing more than an idiot.

What is most disturbing about these and many other voluble cases is they demonstrate that the only thing faster than the speed of light is gossip. And gossip churns the roiled waters of public opinion.

Now I have to admit that gossip is just as often true as it is untrue. And there are some people who will believe just about anything if you whisper it to them. But I guess what I am saying is the reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.

We readily believe what the government – local, state and national – tells us, as if they have never lied or misled us.

As if they don’t have vendettas. Or personal agendas. As if we don’t have congressmen who got rich off insider trading. As if there aren’t politicians who entered office wearing off-the-rack Sears & Roebuck suits only to leave office in Armani’s and Hermes ties.

In other words, it may be true you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.

When you have a bunch of rabid Boy Scouts in government who want to get you, they will – eventually. They have bottomless capital and financial resources – namely our tax dollars. They have more manpower, and they have more means than the entire Iranian army.

To fight against such odds you’ll need OJ’s defense team. And Bill Gates’ version 6 of Deep Pockets. But obviously sometimes it happens: DNAs and “uncovered evidence” and contradicted testimony has negated and overturned the prosecution’s case.

But do we ever get to the truth?

Which truth are we talking about? Whose truth? We are all sinners. We are all guilty of something.

Look, just because 50,000 people say something, that doesn’t make it so. Heck, if something happens before our eyes we don’t know, for the most part, if it is a crime or an accident.

I have been accused – wrongfully. That is not to say I am totally innocent. But I know what it is like to be wrongfully accused. I know what it is like to live an unorthodox life style that perhaps invites questions.

I also know what it is to be misjudged by friends who now seem odd, and the women I have oddly wedded. I know how tongues cluck. And more than most I know what can happen when a disturbed future-ex-wife overworks the telephones and e-mail lines.

It all provides you insight: that you may stop the invasion of an army, but there is no way to stop the invasion of treachery.

Alas, a man’s friendships, like his will, are invalidated by his marriage. That’s both in and out of the court of public opinion.

And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony…

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