Sometimes it might be fun to be on the other side of the law, just to hear what name the mafia bestows upon you.
I say this after reading that federal agents in New York recently arrested several alleged leaders of the Luchese Family, who are, you might remember, part of the family that are believed to have pulled off the infamous 1978 Lufthansa JFK Airport heist, successfully netting $6 million dollars, with the case remaining unresolved to this day. Very much a network of thugs, better known as the source of inspiration for one of my favorite films of all time, ‘Goodfellas.’
What?? Miss Anglophile? Miss ‘likes-to-cozy-up-in-bed-with-a-cup-of-tea and a worn copy of Jane Eyre, after watching an episode of ‘The Crown,’’ adores the gory, expletive-strewn saga of this notorious American crime family?
Well, kinda. Actually, yes. A lot. Because I’m also a comedian
And each time I watch Joe Pesci’s portrayal of Tommy DeVito, who, like a sinister Jack Russell (“You’re sayin’ I’m funny? You’re sayin’ I amuse you, is that what you’re saying’?), and is always a nanosecond away from savaging everyone’s ankles, I still find it hysterical, despite having seen it several times. Actually, the hardest I ever laughed was catching it a few months after it was released, on a flight to New York, when, to bring it to an appropriate airline PG rating, an overwhelmingly used curse word was replaced by ‘fudge.’
Particularly when used as an adverb.
Anyway, when I made my daily visit to the New York Department of Justice website (what’s the matter with that— you look at sport scores, I look at racketeering busts) and read that members of the Luchese family had been arrested, my eyes did a swift sweep of the names listed to see if I could figure out who any of them were, or to whom they might be related.
And that’s when the fun began.
With charges going back 17 years and ranging from murder to selling stolen cigarettes, the defendants were listed as suspected street boss, Matthew Madonna, aged 81, Steven Crea, Sr, also known as ‘Wonder Boy,’ and then a list of guys with a whole slew of nick names: ‘Paulie Roast Beef,’ ‘Joey Glasses,’ ‘Jimmy the Jew,’ (yeah, that one confused me, too) and ‘Spanish Carmine.’
There weren’t any photos, and I was trying to picture what Paulie Roast Beef and Joey Glasses looked like, along with wondering if their nicknames were indeed because of appearances, or that Paulie just loved a Sunday roast and Joey had an affinity for stemware.
They sound so much more exotic than our criminals in the Carolinas, who, invariably, are called, ‘Ricky,’ or ‘Vernon.’ Even my neighbors who have been busted for moonshine, were never nicknamed, ‘Joey Gizzards’ or
Paulie Pork Rind. Just their plain old Christian first name, followed by the surname that everyone recognizes as the best and most honest grading business around.
In the end, for the sake of self esteem, I suppose it’s better to mind your p’s and q’s and remain on the right side of the law. Because the moniker applied to you by the bad guys will stay with you for life. Not just on the street, but in your mug shot and even your obituary. How embarrassing.
And you can take that from Pammy Horse Teeth.
Reach PAM STONE at firstname.lastname@example.org.