What's crackin' friends?
I didn't post after Tuesday of last week, 'cause frankly I had no time. The convention I was attending was a whirlwind of activity from early morning to late evening. And by the time I made it back to my hotel each night the last thing I wanted to do was pay the Hyatt $20 a day for Web access, so I could log onto the Internet for 30 minutes.
At any rate, I hope you guys had a good last week and a good start to this one.
So on to business. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know that I'm a huge fan of true crime stories. Part of that comes from my twisted sense of curiosity, and part comes from my years as a crime reporter, getting to see some of the grime up close.
Anyway, one of the best non-journalistic works of true crime I've ever seen is the documentary Cocaine Cowboys.
If you're not familiar with it, it is the true story of dozens of random people involved in Miami's legendary coke trade back in the early 1980s. No worries. I'd argue that the documentary doesn't celebrate the criminal life, as much as it peels back the layers and engages the "everyday people" who made it happen, the people whose actions inspired the TV show Miami Vice. Go to YouTube.com, and you can find snippets of Cocaine Cowboys. Every so often, someone will put the entire documentary on that site. But I don't condone intellectual content theft, so if you want to see more than the snippets, I encourage you to go buy the DVD.
So today, Cocaine Cowboys II is out.
And I'll tell you what fascinates me: half the people featured in these documentaries are "normal."
I mean they don't fit any of the stereotypes most of us have built up in our heads of what a coke trafficker looks like or acts like when he's not doing "business."
I was stunned the first time I watched part one at the people who could have been any suburbanites anywhere in this country, who matter-of-factly described how they helped move millions of dollars worth of cocaine from point A to point B.
And after a while I drew the conclusion that the only anomaly in play in this documentary was that these were perfectly "normal" people who simply decided that they had a price. And their price had been quoted. And at that point they switched off whatever moral and ethical gages they normally lived by, reasoning, apparently, that with enough money even a conscience can be scrubbed clean.
I've always said I don't have a price. When I was in college, every so often on 10 cent wing night at Friar Tuck's Tavern, someone would pose the question: What would you do for a million dollars?
Would you deal coke? Would you use your personal vehicles to ship large quantities of it? If you're straight, would you engage in a homosexual act? If you're gay, could you force yourself to do the deed with someone of the opposite sex? Would you spend a week naked, walking to all your classes wearing not a thread of fabric? Would you eat poo? Would you allow your twig and/or berries to be lopped off?
Yeah, I know the questions range from the silly to the gross. But you know how these games go.
Anyway, maybe I was a prude, or maybe I was in denial, but I was always the one who insisted that I didn't have a price, that I was the unfortunate victim of too much pride.
I'm not so sure about that these days. If someone asked me to do something really stupid for a million? Well, as long as it wasn't something that could get me locked up, I might give it serious consideration. A million bucks isn't much in the grand scheme, but it's something to smile about in this economy.
What about you? Do you have a price?