The most pressing question Americans face today is, what will they do with themselves once the O. J. Simpson show is over? It is predicted that millions of people are expected to go berserk when they have nothing to watch in the afternoons and will resort to all kinds of mayhem.
A special task force has been set up in Washington to deal with what is now called the "Post O. J. Simpson Syndrome." It includes psychiatrists, legal experts and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- all of whom report to Judge Ito in his chambers.
Task force's job
John Kirby, spokesman for the task force, said many ideas have been tossed out to deal with the crucial withdrawal problem.
"In the best of all possible worlds we'd just find another trial as spectacular as this one -- preferably with the accused being either a member of Congress or a golf player of renown.
"If that doesn't pan out, there's talk of continuing the trial without O. J. but keeping all the lawyers, the judge and the DNA experts on the air."
"But who'd be the accused?" I asked Kirby.
"Mark Fuhrman and the entire Los Angeles police force. The viewing audience is familiar with the cast by now and has a rooting interest in how many times they accuse each other of lying."
"What would you do with O. J. if he's found innocent?"
"Make him the play-by-play commentator. O. J. is very well versed in the law, and his remarks would keep the show bubbling."
"And if he's found guilty?"
Kirby said: "That wouldn't bother us because his appeals could go for four years. You have to realize this commission is not interested in guilt or innocence. Our concern is to prevent the public from going into a depression because of a sudden void in their daily lives. A generation of Americans has been raised on this trial, and heaven knows what will happen the day Judge Ito says, 'Has the jury reached a verdict?' "
"Did anyone realize when they started the trial that at some point it would be over?"
"No, we just assumed it would go on forever. Six months ago I was asked if we had any contingency plans once it was finished, and I had to confess that we didn't. So President Clinton asked for a statement to read on TV informing the country that the trial would be leaving the air."
"The president is the best person to make such an announcement," I agreed.
"We're also thinking about having an O. J. anniversary party in Brentwood a week after the verdict. All the trial participants would be invited to relive their courtroom experiences. This would give us a chance to buy some more time until we figure out what to do with the empty TV screen."
Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.