In search of what's next

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Why do we do dumb things?

Update: Welcome Carnival of Comedy travellers!

I don't know why we do dumb things. It just happens. We'd like to say we never do them, but we're just lying to ourselves.

Stuff happens and usually we're the cause: Not always, but usually.

Now since I'm always on the search, here's another true story related to my search for what is next. This actually happened about a month before the boating incident. That was just one of those things you tell the story later and chuckle, thanking God you're still alive and can tell about it. Seeing as this happened a month before, it made me wonder why so many things happen. Here's the story. Enjoy...

I was supposed to meet 2 of my college buddies at one of their apartments in Paducah, Kentucky. We had graduated 2 years earlier and were trying to keep in touch, so we got together every once in a great while. My friend that lived there (we'll call him Sam) was the writer or producer (I can't remember which it was) for the nightly news at channel X (can't remember that one either). They were in central time and it took me about 5-6 hours to drive so, I just left after work on a Friday and drove down. I managed to get into town before the broadcast started, so I waited at his apt. while he came to pick me up to come watch the production.

It was really interesting and I learned a great deal about how it works and who does what. Very fascinating. I did learn that the desk anchors wear entirely too much makeup, but it looks good on the idiot box. They have these little intercoms with a couple of guys queing tapes and the director running down the list of things to do. I really enjoyed meeting the people and seeing the process.

After that was over, we headed back to Sam's place to wait on our other ex-classmate, Ed (his name is made up too). That particular evening (n March, 1983) it was kind of warm outside so we had the windows in the living room open to let a breeze in. We had the tv on for some noise and was just chit chatting, waiting for Ed.

Now, before I got married, I used to run the wheels off my car(s). I drove everywhere. I always took 2 things with me. My camera equipment and my very large caliber personal protective device, whose nickname was Fred. Now Sam knew I carried this equipment because it was a regular part of our conversations at times. Neither was unpacked at this point, just stacked with my overnight bag in the corner of the room.

While sitting there jabbering, we heard a noise outside of the apartment window. Sam reached over and turned the tv volume down to hear better and we heard someone whispering outside the window. The voice was saying "what are you boys doing in there?"

Well, because we always were screwing around doing dumb things, we simply assumed it was Ed. So, we reponded with "come on in."

That was a mistake.

The door opens and in walks a large fellow carrying a 12 ga. shotgun. We both turned white as sheets, I imagined. I know I was petrified. I couldn't move. (At least I didn't soil myself). We couldn't reach the gun, the phone, jump out the door, window or nothing. We were sitting ducks.

So, the man with the gun says "either of you boys gotta gun?"

Sam looks at me and I shake my head no. I mean I'm not going to give this guy a reason to perforate me. I just kept wondering if this is what it feels like to know the end is near?

So, the gunman asks us to call the police then. Well I'm thinking this is the dumbest criminal I have ever had the pleasure to watch work or something is up. So, we ask why.

He says because there's a guy breaking into that apartment there (points to the little standalone building across the parking lot from us where the owner's grandmother stays).

Well now, this makes it all different. We jump up and look out the window. Sure enough, there is a guy dressed in black pants, black shirt, black pullover hat and black sneakers. He's got a prybar working on the windows (they're the vent style that cranks out at an angle).

Hmm. I've got the opportunity to take a picture that might make the evening news and I'm standing next to the equipment that can make it happen and even better, I'm standing next to the guy who can make it happen. What did I pick up? Yep, you guessed it. Fred.

So, I try to sneak out into the parking lot between the cars carrying Fred along with me. We made so much noise, we scared off Mr. Breakin. Darnit. I guess you're not supposed to actually hum the tune to A team when performing this sort of action.

Next thing you know, Sam comes out with this huge flashlight. It was like streetlight bright. The driveway was U shaped with big tall pine trees lining each side. Sam starts running the light up and down the trees, kinda like stalag 17 searchlights.

It's a really good thing Fred is a single action protective device. Really good. Because what happened next would have otherwise caused me to shoot myself. While Sam is running the light back and forth, he stops to decide his next scan route.

The light just happens to land on Mr. Breakin. He tears through the trees like a charging rhino, at least it sounded that way. That's when I realized my hands were squeezed tightly around the grips, now VERY thankful of a single action device.

SSSSSHHHHHHHEEEEEEEWWW. That was close. Well, better go put Fred back inside before the neighbors get suspiscious. Just as I walked in side, the police show up. I found afterwards that Mr. Shotgunman had placed his shotgun under somebody's car until after the police left. Anyway, they took our statements (which we left out certain incriminating portions, namely the appearance of one Fred), took some pictures and left with instructions to call them if he showed back up and then left.

Of couse, we were brave little soldiers now. We started patrolling the parking lot now. Just a few minutes later Ed shows up. He sees us patrolling with guns and lights and questions us on it. He asks us what we're doing. We tell him "we're hunting burglars".

After we tell him what happened, he starts unloading his car, bringing the toolbox, spare tire, jack, everything in the car in the apartment. It takes a while to convince him to leave some it back in the car (It was a a small apt.).

Next day, Sam takes us sightseeing around town. One of the places we go is to the mall. It was brand new and the locals were very proud of it. It had all the typical mall stores of the time, including a cutlery shop. We go in the shop and start looking around. In the middle of the store is a case filled with swords. Some were very nice, as the price indicated. It was open.

We got some of them out and started acting like we were swordfighting. The proprietor wasn't all that happy with us at this point, so I, along with Sam, buy one. I go to the register to pay and the lady asks if there is anything else. I get this bright idea.

"Yes, can you put an edge on this?" I eagerly ask.

"No." she replies and starts to look kinda scowlingly at me.

"What about a scabbard?"

"No, we don't carry that sort of thing. Do you still want the sword?" By now she's looking rather dissapprovingly at me. In today's world, I'd be paid a visit by the FBI with these types of questions, I'm sure with security the way it is, or at least supposed to be.

"Yes, I'll take it!" I still wanted the sword.

"What are you going to use it for?" her curiosity peaked.

"I'm going hunting!"

So, the moral of the story is if you go hunting for anything, including what's next, then you must be armed.


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