Good afternoon gentlemen and all you lovely ladies. I would like to begin our time today by thanking you. Thank you for not pre-judging me by my appearance. I know that I am a squatty, no-neck, square of a man. My nose is too big and my forehead is too large, and I’m too stocky to be anything other than a plus-sized model. No one’s putting me on a Wheaties box anytime soon, am I right? My accent is too thick and often leads me to be stereotyped, but only by people less fair and wise than yourselves. I know all of my shortcomings. I wake up to them every morning. Can you imagine? Waking up to this in the mirror. It’ll make you crap your pants. Anyways, I’m under no preconceived notion that you will be charmed by my appearance.
So thank you. Thank you for being honest, decent people without a prejudiced bone amongst you. Thank you for hearing me out with no preconceived notion based on my appearance or upbringing. As my Uncle Joey would say, “You’s are clearly good peoples worth breaking out the expensive china for.” Am I right? Oh, I’m right. And thank you.
Now, there are some in this room, some who like to sit on high horses of judgment, some who aren’t as wise and fair as you, some who would have you believe terrible things about me. They want to convince you that I am scum, that I would steal from decent people like yourselves, that I am a boogie-man lurking in the closest, waiting for you to go to sleep so I can take everything you own and slip away in the night. These judgmental, unkind, uncultured people want to convince you of horrible things about me. Horrible, untrue things.
But I mean, come on. Look at me. Can you imagine my fat ass hiding in a closet? I can’t even fit in your closet.
And do I look fast enough to steal anything? Do I look like the type of person who can stay in the shadows? No. Of course not. It’s preposterous. Look at these meaty hands. Look at ‘em. Do these hands look like they could steal anything? No. Completely preposterous. These hands are good for two things: rolling meatballs for my wife to cook, and pushing paint up on walls. That’s it. That’s all I’m good for. Slapping on paint and beating on raw meat.
So we can all agree that these are not the hands of a thief. Am I right? I mean, come on, do I look like a master criminal capable of defrauding the city of … What did they say? Something like seven million dollars?
Do I look like a man who’s got seven million dollars? Is this a seven million dollar suit? Is this a seven million dollar haircut? Do these look like seven million dollar shoes? No. Of course not.
So thank you. Thank you for being so kind and wise. Thank you for not pre-judging me. And thank you for not believing the lies that are being spread, tarnishing my good name.
Do you know why they’ve accused me of these horrible crimes? Do you know why these foolish, ignorant, pathetic, bottom-dwelling, muck-sucking dirtbags have dragged me here to say terrible things about me?
Because they’re jealous.
That’s right. They’re jealous.
Jealous of me.
“Why, Sammy?” you ask. “Why would they be jealous of a simple, hardworking, kind-to-animals, all-around nice guy like you?”
Why would anyone be jealous of stocky, ugly me? I’ll tell you. They’re jealous because I’m the one who’s living the American dream. I’m the one who started with nothing and has pulled myself up by my leg hair.
“Leg hair? Don’t you mean bootstraps?” you ask — because you are wise and ask good questions. Nothing gets past you.
I did not mean bootstraps. I meant leg hair because I was too poor for boots. I couldn’t afford boots, so I didn’t have bootstraps. We were so poor in my neighborhood, we were makin’ shoes out of duct tape.
Speaking of boots. You know who can afford boots? I’ll tell you who. The rich, jealous, falsely-accusing, judgmental bastards who’ve been spreading these nasty lies about me, that’s who.
See, I earned everything I have through my own personal genius. I earned it with these hands right here. These hard working, salt-of-the-earth, never-hurt-a-fly, loves-to-pet-dogs hands. And they hate me for it. They hate me because they don’t believe that people like you and me should be allowed to make it big in life. They think good meaning, hardworking people like us should stay down in the dregs where we belong. But I say it’s time we tell them “no.” It’s time we tell them that success is not a crime. Success is our right. Success is ours to take.
Now, you’ve already heard their lies and baseless accusations. And you’ve seen that they haven’t presented one shred of real evidence, only hearsay and lies.
So allow me, please, allow me to give you the truth. Then you will see what a travesty these incredible accusations are.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, this all started thirty-five years ago with my little sis, Antonia. So little, so sweet, so innocent — Toni. And wicked smart. I mean, so much smarter than my knuckle-head brother and me. She was like ten times — no, no, like a thousand times smarter than us. I’ll let you in on a family story. It’s a story we tell each other all the time. You see, she had this one trick. When she was like seven or eight? She was just a little thing with pig-tails in this cute little blue dress. It was the only dress my parents could afford, on account of us being so poor and all. But there she was, in her little blue dress with her pig-tails, and my dad would have all these men over for poker night. They’d all be in a circle, laughing, and smoking these big cigars. I mean, not the good ones. Because we were so poor. But still big. And the room would be full of smoke. And so little Toni would come in and look at the pile of chips on the table, and she could tell you exactly how much was in the pot in seconds. Wow! Am I right? Wicked smart. Right? She didn’t even need to touch ‘em. She’d just be like — BAM! And we’d all just stand there amazed.
So little Toni was invited to go to this special school for super-smart kids. Not like the school of no hope and no opportunity my brother and I went to. No. This was a school where people made it. A school where they taught you how to make your own boot straps. And we were so proud. My ma was crying when the scholarship letter came in the mail. My beautiful mother cried for three weeks. Three full weeks. Wow. Am I right?
But there was a problem. See, little Toni with her pig-tails and her blue dress had the tuition paid, but she had to buy her own books. To go to the school for wicked smart kids, she had to purchase her own books. But my parents didn’t have it. They had nothing. We couldn’t buy food, much less books and stuff. And then my ma started crying again. But this time the tears were tears of pain, not tears of happiness.
Now you tell me, is that fair? Is it fair that my wicked-smart, beautiful, innocent little sister in her blue dress doesn’t get to go to school because she ain’t got no books? No. It’s not fair.
So what would you do? Would you let your wonderful, compassionate, loving mother cry? Could you just watch her cry, on and on, every day? Could you watch your mother’s heart be crushed by the weight of injustice? No. You could not. Because we are good and decent people who must do something when we see injustice happen. We can’t just let our moms cry over some books.
I had to act, as any of you would. And so I went down the street to Mr. Capelli’s hardware store. And I took a can of spray paint. And I wrote … Well, let’s just say I wrote some unkind words on the brick wall of his shop. I wasn’t proud of these words. They’re not words I feel I should say in this room, in front of you lovely ladies. But I had to write them, because my ma was crying and my sweet little sister in her little blue dress needed books.
Now here comes my own personal stroke of genius. You ready? So after I wrote the words, I went running into the hardware store, and I grabbed old Mr. Capelli, and I showed him. And he was devastated, because who wants words like that on their store? I mean, this was a family neighborhood, with kids all about.
But that is when I became a hero because I tell Mr. Capelli, “Don’t worry, sir. For the small, tiny, miniscule cost of my sister’s books, I will clean those horrible words off your wall.”
Supply. Demand. I controlled both. For my sister’s books. And for my crying mother.
So I worked hard. I repainted that entire wall. With my own hands. It took me all day. And in the end, everyone was happy. Little Toni in her little blue dress with her pigtails had new books. My wonderful mother didn’t have to cry anymore. And Mr. Capelli had a beautiful, newly painted wall. And you would have done the same because you are also good and heroic people.
Now, I don’t want you to think I started doing this all the time. I mean, I could have. I could have started my business then. But I didn’t. Instead, I went back to working hard in my dead-end school and trying to make it according to the rules of the system. I didn’t exercise my super genius again until that time with Becky Demarco.
And let me tell you about Becky Demarco. I mean, Becky was … If you could’ve seen her. Damn. Excuse my language, but damn is the only word I can think of to describe Ms. Becky Demarco because she had this rack. I mean, it was a rack no heterosexual, fifteen-year-old male wouldn’t revere.
So Becky with the great rack was a junior, and my brother Tony was freshman, and I was in fifth grade. And Becky comes to my brother, who was nothing to nobody. And she asks Tony to take her to the junior prom. The junior prom? A freshman, taking that rack to the junior prom? It’s crazy.
So Tony comes to my dad and says, “Yo pops, I got to get a suit so I can take Becky to the prom.”
And now, my dad, he wanted to help, but again, as I said, we were poor. My dad didn’t have the money. But he realized this was such an amazing opportunity for my brother. A once in a lifetime opportunity. So it was with great pain that he says to my brother, “I’m sorry, son. We ain’t got nothin’ for a suit.”
Can you imagine your father having to say that to your brother? A travesty. A painful, injustice that had to be remedied.
So off I go, back to Mr. Capelli’s store, with the tools I need to change the fates of others for the better in my hands. Whip, wham — words go up, Mr. Capelli needs someone to take them down, and my brother has a new suit so he can take Becky’s rack to the junior prom.
Does that sound like a crime to you? Of course not. It’s not something someone should be brought before a court for. It’s heroic. This city should be giving me a damn medal. I should get a statue. Not put on trial. I should be getting a commendation. A huge commendation.
Anyways, I digress. You are patient people. Thank you.
Now, fast-forward some years, and you tell me, is it my fault that the city came to me to help them with their graffiti problem? No. It is not. I didn’t force them to come to me. They haven’t and can’t prove that I did.
All I did was offer a service. Nasty words go up in family neighborhoods, and my crews take them down. I’m a public servant. I’m a champion of family values. I’m keeping our city safe for kids to run and play without seeing nasty words everywhere. I’m like a superhero, and my super power is taking nasty words off walls. This city should be thanking me. They should be giving me a damn statue.
These words. These words that have been thrust upon me. Fraud. Crook. Embezzler. These are the words of jealous men. Jealous because little, sweet girls like my sis Toni, with her blue dress, should not be going to nice schools where people are given bootstraps and allowed to make something of themselves. Jealous because bright, hard-working knuckle-heads like my brother Anthony shouldn’t be taking the Becky Demarcos of the world to prom. Jealous because thick necked, big nosed, blue-collar men like me shouldn’t be allowed to be successful. Jealous because men like me shouldn’t be allowed to have seven million dollars, or whatever the number was they’ve made up.
Therefore and in conclusion, when you go back in that chamber to deliberate, you remember my little sister Toni in her blue dress. You remember my brother whose only desire in the world was taking Becky Demarco’s rack to prom. You remember Mr. Capellli’s nice, new, clean wall. And you do the right thing, the decent thing, the only thing you can do with an honest conscience, with integrity.
You go back in that room and you tell these jealous jackals that they cannot put the little man in his place. You tell them that we will not be pushed around. You tell them that heroes exist, that they are real, and that sometime their superpower is painting walls. You tell them that we won’t take their privileged, uncalloused hands pushing down the backs of our necks any longer. You tell them all of this by delivering a verdict of not guilty on all charges.
On all charges.
You know I’m right.
Thank you again. I rest my case.