Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Off Season Post 27: Le Thanksgiving is Here!

Hello, Readers, and welcome to Thanksgiving week’s installment of my blog. It’s been a hectic month for me and it’s nice to have some down time in which to collect my thoughts and put them into writing for you to absorb while waiting for the perfect moment to sneak out of your respective offices or cubicles and begin your long weekend.

Between trial notebooks, pretrial hearings, and other boring stuff that I have to do in my day job, I took the time to ponder a timely topic on which to pontificate this week. Sure, I could have opted for the traditional stuff about family feuds or alcohol-soaked, tryptophan-filled, comatose, flatulent uncles snoring away on couches in front of the television; however, I didn’t want to rely on the obvious. Besides, after last week’s trip directly into the gutter, I feel like I should deliver some higher end material this week.

Like most of you I’ve been contemplating my Thanksgiving Day plans and looking forward to a long, food-filled weekend sans the responsibilities of the office. In an effort to keep myself in shape, I talked myself into running an 8 mile race on Thanksgiving morning in the name of having an excuse to be somewhere and as a justification for all of the food I’ll undoubtedly be stuffing into my face and washing down with copious amounts of booze while simultaneously spraying profanities toward the football game on the television in front of me.

Committed, I logged on to the website, signed up, entered my shirt size, and paid the fee. Paying to run 8 miles? That’s a lot like paying someone to kick me in the knees for 68 minutes. Regardless, after paying I received a confirmation email along with a coupon for $15 off a new pair of running shoes at a local running store that sponsors the event. Of course, I paid more than $15 to run in the first place, but hey, fifteen bucks buys 7 Lone Stars and leaves a buck for the band’s tip jar at my favorite honky tonk. After confirming the nearest location of the running store, off I went to get some new (discounted) running shoes.

Now as most of you know, Some Guy has a general abhorrence for ceremony, titles, pretentiousness, or anything self-congratulatory (well, other than this blog). As I flipped through the nearest addresses of the running store on my handy iPhone I noticed that the closest location was in a shopping area in North Austin called The Domain.

Shopping pisses me off enough; however, throw in the ceremony, titles, pretentiousness, and self-congratulation that accompanies “high end” shopping centers and I get irritable quickly. Include the holiday regalia (read: propaganda), and my blood pressure rises considerably. I’m not suggesting that I’m “right” and everyone who frequents these abominations on my Hill Country serenity is “wrong.” I’m just telling you how I feel about it.

Despite my genuine affinity for Bianca, Mary, and a host of other Dallas readers, there is a comparison to be made here. The Domain is tantamount to a group of engineers figuring out how to surgically remove 10 square blocks of Dallas and transplant them in Austin. Shops with fancy names with accents in them, promotional luxury cars strewn about the outdoor walkways, fancy coffee shops, Nieman’s and its offspring serving as the anchor stores, steakhouses, sculptures, and (my favorite) valet parking abound like pills in Courtney Love’s purse. I suppose it’s my fault for subjecting myself to this ridiculousness in the name of saving fifteen bucks, but that’s not the point.

I arrived and had the audacity to park my own vehicle in spite of the judgey looks I received from the pimply-faced, red-jacket wearing teenagers at the valet stand. I walked immediately toward the key map mounted in the middle of the entry way in order to find the store with my new shoes in it. Like most men, I’m all business when I leave the cave and go hunting for something. Unlike most women, I see no need to make a day of it.

As I perused the array of places designed to rip me off in the name of looking trendy, I made a mental note to grab a Diet Coke on the way to my store since—according to the map—there was a café situated about halfway between YOU ARE HERE and my shoe store. It was at this point that I became momentarily intoxicated with whatever substance is being pumped into the air by collusive retailers seeking to brainwash customers out of their hard earned money.

Diet Coke in hand, I strolled knowingly past the shops meant clearly for women in search of something to tickle my fancy. Lord knows I love my fancy tickled. I actually knew a girl once who loved her fancy tickled. However, I never went there. She had her fancy tickled so often that it wasn’t very fancy anymore.

Annnyyyhooo . . . .

I walked past a few stores and noticed a store filled with pots, pans, and other cooking stuff. “Why not?” I thought. I’ve got some time to kill. Besides, I’m certain I can find something I need in there. I approached and noted the name of the place. “Sur Le Table,” I said aloud. Of course, I pronounced it “Sir Lah Tay-bull,” but was later informed by the Special Lady Friend who sported that Tsk Tsk condescending smirk that women get when a man attempts to enter their playground that it is actually pronounced “Soor Le Tahb.” Excuuuusssse me. “It’s still an overpriced ripoff,” was my response.

Back to Le Tahb.

I entered an immediately noticed that there was no way to discern what, if anything, was actually for sale. Items were stacked haphazardly on metal shelves that seemed randomly placed around the store. The French presses were mixed in with the spoonulas, spatulas, and other platypus-esque mergers of kitchen tools for which I lacked the vocabulary to call by name. I quickly became confused.

Oblivious to my crisis and intoxicated with the possibility of purchase, hoards of anxious women one step shy from frothing at the mouth buzzed around me like bees on lavender bushes in search of stuff to adorn their kitchens and accent their dining room le tahbs. I felt like that kid in the LSD video they used to show in high school right after he takes his first hit of acid and the world seems to spin around him. LSD is, of course, not a gateway drug; rather, it’s usually progressively arrived at as the result of boredom with other drugs such as marijuana—also commonly referred to as “Mary Jane” or “Reefer.” Remember that movie?

At this point, my bladder began to realize that I’d ingested 20 ounces of Diet Coke and became pregnant with pressure. I needed the Sur Le Toilette. I made my way through the mish mash of Le This and Le That, stepped around some boxes, and began to relax my clenched bladder in anticipation of some alone time with Mr. Urinal. My expectations were quickly quashed when I noticed the unisex sign on the bathroom door and the word “Occupied” in the slot above the lock.

“Damnit,” I thought. “I really have to Sur Le Pee.” In an attempt to ignore the building pressure on my bladder walls, I turned to the nearest shelf of Le Stuff and examined various espresso accessories and wine openers, including one called “The Wine Saver” which consisted of a rubber cork and a vacuum thing to pull the air out of an opened bottle of wine in an effort to preserve the bold fragrance and satisfying woodiness of whatever was on sale at 7-11’s “wine” section that week. I found it odd that the Wine Saver was available in only one size. Never once had I opened a regular sized bottle of wine and not finished it. Sure, the giant Gallo jug size might need to be “saved” on an off night, but a regular bottle? Please.

Please was right at this point. I had to urinate so badly that I began eyeing the multicolored Le Creuset pots in the corner. I even contemplated giving that wine saver thing a try in order to seal things off for a bit. “Man, whoever is in there must have a real problem,” I thought. Just as I was ready to kick in the door like The Transporter in search of his Asian cargo, the door opened and two giggly women and their 40 bags of Le Junk emerged without a care in the world. It was then I was reminded that during shopping excursions women’s pack behavior is extremely prevalent. Fighting the urge to smack both of them with the Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One on the nearby shelf, I brushed passed them and found relief in the now empty restroom.

I exited and proceeded to the register with that Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One. I simply had to have it. When I approached the register it was impossible to determine if there was actually a line of women waiting to pay or if the women in front of me were simply milling around like those aforementioned bees. Gossip, Giggles, and Girl talk filled the air. The woman behind the counter—who was inexplicably wearing an apron—smiled at me and asked me if I was ready to check out. Thankful, I approached and handed her my Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One.  An apron?  Who is she Sur Le Kidding?  

“Name and address, please?” she said as she simultaneously smiled from ear to ear and placed her hands in an at ready position over the keyboard in front of her. “Excuse me?” I said. “Name and address, please?” Name and address? I’m buying a Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One not enlisting in the military. Why in the hell do they need my name and address?

“Chris Harrison,” I said with a straight face as I made up a fake Austin address. Incredibly, she didn’t recognize me and the joke fell on her Le Deaf Ears. Le Whatever. I paid for my Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One thing and left the store still on my way to find some running shoes.

Wandering, it occurred to me that it might be a tad chilly on Thanksgiving morning at 7 a.m. I saw a store with headless mannequins clad in athletic attire and crossed the street to see if I could find some warm up pants to wear. I looked up at the sign above the door and realized the place—like the Artist Formerly Known and Now Currently Known Once Again as Prince—did not have a name; rather, it had only a symbol that looked like an Omega in the Greek alphabet. “At least the other place had a name,” I thought.

Before I could ascertain the name of my location, I was approached by a giant of a woman dressed in whatever the name of this place was athletic attire. I’m 6’1” and this broad towered over me like Godzilla above the Tokyo skyline. I was too busy looking for the remnants of knuckle hair and an Adam’s apple to realize that she was welcoming me to “Lululemon,” which I gathered was either “her” stage name in the drag queen show she performed in nightly or the name of that symbol above the front door.

I’ve since asked a few of my female friends about this place and, to my utter surprise, every one of them has delivered an impassioned response about the quality and durability of Lululemon yoga pants. I realize I’m about to teach Jesus about the Bible, but humor me here. For those of you (I assume the one guy who reads this) who aren’t aware, Lululemon is apparently the greatest yoga and athletic pant manufacturer in the history of the entire universe and everything that ever came before it . . . ever. More about that later.

She-Ra, or whatever “her” name was, guided me toward the “men’s” section of the store. Actually, I went there for fear that if I didn’t she’d body check me into a dressing room and violate me, but the result was the same: I ended up in the “men’s” section, where I had a difficult time seeing anything a man would wear.

She-Ra asked me what brought me into the store and rather than answer “stupidity, boredom, and morbid curiosity,” I made what I would soon realize was the cardinal faux pas of Lululemon. “I’m looking for a pair of warm up pants,” I said. (insert that Tsk Tsk condescending smirk that women get when a man attempts to enter their playground).

“Well,” said She-Ra trying to contain the rage boiling beneath her well-formed biceps. Incidentally, I’m certain that the only reason she didn’t give me the beat down at that moment was the off chance that I was some sort of pre-Christmas season mystery shopper sent by whoever invented that symbol thing above the door to ensure holiday staff readiness.

She-Ra quickly explained to me that Lululemon pants were “work out” pants and were not JUST for warming up. Excuse me, bitch. Big or not, I’m still a man and I was confident that given the opportunity to inflict the first punch, I could easily take her. It was as this thought was traveling through my mind that She-Ra grabbed several pairs of Lululemon pants off the rack and began her sales pitch.

Let’s see, there was the Kung Fu Pant, Trek Pant, Tight, Tight Luxtreme Pant, Formula Pant, and the Presta Pant. They ranged from $98 to $140 for ONE pair of warm up . . .errrr, work out pants. Give me a f*cking break. I almost hit her over the head with my Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One thing.

Let me say some final things about Lululemon. First, She-Ra—in spite of her intimidating appearance—was just as passionate about these phenomenal pants as my female friends. She was knowledgeable and was an excellent sales person. However, no one is a good enough sales person to get me to buy a pair of $140 “work out” pants named Lululemon. You’d think they’d have a guy line called Rocco lemon or Sluggo lemon or something more masculine. Apparently, it doesn’t bother the dudes going in there to buy them. I’m certain they’re boyfriends appreciate the Tight, Tight Luxtreme Pants as well.

I eventually did make it to the athletic shoe store and walked out with a new pair of running shoes. I plan to wear them on Thursday during the race and then carefully deposit them in the bedroom after I shower and put on my $18 warm up pants. My Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One thing should come in handy at the Thanksgiving table.

On a serious note: I’d like to wish a big get well soon to my close friend, Lincee Ray who had knee surgery this morning. Many of you reading this are reading it via her blog www.ihategreenbeans.com. Lincee has become a close friend over the past couple of years and I’m thankful that she’s there to cheer me on each week. Feel better soon, my friend. I look forward to the next two step.

Despite having to stomach The Domain and it’s odd stores, it did occur to me that I am lucky to be in position to afford a Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One and expensive “work out” pants if I chose to buy them. I’m lucky to be able to run 8 miles and even luckier to have some folks waiting at the finish line for me when I do. I hope you’ll all take time over the next few days to sit quietly—if not for just a few moments—and remind yourself of the truly good things, circumstances, and people in your lives. Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, jobs, houses, and yes, even expensive work out pants enter and leave our lives often in irregular, unpredictable, and even heartbreaking patterns. Still, there are always blessings of which we should forever be vigilant enough to recognize and to foster. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Be safe, be happy, and most of all, be Thankful.

Until next week, if you need me I’ll be warming up in my Tight, Tight Luxtreme Pants. In closing, I’m reminded of a song by one of my favorite artists, Chris Knight. The chorus goes like this.

"I'm thankful for the things I have and all the things I don't.
I've got dreams that will come true and I've got some that won't.
Most the time I just walk the line, wherever it goes
'Cause you can’t hang yourself if you ain’t got enough rope.”

Enjoy the link below and enjoy the holiday ahead. DP

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Off Season Post 26: The Jig is Up. . . and HUGE!

Hello, Readers and welcome to this pre-Thanksgiving installment of whatever happens to be bouncing around in my head this week. It's always amazing to me where I find inspiration. This week I found it in an unlikely place. I’d like to give credit to my virtual friend, HK, who writes a wonderful blog entitled www.icantshavemyknees.com. She was nice enough to send me an email and when I responded I asked her how she was doing. After telling me she was having a lousy day, she suggested I respond with something to make her smile. In return, I did what I always do when I’m put on the spot for a quick laugh: I resorted to a d*ck joke.

As I’ve been whining about for the past two weeks, you should know by now that I’m staring back to back trial settings in the face and I’ve been busier than the new girl on dollar night at the Bunny Ranch lately. Because of that, my ability to post has suffered in addition to the quiet time I have to find ideas to post about. However, thanks to the A-hole that ruined HK’s day, I have found quick and easy inspiration.

For the next five minutes I am going to list every anatomy joke that pops into my head. Feel free to use these; however, after your effort is met with either laughter or an appalled look, please give Some Guy some credit for his material. I promise to have something substantive drafted for you higher thinkers out there in the next week or so. However, in the meantime, please enjoy your trip down into the gutter with me. Let’s get to it.

My d*ck is SO big . . .

. . . that IT has a nickname for ME.

It’s SO big, I once went to a nude beach and Greenpeace tried to throw it back in the water.

It’s huge, I’m telling you. It’s so big, it has snow on top of it in the summer.

In fact, most women need a Sherpa and an ice axe in order to get to the top of it. It’s THAT big.

It’s SO big, I have to wear a roller skate on the end of it when I go jogging.

It does two shows a day at Sea World.

GIANT, I’m saying.

It’s so big I can drive a stick shift without using my left foot.

It’s talented too. It’s so big and talented that it once tried out for ‘N Sync.

Lance Bass tried to make friends with it.

It’s SO big that when I was a little boy it had its tonsils taken out.

It’s difficult to travel too. In fact, I have to pay $25.00 to check it curbside at the airport.

I once went to Minnesota and Paul Bunyon tried to chop it down. I impregnated Babe the Blue Ox while I was there. HUGE, I’m telling you.

I went to Washington D.C. and Japanese tourists took pictures in front of it. It’s so big it has its own reflection pool.

I’m not kidding when I say it’s big. Military families tie yellow ribbons around it.

I drank too many Lone Stars one night and ended up giving the Grand Canyon stretch marks. HUGE!

It’s so big, the IRS suggested I list it as a dependent on my tax returns. BIG.

I went to Rockefeller Center at Christmas time and Mayor Bloomberg tried to light it.

It’s huge. In fact, the doctor had to use a hacksaw to circumcise me.

It once earned extra money when it got a summer job snaking the Alaska Pipeline. I mean the thing is enormous.

It has its own heart and lungs.

At boring parties, I use it as a limbo pole.

It’s so big I feed it mice.

Aaaand, finally . . .

When I'm done making love I have to yell "Timber!"

Well, there it is; a couple dozen d*ck jokes in under five minutes. I hope at least one of them brought a smile to your face, even if you’re ashamed at yourself for laughing. I’m going to take the suggestions I’ve received for posts and try to get something substantive written right before Thanksgiving so you have an excuse to retreat to a private place with your laptop or iPad and escape your family for a bit over the holiday. Have a fantastic, safe, and happy Thanksgiving week and get some rest in anticipation of Black Friday. In the meantime, if you need me I’ll be at Wal-Mart. My d*ck got a seasonal job as a velvet rope. DP

Friday, November 11, 2011

Off Season Post 25: It's Trial Time in Texas

Hello, Faithful Readers. As always, welcome back to yet another week where you've generously tasked me with filling the white computer screen in front of me in the name of allowing you to escape whatever aspect of your life needs escaping for the 20 or so minutes it takes you to plow through my mess of ideas. Before I begin this week, I have a few requests.

It's that time of the Off Season when--notwithstanding the two trial settings currently looming over my head--Some Guy begins to get thin on ideas. Believe it or not, it's difficult to fill 10 single-spaced pages with an idea drawn from scratch in a matter of hours without the benefit of an overproduced, clearly contrived reality show for assistance. Top that off with my affection for Lone Star Beer and you begin to see my dilemma. In short, I need your help.

Like a Vietnamese prostitute on the outskirts of an American military base, I'm soliciting you for ideas for my next few posts. My challenge to you is to get creative. Stuff Chicks Like will likely be resurrected before the January launch of the next season of The Bachelor so feel free to send in those ideas. However, I'm looking for that special idea; that spark that lights my creative fire. Aim high and let's see what happens. You're welcome to email them to me; however, I think leaving them in the comment section for all to see and read would serve to keep all of our creative juices flowing. Man do I love to get my juices flowing. Annnnyyyyhooo. . . I look forward to your constructive participation. I promise to take the clay you give me and sculpt it into something wonderful.

Now, for the bad news. The bad news is that I’m swamped at work. I have two trial settings and they both look like they are going to move forward as opposed to settling or getting continued. Thanks to the work of our military and the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, every litigant is entitled to his day in court. I’d never deny that. Because of that, people like me spend hours upon hours preparing in an attempt to convince 12 strangers that our side is right. Because of that, I’m forced to choose my job over my passion this week. I’ll do my best to post before Thanksgiving, but my ability to do that will depend on what I can get done in the next couple of days. I’m certain y’all understand. I’m not arrogant enough to believe that I’m the only person with too many obligations from time to time.

Please, take care of yourselves this week and be sure to post your ideas for new posts below in the comment section. Happy Veterans’ Day. Happy Friday. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be diligently scrutinizing my briefs. DP

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Off Season Post 24: Home of The Biggie

Hello, Readers. Happy Halloween, All Saints Day, or Dia de Los Muertos, depending on your affiliation and ethnicity. I’m certain that most of you had a wonderful time dressing up as a naughty whatever. I hope it was a good time.

It’s nice to be back in the blogging mode after what amounted to a week of running around the Great State of Texas in the name of various aggrieved parties in an attempt to depose, discover, and defend. I’m back in Austin for a short time now, and despite the two trips currently on my calendar for this week, it’s always invigorating to be back home for a bit. Thanks for hanging in there with me last week and thanks to all of who sent me encouraging emails wishing me safe travels.

After reviewing the past few posts, I realized that the blog has taken an almost preachy and certainly a (GASP!) serious turn over the past couple of weeks. In order to remedy that problem, I’ve chosen to dive head first into the holiday at hand and recount to you another classic story from my youth. As was the case in the past, this one also involves the now infamous MH.

For those of you who don’t recall, MH is my current close friend and also my former childhood best friend responsible for My Sex Scandal, various run ins with local law enforcement, countless acts of tom foolery, and the person who attempted to steal a wooden Indian with me in New Orleans while simultaneously rescuing me from stampeding strippers. He was once the Chewbacca to my Han Solo, the Hillary to my Bill, the steroid to my Albert Pujlos, and the Maroon 5 to my Derek and the Boys in Miami. The following story took place during my freshman and MH’s sophomore year in college on Halloween night. I hope you enjoy it.

Sitting alone in my room as a freshman in college I was distracted from my studies by the ringing phone. It was none other than MH who was calling from Huntsville, Texas where he had resided long enough to be a sophomore; however, his academic status was unknown. MH told me that he was coming back to our hometown for Halloween and suggested we venture out with a few dozen eggs and a 12 pack of beer in order to see if we could scare up a little fun. I, of course, agreed.

In order to properly set the stage for this story it is almost imperative that I date myself a bit. If we don’t count pizza places, at the time I was a freshman in college my home town had exactly one fast food restaurant within its city limits. When the Wendy’s arrived it provided more than MSG and empty calories to the teenage population: it provided a parking lot to hang out.

For my last two years of high school, the Wendy’s parking lot was the site of many break ups, hook ups, throw ups, and police round ups. When we got bored sitting on the tailgates of trucks in the middle of the place we affectionately referred to as “The Fields,” we headed to Wendy’s where we would inevitably run into the likes of Officers Bates and Sharman who would generously pepper all of us with threats of “going downtown” unless we “dispersed.”

My friends and I were well-seasoned in such legendary drive-thru pranks as ordering a full meal into the speaker and then driving out of line so that the subsequent orders were delivered out of chronology; ordering fictitious, sexually provocative items such as The Furrburger, the Furrburger with mayonnaise, and the perennial favorite, the warm Cherry Bend Over; in addition to the occasional naked drive through. One of our favorites was to have a person strip down to his underwear and wriggle around in the back of the truck with duct tape over his mouth and around his wrists while MH and I sat stoically in the cab waiting for our food. Childish? Yes. Funny? Hell yes.

It was during this wonderful time in my life that a Wendy’s marketing executive with no clear understanding of the mind of a teenage boy or any concept of an anatomy joke decided to launch Wendy’s answer to the Super Size It ad campaign that McDonald’s implemented. Much to our delight, the new marketing campaign introduced items with the word “Biggie” in front of them. What’s more, the roof of every Wendy’s, including the one in my home town, was adorned with a giant sign that read “Come Get The Biggie,” or something inadvertently suggestive to that effect.

Upon driving by and seeing it for the first time, my mind went where any overly virile, bored teenage boy’s mind would go. “The Biggie. Just like my d*ck,” I said to MH who through a hearty laugh opined that the sign, in fact, referred to his d*ck and not to mine. After some spirited debate, we agreed to disagree. However, we did agree on one thing. Like second base, wooden Indians, or the still-in-tact virginity of (some) of the girls on the drill team, MH and I needed to steal it.

After some careful consideration (and a few beers), MH and I reasoned that a good time to attempt the Biggie sign theft would be on the upcoming Halloween night since the local law enforcement (all 5 of them) would be busy ferreting out egg throwers, candy stealers, and other criminally mischievous novices. MH and I would simply shimmy our way up the back side of Wendy’s using the rain gutter for leverage and, equipped with a hacksaw and some wire cutters, steal the sign and escape before anyone knew what happened. We were like two drunken, less sophisticated, teenaged Thomas Crowns and that Biggie sign was our San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk by Monet.

While most of our friends were headed to their favorite stash spots to uncover their booze and eggs, MH and I were casing Wendy’s and the surrounding area in an effort to put the finishing touches on Operation Steal the Biggie Sign. Eggs, you ask? Yes. Egg throwing on Halloween was so prevalent that about a week before Halloween all of the convenience stores stopped selling eggs to anyone under 35 with a grin on his face. Like most of my friends I was proficient enough to hit a moving car square on the windshield with an egg from at least 50 yards away.

Unlike the overworked chickens that produced those eggs, my friends and I were not thrilled at our inability to purchase them on the best night to throw them. Still, necessity is the mother of invention. Ergo, booze stashes in the woods soon housed dozens of pre-purchased egg cartons in addition to bottles of Boone’s Farm Strawberry wine and cases of Keystone Light Beer.

Incidentally, my friend Jeff’s parents, whose half-assed under-parenting or half-assed over-parenting (we didn’t care which) allowed them not to inquire as to why there were an inordinate amount of egg cartons in the garage refrigerator in the days leading up to Halloween. As a result, Jeff made a handsome fee leasing space inside that refrigerator so the rest of us could literally buy eggs weeks in advance in order to avoid the lockdown.  Brilliant.  That's capatalism at its best. These days I often think where we would be if we would have focused half of that energy where it mattered. Sigh.

Oh, and by the way, that’s the same Jeff who was called upon to empty his bowels on command into the local swimming pool so we could hit the beach. If you haven’t read my “A Friend Does His Duty” post, please do. Back to The Biggie.

After hitting the county line and obtaining enough beer to give us courage but not enough to make us too drunk to scale the back wall of the Wendy’s and steal the Biggie sign, MH and I settled in on the tailgate and talked about nothing as we awaited “Go Time.” Regardless of the illegality and stupidity of what we were about to attempt, my veins coursed with the possibility of adventure. As I thought about what we were about to do, I could literally feel the steel bindings of the rain gutter against my hands and the brick beneath my shoes as I scurried up the wall. I anticipated the exhilaration that would hit me as fear mixed with excitement and the thrill of the danger of getting caught. That feeling is impossible to replace and there are few, if any, equivalents in the adult world. Sadly, in a few years the most realistic chance I’ll have at that feeling is a sports car and hair plugs. Then again, I hate sports cars and I have all of my hair.  Sigh again.

MH and I were, as any well-planned sign stealers would be, dressed in black. I remembered to surreptitiously obtain a hacksaw and some heavy duty wire cutters from my father’s tool box prior to MH picking me up and I’d made a careful mental note to return them to their exact location once the heist was over. MH and I reveled in the genius of our plan as we killed our final cans of beer and mounted up in search of the world’s biggest d*ck joke.

Like Leif Garret and the rest of the Soc’s in his Mustang casing the park where Pony Boy and Johnny innocently walked, MH and I drove slowly around Wendy’s looking for signs of our good buddy Officer Sharman or his overweight companion, Officer Bates. We even parked across the street and made a gum and soda purchase at the convenience store so as not to arouse the suspicion of…well, anyone who might have been guarding the Biggie sign for potential thieves.

Satisfied with our recon, MH and I proceeded to our secret parking spot. We’d previously selected the parking spot keeping in mind the potential weight of the Biggie sign and our ability to run with it at full speed in the unlikely event of a foot chase. Just a year prior to this heist I’d been (allegedly) involved in a pizza theft from a Waco Pizza Hut where two friends and I were chased vigorously by both the police and the local Pizza Hut staff. We’d narrowly escaped that little scenario and, after much reflection, I’d concluded that our lack of absolute success could be attributed to poor planning and execution. I burned my mouth on that stolen pizza too (allegedly).

Pregnant with anticipation, MH and I exited the truck and began our trek through the woods leading to the back of Wendy’s ready to scale the back wall and begin sawing. As we approached the edge of the woods and saw our target, nervous laughter and conversation quickly turned to determination as MH and I lied there on our stomachs like lions in the Sahara stalking their prey. My heart raced as I looked over at MH and nodded. “Let’s go,” he said.

I quickly hopped up and ran full speed at the wall before bounding up it off my left foot and grabbing onto the bracket holding the rain gutter in place. Fueled only by fear and excitement, my body willed its way up the wall and I eventually threw my leg over the top of it and rolled onto the roof above.

I lied there catching my breath until MH came rolling on top of me about 30 seconds later. Drunk with the possibility of actually pulling off our plan, I’d forgotten the part where I was supposed to move out of MH’s way. I paid for it with an errant knee to the groin, but quickly recovered. The first part of our mission was accomplished. For some reason, I remember looking at my watch as if we were on some sort of Italian Job time crunch. We rolled over on our stomachs and got our bearings---after laughing hysterically, of course.

The roof was surrounded by a three foot brick façade that spanned all four walls. It was therefore possible to crawl without being seen from the ground below. Considering the fact that a good portion of the roof was covered in tar, this was a welcome development. The sign was on the opposite side of the roof on the side of the building facing the main road. We confirmed what our initial recon discovered: the sign was indeed secured to eye hooks via ¼ inch cables and the hacksaw and wire cutters were the appropriate tools for the job. I smiled like the Cheshire Cat when I reminded MH that he believed the sign was merely secured by rope.

We also delighted in the fact that all four cables could be reached without having to stand up thereby exposing ourselves to a potential bust. “This is going to be easier than we thought,” said MH. I nodded in agreement and we began to crawl around the air vents emanating the noxious smell of Wendy’s fast food. So far, so good.

We crawled to the first set of cables. MH took the one closest to the front of the building and I took the one to the rear. Our plan was to cut the rear ones with the clippers thereby releasing the lower corners of the sign and saw the front cables thereby allowing the entire sign to drop to the roof rather than waving around like a flag reading “Catch Us. We’re Up Here Stealing Your Biggie Sign.”

I clipped the first cable and the sign stayed put. As I crawled over to the other rear cable ready to clip I could see MH begin sawing the first front cable. When I arrived to the second rear cable I realized that it was secured differently than the first cable was secured making it impossible to get the wire cutters around the tail end of it. It was necessary to cut higher on the cable.

While I was sitting there processing this information, MH, oblivious to the problem, kept sawing. Before I was able to communicate the problem, the cable MH was sawing snapped and the “IE” end of the Biggie sign snapped free from its location and began flailing around like the freaking American flag during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. I half expected gallantly streaming ramparts.

“Oh shit,” said MH as I sprung into action. I quickly crawled over to the remaining cable so I could cut it and allow the banner to fall down. The banner was waving around and the loose and frayed cables posed a real danger and a big impediment to getting the job done. It was at this point that it occurred to me (and I assume MH) that our brilliant plan lacked brilliance.

Scrambling to cut the wire I said in the loudest whisper I could muster, “hold the thing straight, MH. I need to get the cutters around the wire.” Responding to my request, MH stood up to grab the flailing corner of the sign and inadvertently exposed the majority of his torso to whomever happened to be in the parking lot. The big problem with that is that for the past 60 seconds the sign had been waving around more vigorously than the Grand Marshall in a gay parade and had undoubtedly drawn the attention of every person in the parking lot.

Luckily, I was able to cut the wire and the sign fell on top of both MH and me as we lied there and tried to catch our breath while thanking our lucky stars that our heads had not been severed by wind blown wire cables. The past five minutes looked a lot like that rooftop battle beneath the Silvercup sign in The Highlander minus the sword fighting and the homoerotic banter. We were both exhausted.

Remember the part where I said that I half expected gallantly streaming ramparts? Well, my wish didn’t exactly come true. However, as MH and I were collecting our tools and rolling up The Biggie sign in preparation for our descent of the rain gutter and our triumphant return to MH’s truck and our remaining beer, we saw the rockets’ red glare. Much to our chagrin, the red glare was accompanied by blue glare, then red glare, then blue glare.

As we sat there horrified on top of the roof of Wendy’s with a hacksaw, a wire cutter, and a Biggie sign in our hands we heard the unmistakable voice of our good buddy Officer J. R. Sharman over a bullhorn. “We know you’re up on the roof. Put your hands up and begin to come down.” Almost instantaneously, we heard the unmistakable voice of our good buddy Officer Bates on the opposite side of the building. “We have the premises surrounded. Come down now.”

Keep in mind that just a mere three months prior to the current circumstances MH and I had been caught three times in one day by Officer Sharman. The last of the three entailed what he believed to be a homosexual tryst in the neighborhood pool with menthol cigarettes and wine coolers. On that occasion we’d been given the “if I catch you so much as breathing wrong again then your asses are grass and I’m the lawnmower” speech and were sent to walk home wet and humiliated after promising to never again cross him. If we were caught this time there would be no mercy.

Paralyzed, MH and I sat there motionless lying on our backs shoulder to shoulder while our minds attempted to process our next move. As a seasoned veteran of both well-deserved interrogation (see again, My Big Sex Scandal) and downright harassment (see again, My Big Sex Scandal) from the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, it occurred to me that I heard neither MH’s nor my own name over the bullhorn.

DP: “MH, they didn’t say our names. They have no idea who’s up here.”

MH: “So, they’re going to come up here and nail us.”

DP: “The hell they will. You think Bates’ fat ass can scale that pipe? I’m 18 years old and I barely got up here.”

MH: “What about Sharman?”

DP: “He’s 125 pounds. He’s too big a p*ssy to get up here.”

MH: “They do that kind of stuff in the Police Academy.”

DP: “Yea, the HOUSTON Police Academy. That’s why they’re Constables.”

MH: “You’re right. Let’s stay here. What if they get a search helicopter?”

DP: “From where?”

MH and DP: Laughter

And so it went. As MH and I lied there on our backs staring above into the vast expanse of the Milky Way awaiting for our fate to unfold, I vacillated between laughter and fear. I admired Orion’s Belt but prayed I wouldn’t feel the handcuffs from Sharman’s belt. I identified the Big Dipper but feared being identified by the same nickname in the Harris County Jail. Minutes seemed like hours yet somehow I felt an odd peace about me. It was as if I was exactly where the universe intended me to be at that very moment in my life. As odd as that sounds, I’ll never forget that feeling. I’m certain MH felt it too. It never occurred to us that they would get a ladder.

Luckily, it never occurred to them either. After about half an hour the red and blue stopped reflecting above us and the Q-beam search lights stopped shining. The bullhorn threats stopped alternating from each side of the building and proved to be as empty as we hoped. Afraid that we were being lulled into a false sense of security, I rolled over on my stomach and told MH to stay put while I crawled over to a drainage hole on the roof.

Peaking out I saw nothing but empty spaces and as MH and I made our way around the walls of the façade in search of those drainage holes we relaxed again before realizing we needed the courage to make the trip down the rain gutter like a couple of itsy bitsy spiders before hitting the ground and hauling ass back into the woods like a couple of itsy bitsy cock roaches.

MH: “Did I ever tell you that I’m afraid of heights?”

DP: “Yea, well I’m afraid of jail.”

MH: “No, seriously. I’m afraid of heights.”

DP: “I’m going to go first. Follow me. Keep your hands and feet on the gutter and don’t look down.”

I crawled close to the side of the wall and threw my feet over the side straddling the rain gutter. I slid down the wall and turned to run into the woods. Safe, I turned to see MH repeating the same thing. Apparently his fear of being cornholed at the county jail eclipsed his acrophobia. As he hit the woods we both took off in a full sprint trying to contain the adrenaline escaping as laughter through our smiles. We reached the truck and as MH hopped in he leaned over and unlocked my door.

DP: “We forgot The Biggie sign and the tools.”

MH: “Yea, but we still have the beer and the eggs.”

As MH and I drove away from our secret parking spot we noticed that we were both covered in roof tar and smelled like fast food. Laughing, MH took a turn down a well-traveled main road and in the distance we saw the familiar reflective paint of a Precinct 4 Constable car. MH slowed down and as we passed by under the posted speed limit MH rolled down his window and gave the horn a friendly “honk honk” before we exploded into laughter upon seeing the stoic look on the face of Officer Sharman.

DP: “He knows it was us.”

MH: “No way.”

DP: “Take me to The Home of The Biggie.”

MH: “You mean my house.”

DP: “No, mine.”

MH: “Whatever.”

And there it is. I hope you enjoyed a little Halloween cheer. I’m back on the road today so please hit me with your comments and emails. They make a lonely hotel room less lonely. Be safe. Be happy. Until next time, if you need me, I’ll be scrubbing the tar off my Biggie. DP