As I mentioned in one of last week's blogs - I usually only get called R.O.B.E.R.T.S!, when I have really screwed something up or taking something farther than I should. But what the hell, as my old Uncle Ronnie always said, "anything that is worth doing, is worth overdoing!".
So in the tradition of overdoing it.... I had my first job out of college working at Texas Instruments in Dallas. What an exciting time! The first hand held calculators had not been out long and T.I. had developed the LED wrist watch. I wasn't making all that much money, as a new college grad, but I was working in one of the most exciting industries you could name...."Semi conductors; making computers out of sand." Keep in mind that in Texas the correct pronunciation is "SEM-EYE-Cun-Ducterz".
To help buy a house that I wanted; I took a second job as a security guard. This job was in a pretty rough part of South Dallas, paid minimum wage, and you could work just about as many hours as you could stand - including weekends. Being a guard on nights and weekends didn't require much skill - keep your eyes open - walk the rounds - and call for help if anything actually happens. There were two great fringe benefits with working this job - aside from the little bit of extra money. First - it gave me a lot of quiet time to study for the CPA exam. I'd sit there on those long nights and weekends with my accounting books - and study for hours at a time. Looking back on it, this was the only way I ever would have passed the CPA exam - when there is nothing to do but stare at an accounting book - eventually some of it will soak in.
The second great benefit of being a security guard was you got a really great looking uniform. I mean the whole get-up; Officer's Hat, Badge, Big Black Belt, Epaulets on the Shoulders of your shirt, and military looking pants with a stripe down the outer seam. Honestly, you had to get really close to read that the badge said "security" and not Dallas Texas Police Department. See the picture on the right - I was lean and mean and didn't look a whole lot different than the guy in the picture. With this uniform / costume - I looked the spitting image of a Dallas cop! Even as I was driving to work, I could point at people who passed me or cut me off - and it would scare the crap out of em! Probably, thought I was an off-duty officer. If I had only had a DPD Patrol Car, I could have really had some fun.
My buddy Dave McGrady lived down the block from me in the same apartment complex I did. As I mentioned in one of the last posts - David had gotten pretty involved with marijuana smoking. In fact, David had started growing a really big marijuana plant in his apartment. The thing had gotten to be about 4 feet tall, and looked pretty healthy from what I could tell. For those of you who may not have seen marijuana growing, it is really a pretty nice looking green plant. So anyway.....
Saturday morning, I am getting dressed to go to the security job and spend the day being a guard and CPA student - when Dave calls just to chat. Dave worked in the audit department for Pepsico - and travelled about 80% of the time. He'd just gotten back from another exciting trip to Beloit, Wisconsin (Pepsi owned Wilson Sporting Goods at the time and their was a factory in Beloit that made footballs - I think). Anyway, so Dave is filling me in on how his week was and I asked Carol (my wife at the time) if she'd like to talk to Dave. They began chatting and I headed for the door.
I went running down the street and upstairs to David's apartment. I could hear him inside still talking to Carol. I knocked on the door pretty hard and in as stern of voice as I could said "Police - Open UP! I lowered my police officer cap over my face, as David's room mate Linda looked out. I could hear her say, David, I think it is the police. For the next three minutes, it sounded if a cattle stampede was going on in Dave's apartment. You could here footsteps going back and forth and a whole lot noise going on. If I had been a real cop, I'd have been "real suspicious". Anyway I banged on the door again - just to give them a good scare.
When the door did finally open up, there stood my buddy Dave, wearing a pair of purple boxer shorts and a "wife beater" t-shirt. His eyes were as big as saucers and his face was pale. I had kept my hat down so you couldn't see too much of my face.....Dave just stood there frozen. Finally, I said "Dave, are you alright?" (See purple boxers on right - still etched in my mind)
Dave finally screamed "R.O.B.E.R.T.S!, I am going to kill you". But before he killed me he went back in the apartment, left the door wide open, sat down on the sofa and just covered his head. I followed him in and sat down on the sofa with him. It was quiet for a few minutes, so I asked Dave, where was the Marijuana Plant. He said I'll show you - and he called me a name that rhymes with "other trucker". Anyhow, Dave took me back to his bedroom closet. At first I didn't see anything but Dave's dirty laundry. Unfortunately, that is where Dave had hid the plant.....crushed down under his dirty clothes. Sadly, the plant was ruined. (See picture on right - dirty laundry and the death of fine green plant)
This is probably the meanest joke I have ever played on anyone. But maybe it worked out for the best. Dave quit smoking, quit smoking pot, quit growing pot, and went on a health kick! Started running marathons. I guess the last three sentances were pure B.S., I think this incident scarred David for life. I'm just glad that he didn't go ahead and throw my Joker-Ass-Self off the balcony that day.
I've had a hard time thinking about how to end this story. So here I go - David McGrady, where ever you are - I am truly sorry for this "prank" that went too far. Further, I promise, David, that I won't ever do anything like this to you again. I truly hope you can forgive me.
On the other hand - the rest of you had better watch out! You never know when I might go overboard again!
All the best,