I met Matlock on the same day they picked a Pope. I’m pretty sure this was my consolation prize from God to make up for him not picking one of my Pope nominees (i.e. my favorite Catholics: my Dad, Brett Favre, or my pals’ 8-month-old son Mikey) and instead picking an old Argentinian nazi.
I would like to say that Matlock and I were both drinking scotch, but the truth is only he was drinking scotch. I was lamely drinking Guinness “in honor of St. Patrick” and eating chicken off a stick in less than lady-like manner (is there a lady-like manner to eat a chicken skewer when a plastic fork is the only utensil available?). He told me stories. I smiled and hoped there wasn’t chicken in my teeth. It was a good evening.
I hadn’t realized that Bobby Lee Cook graduated law school in 1949. That’s a lot of different decades of practicing law, all the while popularizing a powder-blue suit.
During a brief presentation, Matlock told the room about a murder case he defended back in the day in Dade County, Georgia, which at that point you could only get to by going through either Tennessee or Alabama. He said that the facts of this case were not very good for his client. His client had killed a man with no provocation other than that the deceased called him “a son of a bitch.” During summation, the prosecutor honed in on this and told the jury “the victim didn’t have a gun, didn’t have a knife, didn’t have a weapon of any kind. He didn’t provoke the defendant at all. All he did was call him a ‘son of a bitch,’ with absolutely no physical actions or threats toward the defendant. If it were you, what would you have done?” At which point, as the story goes, an old man in the jury box yelled out, “I would have killed the son of a bitch!” The judge, also an old man, woke up from his light nap and asked “what did he say?” To which Matlock, who was sitting at the defense table about 10 feet from the bench, told the judge “He said ‘it’s gonna be all right,’ Judge.”