Friday, March 26, 2010
The Village Idiot(s)
###############################So I'm at a red light, and I ask the wife, "Want to get your hiney shot?"
She says, "Excuse me?"
"Hiney. You wanna get shot in the hiney?"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
I point out the car window and say, "Over there. Hiney shots."
She says, "No, you dumbass. That's 'H 1 N 1', not 'hiney'!" Shakes her head, and says, "Jesus!"
She's more right than she would ever suspect. The events of December 24th, 2009 are proof.
The first evidence, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is that the above photograph of the train ticket vending machine does not contain the burglar.
Here's what happened:
In an act of genius, I didn't ask for the 24th off from work. I knew full well from previous experience that working on December 24th saves a vacation day better used later on, for birding purposes. You go to the office, and stare at the one other idiot who went to work, while everybody else who might want something from you is standing in line at the airport, suitcase in hand. The 24th of December is spent checking one's emails on a regular basis, and discovering that the inbox insists on remaining empty. The office phone refuses to ring. Once in a while somebody shows up, unannounced, bearing a tray of home-made cookies containing enough sugar to kill a room full of diabetics.
To get to work, I needed to take the train. I got to the Claremont Metrolink Station, and greeted my fellow Downtown L.A. worker bees with a hearty "Merry Christmas!" [Despite being an atheist, I find the whole "Happy Holidays" greeting to be limp-wristed. I mean, really? Happy Holidays? What holidays? Get real. People are celebrating Christmas, not "the holidays", and they want their presents. They can hardly wait to get drunk at the Christmas party, and then go home and open up gift-wrapped iPods, Wiis, and all that other crap on sale at Target. This is the one and only issue in which I agree with my sworn enemies, western hemisphere christian fundamentalists. Almost. Christmas should be about celebrating Jesus' birth (even though he was born in April), not about putting a big bow on top of a Lexus, and surprising your wife) But then again, let's be honest: Christmas is a christian holiday co-opted from winter solstice celebrations in which pagans celebrated the fact that the sun wasn't going to abandon us, by feasting, drinking, and giving each other gifts].
So I'm standing there, and this dude shows up in jeans, a ski jacket, and tennis shoes. Good-looking middle-aged guy with a full head of hair. He drops a gym bag on the ground, in front of the vending machine that sells tickets. Then he pulls out some power tools: a power drill, and a power saw. See that really bright, little white rectangle on the upper right part of the vending machine? Senor Ski Jacket commences attacking that little white rectangle on the face of the vending machine as if it was a Cuban spy on a Florida beach.
Okay, now here's the problem: Is this guy supposed to be doing this? He isn't a burglar. Is he? Would a burglar have the balls to show up at 7:30 in the morning, and bust into a vending machine in front of a hundred passengers?
Should we call the cops? I have Claremont PD's direct number on speed dial on my cell phone (I just found out last night--March 25th--that this is no longer necessary, as they can now tell that I am in Claremont, and my 911 cell phone call will go to them, as opposed to the traditional 911 cell phone call where you're on hold for 10 minutes, and a recording admonishes you not to call 911 when you're lost, or your car broke down). I consider using my Blackberry to take the guy's picture. Hey, if he's legit, he won't mind. I need to do this quietly. I don't want to make him mad. Especially if he really is a criminal. He might drill a hole in my forehead with that yellow Makita power tool in his hand.
We all stood there, trying to figure out if this guy was an incompetent repairman, or an incompetent burglar. We stood there, talking about him, while he could hear us. We openly debated whether or not to call the cops. Why wasn't he wearing a service uniform with "Jose" embroidered over his shirt pocket? Why wasn't he wearing an i.d. card with his photo?
Three cops arrived from three different directions. The guy didn't have a chance. He put his hands in the air, and let them cuff him. They took him away, and like the seasoned criminal he was (probably an illegal alien with 15 kids on welfare) , he said nothing as they hauled him away.
After the cops left, a tall, unattractive lady with Big 80s hair informed the crowd that she had called the cops. She explained that her husband is a cop, her brother is a cop, and her dad was a cop. America is a safer place because of ladies like her. Big 80s Hair Lady; I salute you.
Well, aren't we a bunch of idiots? We should have called the cops! The entire train station was full of people who all had masters degrees, law degrees, and MBAs, but none of us had the brains to call the cops. Wimpy Claremont liberals that we were, we didn't want to be accused of being racist, so we talked ourselves into believing that he was just some guy doing his job.
I have an aquaintance at Claremont PD who proof-read the chapters in my novel Amateur Hour in which the hero Jake Kovacs gets kidnapped by the terrorists. If I ever convince some idiot publisher to print my book, he will get named in the dedication. Today, he will remain anonymous. So I emailed him, when I got to work. Apologized for being a liberal moron. Told him I was there, and stood by like an idiot.
He wrote back, "Well, actually, he was legit. We confirmed it with Metrolink, and released him."
"Oh, yeah. He went back, and finished the job."
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.