Like Jimmy says, there is always a women to blame.
As I have traveled the road of life I have left countless bad ideas behind me scattered about like so much road kill along the way. While some might cringe at their mistakes and ponder what in the world made them think to do such odd things I have actually become proud of a few of mine. God did not make me the sharpest knife in any type of drawer you might open but at least he gave me enough sense to squirm my way past the worst consequences of my actions and have a little fun along the way.
Examples of my less than optimal thought processes are too numerous to list without making it a career but one that jumps right out at me were the series of events that lead me to spend the night in a dumpster in Juarez, Mexico.
It was the last few weeks of army Advanced Individual Training at Fort Bliss, Texas and some friends and I crossed over the border into Mexico to have some “fun.” No, our destination was not the typical establishment that might come to mind but that “place” was just a few miles down the road from where my adventure started.
After finding little real trouble to get into we ran across a respectable diner, more than slightly off the normal beaten track, and being hungry we stumbled inside. My five friends and I were soon sitting at the counter waiting for our food when we noticed this absolutely gorgeous Mexican girl sitting in a booth with a friend carrying on a conversation in English. She had long silky midnight black hair, dark almond skin, graceful doe eyes, and a smile that had to make her a descendant of Helen of Troy since it stopped my friends and me dead in our tracks but had us ready to jump if she asked.
Much to my surprise she motioned for me to come over and feeling more than a little good I broke away from my buddies and start talking to “Maria”. Her friend soon leaves and she and I instantly hit it off with me discovering she was a college student attending University of Texas at El Paso. When I asked what brought her to Juarez I learn her daddy was a Hispanic-American businessman but her mother was Mexican and she had family and friends on that side of the border. We soon began talking about leaving the diner and going our own way. Hey, we were both young and foolish and I waved off my buddies still sitting at the bar eating their food as she and I walk out the door.
It was late Friday night and Maria was free the next day while I have a weekend pass that was good until Sunday afternoon. In her car we begin driving around, at night and in a city I have no knowledge of, talking about the various places we could go, with the obvious possibility hanging in the air between us. Figuring we have plenty of time we stop by this club she knew about to have a few drinks and get to know each other better before drifting off to that place going unsaid. We are not in the club twenty minutes when Maria’s old boyfriend shows up and gets very upset that she is hanging out with a gringo.
The club was crowded and loud and Maria switched over to speaking Spanish to her old boyfriend but it quickly becomes apparent I will soon be in a huge world of hurt if I hang around much longer. Doing my best stealthy ninja impersonation while saying to myself discretion is the better part of valor I am able to slip away, get out of the club, and start running like Jesse Owens down the dark street of a foreign country. Sure enough I soon hear the yells of Juan and his buddies running after me.
I crisscross several narrow alleys and streets and to add insult to injury some mangy three-legged mutt joins the chase after me barking like crazy as it hobbles along. I finally get a break and see a collection of dumpsters in the shadows of a back alley. Without any hesitation I jump my stupid butt into one and close the lid while praying to Jesus to save me. Being very quiet I listen for the approaching posse and heard them moving in a direction away from me, I think following that damn dog who was still raising all sorts of hell with its barking.
While some might not want to mention such an incident I am very proud of my prowess at avoiding the irate boyfriend and his buddies in an unknown country and city and damn thankful for that dumpster which I did not leave until the sunrise the next morning. Smelling like moldy bread, rotten cabbage, and a few other nasty things I climb out and carefully make my way back to the good old U.S. of A after running into other Americans. To my buddies back at the barracks, I was a fool and to my Drill Sergeants, while they were equally dismayed and threatening punitive action , one told me later that my adventure was one for the record books.
Since then I often think back to that time whenever the trials of life seem to bog me down in a morass of banal stupidity leaving me to wonder if such good times are a thing of the past. I am older now with the responsibility monkey strapped securely to my back and such adventures no longer seem an option for me. Thankfully, after what happened tonight I can safely and proudly say in a small way I am still a fun loving guy who has fun things blow up in his face.
Over the last couple of months I have become friends with a lady named “Tina” who is the nighttime pharmacist at the hospital. We met in the dreaded hospital cafeteria one night while making fun of the collection of items lined up on the various serving counters straining the definition of the phrase “edible food.” After a few nighttime lunches over the following months we soon discovered we were both Parrotheads and had an odd fascination with zombie movies.
Last night while waiting for the elevator I saw Tina at the far end of the basement going into the office of the Administrator On Duty (AOD), the person who runs the hospital at night, with a load of paperwork. I had not seen her for several days and figured I would ask her to lunch so we could talk about the new zombie series on one of the cable channels. It was then that I saw another friend of mine drop off a newly cleaned and special stretcher in front of the elevators. Now this stretcher was different from the usual ones used to transport patients, this one had a tent-like structure over it to conceal someone who had passed away as it was pushed through the hallways.
In a move that even now I find one of my more boneheaded ideas the thought passed through my idled brain that since Tina was certain to walk this way I could crawl under the tent covering the stretcher and when I heard her at the elevator I could moan like some zombie and rise up pushing the canvas away. I was sure Tina would get a kick out of it and we would both be laughing as we rode the elevator to the first floor.
Within a few minutes of getting myself into position, I heard what I thought were the clicks of Tina’s high heels walking down the basement hallway. Much to my surprise the person now waiting at the elevator was standing very close to the to the stretcher I lay concealed under, so close that another facet of my great practical joke presented itself. I reached out, grabbed the hand of the person waiting and was rewarded with a blood-curdling scream. The first problem I recognized immediately was that the scream was not that of my friend Tina but of someone else. The second problem, of course, was that I realized I had just scared the living shit out of unknown person. The first smart thing I did was abandon the planned zombie moan and just pushed away the canvas covering the stretcher to see who it was.
Looking down at me was the AOD “Cindy” and it was abundantly clear she did not appreciate my sense of humor. Tina, my intended target, chose that moment to walk into view and about busted a gut seeing me lying on the stretcher holding Cindy’s hand. While this was an utter disaster, I had a couple of factors in my favor.
Cindy knows me and respects what I do up in surgery, I keep the night shift nurses happy making sure the broken equipment is quickly fixed or that replacement parts are ordered so it can be fixed when they come in. The other thing is that while Tina is a friend and a hopeless flirt she and Cindy are a couple.
“What in the world do you think you are doing Mr. Johnson?” Cindy asked not quite yet realizing how brilliant my plan to scare her partner was.
Even though I could not see my face, I knew I was displaying my patented shit-eating grin which I hoped would somehow calm the distraught administrator although its track record in that use is pretty poor. Tina was still laughing, unable to speak, nevertheless walked up to her partner placing her hands on Cindy’s shoulders.
“Before you get upset Cindy remember the trick Dr. Walker pulled in the morgue last Halloween.” Tina said still stifling giggles.
Feeling that a way out of this mess was about to present itself I looked at both of the ladies standing next to me. “Ms. Harper, what did Dr. Walker do in the morgue?” I asked hoping this would work.
“Tina wants to talk to you about last week’s zombie episode, why don’t you come up with us to the cafeteria and I’m sure she will tell you.” Cindy said resigned to my joining them.
Have lunch with two attractive ladies while pulling my ass out of the mess I so easily fell into? The offer was a no brainer even for me. I jumped off the stretcher and rode up with them to the cafeteria. Just to play it safe, I think practical jokes are over for me.
(Author's notes: As usual all names have been changed, even Maria's but I can't figure out why I did that. Excuse the typos, I'll get them later. I'm sleep deprived and since its 5:00 pm somewhere I have already broken out the tequila.)
You are a Working Class Warrior, also known as a blue-collar Democrat. You believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore.