A couple of my initial reactions to ex-con Gary Cole (#garyfromchicago), his fiance Vickie Vines and the six or seven other tourists whom Jimmy Kimmel steered into the Oscar telecast on Sunday night are roughly the same ones I’m feeling now. Plus I have a question or two about Gary’s prison term and his attorney, the Los Angeles-residing guitarist, recording artist and performer Karen Nash.
One, the inability of Gary and the tourists to absorb the immediacy and totality of the moment without taking cell-phone videos was pathetic. The instant I saw these guys with their phones and their shuffling gait and glazed-eye expressions, I muttered to myself, “Jesus, these aren’t people — they’re tools holding phone cameras.”
Two, Gary’s response to Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel‘s explanation that he didn’t need to capture the event on his iPhone because it was being captured by regular video — “But I want to! I want to!” — told us he’s no Rhodes scholar. And that black hoodie sweatshirt, the baseball cap and the baggy-ass shorts…c’mon!
Three, are you going to tell me that Ryan Gosling, Mahershala Ali, Denzel Washington or Meryl Streep wouldn’t bolt in the opposite direction if they happened to run into Gary and Vickie on the street? I would, I can tell you, because Gary and Vickie are just the types to come up and say “yo…you him, right? That guy in Pulp Fiction…you know, that scene with the watch?”
Four, the backstory about Gary’s 20-year incarceration is a little shaky. Nancy Dillon‘s 2.28 N.Y. Daily News story says he “served 20 years for multiple felonies” but a post on Nash’s Facebook page says Gary “got a life sentence for stealing perfume in 1997.” Plus she spells his fiance’s name “Vicky” while Dillon spells it “Vickie.” Get it straight!
Five, Nash says that she “worked for years” to win Gary’s release, but her Facebook page is all about music, recording, playing gigs, etc. Not a word about her legal degree or practice in the “About” section. The photo on her Facebook page shows her performing in front of a fair-sized crowd.
And six, it’s great that Gary found religion in jail and turned his life around. Who doesn’t believe in at least the idea of redemption? I sure as hell do, having been saved or pardoned more than a few times by luck or circumstance or my decision to eliminate vodka in ’96 and/or embrace sobriety in March 2012 (which reminds me that my five-year anniversary will be here in just over 20 days). May Gary and Vickie find a semblance of happiness together, and may they learn to appreciate the glory and beauty of life without having to capture it on their fucking cell phones.