Oh boy, oh boy, do I have a story to tell you all.
First of all, as you know, I’m not in the habit of using real names of people I know on this here blog, in order to protect the innocent and all that. Okay, mostly it’s because I find it real fun to give people nicknames, but whatever, either way, I don’t normally use real names. However, the particular story I am about to share with you has been widely publicized in local newspapers (as well as all over these here interwebs) so, privacy is not so much an issue for this individual. The rest of the names will remain changed and coded in keeping with my modis operandi. Secondly, can we discuss how as soon as I got over the initial shock of this situation, all I could think was "I can't wait to blog this?".
Right, okay. That said, let me tell you all a little tale about how Candid Karina dodged QUITE the bullet in college, and she didn’t even know it until yesterday afternoon. This is a story of intrigue, and shock. It is a story about a guy, that in my planning for my “All The Boys” posts, I’d never even thought about telling you about. Because he hadn’t really made that much of a mark on my history to be included in these tales. That is, until yesterday. See…
Yesterday afternoon I’m minding my own business, heating up my lunch, when I look over to the table in the conference room (where our microwave is) and laying there is a “Lawyer’s Weekly”. This is the weekly newspaper in which attorneys get their scoop on all the goings on in the law world. Statutes that have passed, cases that have been won and lost, and ALWAYS, some controversy surrounding some attorney or other are the headlines in this paper. I barely glance at the thing, because, really, I have no time to read the paper at work. But, my eyes caught something, and I almost passed out from shock. See, my dear friends, the headline big as life, on this particular issue was this:
“The Rise and Fall of Gary Zerola”. And the reason it caught my eye? Because I KNEW Gary Zerola. I didn’t just KNOW Gary Zerola…I knew him well. In fact, we almost dated. But I’ll give you more on that back story in a minute. Let’s go back to why I was immediately shocked and almost had a heart attack. The sub-headline said this: “A promising young lawyer finds himself behind bars on rape and assault charges”. You see what I’m saying? SHOCK.
I won’t delve into all the details of the story here, but if you’re curious to read it, you can click here, or here, or here (this one comes with comments from readers)…or just google his name as I did. Unfortunately the "Lawyers Weekly" article is not available to the general public (you have to be a subscriber to the newspaper to see it), but I can email it to you if you're really all that interested in reading. But the gist of it is this, he’s accused of drugging, not one, not two, but three different girls, at three different times, and raping them. All girls 18 or 19 years old. And the reason it is such a news item is because at 36, he had quite a bright future ahead of him, prior to these accusations. He is quite a well known and successful lawyer in the Boston area. He’s also made quite a name for himself in some media circles, even making People Magazine’s list of Most Eligible Bachelors about 6 years ago, and was a finalist to be the original "Bachelor". And now this? It would be sad, if it wasn’t so scary.
Now for my personal side of the story. I met Gary when I was in college and he was in law school. Even though he was in law school, he would hang out in the undergrad lounge quite a bit, for whatever reason. And while hanging out there, he would flirt shamelessly with the undergrad girls. I was one of those girls. He was quite a charmer at first, and really a good looking guy, so I’ll admit that at first, I was quite taken with him. I mean, here was this law student, paying all this attention to me. What bright eyed, innocent college girl wouldn’t be charmed? But, Gary was about as cocky as they come. Really, he was quite full of himself. In fact, my friend BFF and I called him Mr. Vain, and would sing the song (by Culture Beat) which was out at the time, every time we’d see him walking around. The irony of the lyrics of that song now...quite chilling. He had this air of superiority about him that was a complete turn-off. Another one of my friends, Evil, a male friend, despised him for this, and in fact told me several times that he would lose all respect for me if I ever dated Gary. (He was also quite jealous of any guy who ever talked to me, even though he himself never made a move, but that’s another story for another time).
But Gary did ask me out. Several times. And I turned him down. Several times. He was just too cocky for me, and I wasn’t having it. He would say things like “You’ll go out with me, you’ll see”, which in turn would only convince me further that I would not. Eventually Gary moved on to another undergrad, and I didn’t see him as much after that. And I’d really completely forgotten about him until about 6 years ago, when BFF called me and said “You are never going to believe who is in People’s Most Eligible Bachelors this year…Mr. Vain”. WHAT? We had quite the laugh about it, saying that the only reason he was an eligible bachelor was because he was an insufferable bastard and no woman would want to put up with him. Then my friend Evil called, annoyed that “that bastard” was in People magazine. “That pompous ass walks around the city like he owns it, and he thinks he’s some movie star”. No love lost between Evil and Mr. Vain. After this mild interruption into my post-college life, I again never thought of him again. Until yesterday.
What can I tell you? I’m shocked, because one never expects to hear that somebody they knew is accused of rape and assault. Seriously, I can’t quite wrap my brain around it. Do I think he’s guilty? I have no idea. I haven’t seen him in at least ten years, so it would be really inappropriate for me to make any judgments here. I find it pretty damning evidence that there are three women with the exact same accusations, but then, that’s what trials, and investigations, and whatnot are for, right? I’m not, however, surprised that he would skip town while on probation to attend a football game in Miami, or that he would use the bible as a prop in court. If he hasn’t changed, or worse, if he’s allowed his success to get even further to his head, he’d think he was above the law. He always had a superiority complex, and I always thought he felt like the world owed him something. I mean, the guy hired a PR firm out of law school to…to what? To pimp himself out? It’s all very strange.
When I emailed a copy of the newspaper article to BFF, she emailed me back immediately saying “Thank God you never agreed to dating him”. When I told my mom the story (she remembered me talking about him in college), she said “Maybe you could have saved him if you’d gone out with him”. My mom, the eternal optimist (UPDATED to clarify...mom was joking). I can't wait to talk to Evil and get his reaction. I for one, think I dodged a bullet. Don’t you?