Wednesday, February 25, 2004
I know that everyone out there has done things that they wouldn't do again. Things that they're not proud of. Things that they won't admit to when their kids eventually ask "Didn't you ever do anything stupid?" I've done a lot of 'stupid' things in my lifetime, mostly born of boredom, or simply the fact that I don't think like most people. I've filled balloons with part water, part syrup and launched them at pedestrians. I filled an automatic Water-Uzi with water and blue food coloring and performed drive-by stainings...I've even gone out driving after heavy rains, looking for unsuspecting splash victims.
Before you start judging me, understand two things: I did these things as an adolescent and I've also had whatever shame or humiliation I inflicted returned to me tenfold. What you reap, so shall ye sow, right? Well, there's a reason that I'm a docile and obedient member of society, for the most part. I've learned my lesson...That doesn't mean that this story isn't worth telling. Stick with me here...
The worst of the bad habits that I displayed when I first had my driver's license, in my humble opinion, was the screaming. I would drive with my window down a lot, because no vehicle I owned had air conditioning. In the summer here in Colorado Springs, it's not overly humid, so a nice wind WILL cool you down. Either way, my window was almost always open. I would select 'victims' at random and just scream. Folks wouldn't see it coming. Sometimes, they didn't know where it came from. sometimes, they lost control of their faculties. I'm serious about this, once, I screamed at two girls on my way down Hallam Ave. They jumped quite high, one leapt over a fence and the other kind of crumbled into a heap, announcing that she had wet herself. I know. I'm sorry.
So there was the screaming. I had kind of outgrown this once I graduated high school (thank god) and had pretty much stopped the behavior. I moved up to Denver to attend a Tech School and, ultimately, attain my graphic art degree...My roommate, Jay, had been a 'friend' of mine in high school and was not the best of influences. He liked watching the results of the screaming. He's a sociopath who has never really been able to hold a job, a fact that he'll never admit to. Jay's a 'story teller.' He's always lying, either in a vain attempt at 'one-upmanship' or just to make his shitty, pathetic life sound just that much better...Either way, Jay got me into more trouble than he was worth. I usually only screamed at people to placate him, like throwing raw meat at an animal. Simple pleasures would keep this clown from finding other, more nefarious things to do like grabbing the steering wheel while I was driving. I'm serious.
I often contemplated killing him when we lived in Denver. I will say that this is something I have NEVER done, before or since, regarding ANY person. So there you go.
One time, he got me chased down by a large biker due to his habit of throwing trash out of the car. but that's a story for another time. Anyway, any time I had to myself while I lived in Denver, I had to cherish, seeing as he could really make my life hell. One fine afternoon, I was driving around Lakewood in my massive 1976 Oldsmobile, listening to a tape I had just purchased that had, among others, the Contours song "Do You Love Me." I was having a fine day and singing loudly to this tape and, yes, MY WINDOW WAS DOWN.
It had snowed that morning, but true to Colorado weather form, it was a sunny and warm afternoon. There was still a considerable amount of heavy, wet snow out and many folks were shoveling their sidewalks. There I was, as I described, tooling along through a residential area, in my hooptie, tape deck blasting oldies music and me singing like a freakin' banshee.
The beginning of the song "Do you love me," if you're not familiar with it, has a little spoken part. I was giving this part of the song just as much emphasis as I had the rest of the songs. I was having a great day by myself, As I said. I nailed the sentence "AND NOW I'M BACK! TO LET YOU KNOW...I CAN REALLY SHAKE 'EM DOWN..." just as I passed an old man shoveling his walk. The phrase "NOW I'M BACK" seemed to hit him like a baseball bat, he was in mid shovel. He let out a tortured grunty noise. He panicked. And he crapped his pants.
I am NOT lying here. And I didn't even mean to make it happen.
my vocal haymaker made him throw his shovel full of snow sharply back and upward, which was what caught my eye. He had contorted himself into a bit of an awkward position and, as the shovel lost the weight of it's load of snow, this position became even more perilous. Like I said before, he panicked. He saved himself from impacting the pavement, but in doing so, he apparently filled his pants with a hefty load of poopy.
"Yeah, right, you saw this while you were driving," you scoff. "I did" I would reply. I was only traveling 20 mph. and this unfolded on my side of the road. I saw it all, including his moment of realized shame. The moment when he grabbed his ass and waddled toward his house. The moment that I had never intended to see. A moment frozen in time. I'm sorry, old man. It was an accident, honestly.
Blame the Contours.