Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Other John Goodman

Like many of you, I have been following the story of Florida millionaire John Goodman with some interest. In February of 2010, Mr. Goodman was involved in a fatal car accident that resulted in the death of a college student named Scott Wilson. Goodman’s Bentley ran through a stop sign and T-boned Wilson’s Hyundai pushing it into a drainage canal where the young man drowned. Goodman, who had been at a bar and whose blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit when arrested, left the scene on foot, and waited an hour before calling the authorities.

In addition to the criminal charges he is currently on trial for, Goodman undoubtedly faces a future fraught with expensive civil suits. A few months before his criminal trial began, Goodman made headlines by legally adopting his current girlfriend Heather Hutchins, a move seen as a way to protect his fortune from any civil judgments and ensure he always has a really creepy answer to, “Do you have a close relationship with your kids?”
Hutchins & Goodman
While the aforementioned events of that night are not in dispute, their causes differ slightly according to which side of courtroom you sit on. The prosecution alleges that Goodman got hammered, slid behind the wheel of his ridiculously expensive coupe, and directly caused the death of an innocent young man. Furthermore, they believe that Wilson would have survived if Goodman had only called the police or offered assistance instead of running away.

The defense contends that Goodman was simply the victim of poor engineering and that his Bentley accelerated on its own through the intersection. The impact disoriented Mr. Goodman who wandered into a nearby barn and discovered a cache of alcoholic beverages. Understandably distraught by his recent vehicular malfunction, Goodman began consuming said libations in an effort to anesthetize himself. Once he regained his composure, he immediately called the authorities and was devastated to learn of Mr. Wilson’s demise.

I must say, Goodman’s legal team presented a rather unique explanation for the accident and Goodman’s elevated blood alcohol level. I imagine law students will be analyzing the Possessed Bentley / Barn Scotch defense for years to come. While it might sound outlandish, perhaps the defense possesses ironclad evidence that Goodman’s Bentley indeed went into “Christine” mode at the most inopportune time thereby setting in motion a chain of events that resulted in the defendant wandering into the only central Florida barn stocking unguarded liquor.

What fascinates me is the implication of legally adopting your adult girlfriend. If they break up and he gets remarried would his new wife be his ex-girlfriend’s stepmother, because I could see that family dinner becoming rather awkward. Also, Goodman has other biological children so how does he diplomatically allocate budgets for Christmas gifts? Does Heather get a girlfriend share and a daughter share?

“Daddy, how come Heather got a Land Rover and a diamond bracelet and I just got an Old Navy giftcard?”
“We’ve talked about his sweetie, Heather gets two gifts because she has full legal control of Daddy’s assets and can leave us all destitute if she goes off the reservation.”

With all of the negative connotations associated with a man dating his own daughter, I suppose there are some upsides:

  • Popin’ & lockin’ is no longer off the table at the father/daughter dances.
  • As both her dad and current lover, you can easily justify being overprotective when other men hit on her.
  • By claiming her as a dependent of your taxes, it might be possible to deduct all the expensive jewelry you would have to buy her anyway.
  • It doesn’t seem quite as creepy when you tell her, “Sometimes I just look at you and imagine a little girl.”
  • Calling you “daddy” has officially been elevated from voluntary role play to a legally-binding agreement.
  • A non-Mississippi resident now has a reason to request that Facebook allow you to identify the same person under the “In a relationship with” and “Family” headings.
  • Dual veto status over her tattoo decisions.
  • As the father of her children you, would be eligible to eat with them at school on parent’s day and grandparent’s day.
  • Streamline the wedding ceremony having one “I do” cover multiple questions like, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” and “Do you John, take Heather as your lawfully-wedded wife-child?”

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