It happened while I was still in high school. (Note: there are disputations as to what, exactly, "in" high school means, but that's not for this story.) Jimmy Hoffa, former Teamster boss and Mafia beneficiary disappeared quite suddenly in July of 1975. This was news that riveted a nation because Hoffa was one of those larger-than-life characters that I'd grown up hearing about. He was a favorite target of Robert F. Kennedy when Kennedy served in his brother's cabinet in the 60's. He was constantly associated with the Mafia, whether deserved or not. Turns out he probably wasn't in the Mafia, but when dealing with the Mafia close is bad enough.
Then, of course, there were the wild rumors and speculation. If the Mafia got him, where'd they bury him? My personal favorite was either the end zone or one of the cement supports of Giants Stadium. I particularly loved the "buried in cement" scenario because it always reminded me of Hoffa being tossed, Jack Lemmon-like, into a giant gloppita-gloppita machine.
So Hoffa became a perfect metaphor for disappearing without a trace, preferably by less than savory means. I found this to be a comfortable disappearance. Here was a man for whom I had no respect disappearing probably because of ties with one or more crime families in a case that is still considered unsolved.
Except for the confession.
Turns out there was a confession, and many people now find it to be highly credible. Hoffa was apparently done in by someone he trusted and had frequently used as his own muscle in some of his shadier dealings. He either did not know or somehow overlooked the fact that this same man was himself a hit man. Poetic justice, methinks.
So, after literally decades of fanciful speculation and amateur detective work, the "truth" comes out in this hit man's own death-bed confession. I've never read the book, but if I get bored sometime I might look for it.
Apparently Hoffa was murdered the same night he was supposed to meet with Mafiosos to "clear the air" between them. Instead, he gets two bullets in the back of the head, and a quick ride to a local funeral home where he is incinerated and, presumably, scattered to the wind.
Mystery apparently solved.
I believe I'll miss it.
WINTER OLYMPICS UPDATE FROM 1998
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