I have a habit of getting in trouble for really stupid things.
For example, FedEx Ground fired me for bringing chalk to work and playing tic-tac-toe on the conveyor belts.
I’ve had stern talkings-to from policemen for such things as kicking cans on the sidewalk, parking in legal parking spaces, answering questions directly, and entering sportscasting booths without permission.
I once got a ticket for running a red light to avoid a collision with a police car.
But I really think Friday night takes the cake on this one, for a couple of reasons. (1) It was pretty stupid. (2) I could have been arrested. (3) I came pretty close to getting decked (and I’m lucky I wasn’t shot.) (4) There were monkeys involved.
So, our neighbor Teresa has 3 kids. They’re pretty awesome. And lately, they’re pretty sick. My mom and I thought they all might need some cheering up. Naturally, our thoughts turned to monkeys.
Armed with tropical-print vinyl clings, we snuck over in the dead of night (11:00 in our neighborhood) to deck out their car. As we happily covered the car windows in little vinyl monkeys, God looked down on us and smiled. And then He chuckled quietly to Himself and said, “Now, wouldn’t it be funny if…”
The neighbor’s car alarm went off. Silently, we crouched by the car and monkeys, all of which imitated our silence, until the honking across the street stopped. Cursing Leon Hoffman and his car alarm under our breath, we decided the coast was clear, and hurried to finish our friendly neighborhood vandalism.
Now, what we did not realize was that the car alarm had attracted attention, and Matt and Teresa were now watching in horror as “a long-haired hooligan boy” (me) in a leather jacket attempted to break into their car through the driver’s side window. So great was our astonishment when Matt came bolting out the front door that we assumed he knew it was us, and the gig was up. We didn’t even bother to run as Matt came striding purposefully toward me (he couldn’t see my mom, as she was on the other side of the car) and demanded, “What the hell are you doing?!”
It was at exactly this moment that I looked around and thought to myself, “Wait a minute… what the hell am I doing?” What was I supposed to say to this man, exactly? “I’m putting vinyl clings of monkeys on your car late at night so your wife and sick children will feel better”? Having no explanation, I just stood there and stared at him for a moment before it dawned on me that he might not have a clue, without his contacts, who I was. At this point, I called for backup. “Hey, Mom?”
After we sorted out who was who, we exchanged stories. I was apparently very lucky I didn’t make any sudden moves; when I didn’t run away, Matt assumed I was going to stand and fight. (This would not have ended well; Matt is over 6 feet tall; I am tiny.) Teresa was watching, phone in hand, to call the police if things did get hairy.
I rather wish she had; I would have loved to have seen the looks on their faces. ◊