Ever since I saw the Godfather, I’ve been obsessed with mobster culture. Their likes. Their dislikes. Their mannerisms and dress. Now, as I’m accessorizing my ’06 Escalade, I can’t help but wonder: what would Sonny buy? The Husky Liners or the Weathertech Floor Liners? It took some serious consideration, but I think I made the right choice.
When people ask me how I first became interested in the Cosa Nostra, I can pinpoint the exact moment. It was August 11th, a muggy Sunday afternoon with no games on TV. HBO was running a recap of Saturday night’s big premier, What Women Want, so I treated the pay channel like it had crabs and avoided it. Then, a magical moment happened, and I’m talking very, very magical—like Moses parting the Red Sea or Lazarus creeping back out of the grave magical. Here’s what happened: I stumbled across The Godfather playing on TBS. Now, to some people, this would hardly constitute a defining moment in one’s life, but I was forever changed by the experience. You see, I had never seen The Godfather before. Even though I’m no spring chicken, I had never run across this film. Sure, I’d heard people talking about it at parties, and Bruce Vilanch couldn’t write an awards ceremony script without dropping scene references like he drops Twinkies. But, for the first (and certainly not the last) time, on that Sunday afternoon, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a made man.
Because I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, I knew practically nothing about The Black Hand. So I sat down and started to do some research using the one source I knew I could rely on: Hollywood. I took a trip to Blockbuster and came home with a mountain of flicks. Goodfellas, White Heat, Casino, Carlito’s Way, Donnie Brasco, Angels with Dirty Faces, Pulp Fiction—I watched them all. I even sat through stinkers like Oscar and My Blue Heaven! I mean, I’m talking serious dedication.
Five weeks and four bottles of aspirin later, I had logged over 200 hours of straight mafia movie viewing. I didn’t realize it at first, but I started subconsciously transforming into a bona fide goombah. It was a very subtle change, like paint drying. I really didn’t notice it until one morning I found myself putting on a blue and black track suit to wear to work instead of my usual Haggard khakis and Nautica polo. I stepped in front of the mirror to take a good look at myself, and I saw what had happened: my hair was dyed black and greased back; a tangle of gold crucifixes dangled from my neck and matched the gold horseshoe ring on my pinkie; and a pair of sock garters clung to my calves. After soaking in my image for a minute, an epiphany struck me like a .22 caliber bullet: I had become a wise guy.
Though my dress and affect changed, my physical possessions still reflected my previous life. My first move was to push my Suzuki Sidekick into the lake and pick up a flashy new Cadillac Escalade. Then, I decided to accessorize it to the nines, but I wasn’t sure which cargo liner to go with: the Husky Liners or the Weathertech Floor Liners. Both were custom-made for a form fit and they both promised all-weather protection. So I had to ask myself, WWTD (What Would Tony Soprano Do)? He’d probably appreciate the textured tread on the Husky Liners, but the high walls of the Weathertech Floor Liners would keep pools of blood and little pieces of brain from sloshing around after a hit. So I went with Weathertech. And I’m even working on my Italian. Right now, I just know 1 word: “Fuhgetuhboudit.” I can’t find it in any dictionaries, so I’m guessing it’s a special code word that gets you discount prices at the Olive Garden. Life is good.