How to Wonder for 40 Years

Jimmy Hoffa’s name—but never his body—comes up regularly in the news around here, and like clockwork, it showed up again on Monday.

They’re digging again, and this time it’s in my neck of the woods—Oakland Township, in a field at Buell and Adams roads. I drive by there every week! Not sure if this is creepy or cool. 

Tony Zerilli, a respected mobster, was the one to give the tip that prompted the search. Fairly credible, if you ask me. So the FBI is at it again, excavators in tow. 

Hoffa was last seen at a Detroit restaurant in 1975. Yes, 1975. That’s 38 years ago. And we’re still looking for him. 

Read some news items about the dig here and here. 

What is it about the Jimmy Hoffa mystery that keeps us coming? Why are we still digging almost 40 years later? Why do we still care? Certainly it’s not to punish his captors/assumed killers who are now either dead or aging rapidly. 

But the teams stand ready to go, and every so often the search picks up again. The last time it was at a Roseville, MI residence; others rumor that he is under NY Giants’ stadium, and even the Everglades of Florida.

One question nobody is asking or answering: Are we even going to be able to identify him if we ever do find him? We’re talking four decades of decay here. Lazarus began to smell after only four days! (Gross.) I know forensic teams can find out a lot about things that come out of the ground…but part of what makes the mobsters so elusive is that they’re really good at what they do. (That is, killing and covering.)

Just saying. 

I get the whole “closure” part of it. But sometimes, closure isn’t an option. We live in a sin-soaked world that often doesn’t afford the luxury of emotional closure. Take Job, for example. He lost everything—wealth, family, and health. And he never knew why. We read in the Bible that the truth of the story is that Satan was really messing with Job. But Job would never find this out. Yes, he walked through the test and came out on the other side with integrity in hand, and he did receive even greater blessing from the Lord. But it doesn’t say that he ever was told what was really happening. No closure. Sorry, Job.

For the record—I do hope that someday Hoffa’s body is found, just because that would be cool. But I do have to somewhat marvel at how we sit with rapt attention of a nearly 40-year-old mystery. 

What do you think? Why do we long for mysteries to be solved, however old and widespread they are? 

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