I’ve been reluctant to share the news for fear it might upset your feelings. I know a few of you might be under the impression that I’m absolutely beloved here in Latrobe.
You might feel this way because of my propensity to embellish even minor achievement -- flattering profiles in the local paper, TV & radio appearances -- while blithely ignoring contrary vibes.
So brace yourself because here comes some disturbing info:
Somebody keyed my car!
Can you believe it? In Latrobe, that’s like TPing Arnold Palmer’s house.
Me! Who would do such a thing?
Well, in fact, the list of suspects is long and lengthening.
First a little background.
My 2007 Saturn Vue is not the first vehicle to have been keyed in The Pond parking lot.
John is one of the other two tenants above the tavern. He has no job, no stability and no prospects -- give the guy a pointless blog and a hefty bar tab and in some ways we could be twins.
His is becoming a complicated story. He moved in with previous tenants and when they moved out he stayed behind to pay his meager rent from his monthly disability checks. Dave, the landlord, is too nice a guy to tell him to vamoose, but John’s apartment is beginning to attract an undesirable element.
John drives a dilapidated 1992 Chevy Blazer. Well, that’s not accurate. He owns one. Like its owner, the vehicle is disabled. It hasn’t moved an inch in four years. It just sits there by the dumpsters, a space-devouring eyesore, again much like its owner.
Recently Dave told John he had to move it. And John did. Vertically. One foot. He put it up on blocks.
Maybe John should think about becoming an attorney.
It was last year somebody keyed his vehicle with a gouging two-word profanity -- both words were misspelled -- across the driver’s side door. He has many enemies.
Compared to his, mine is a mere doodle, difficult to even detect. I may have gone a month or two before it even registered.
It’s like some bored artist was walking past and just tried to trace the outline of the rear wheel well with their key.
For a moment I thought it could have been one of my daughters -- and talk about suspects with obvious motives.
But if your own daughters did something like that, the offense would go from criminal vandalism to charming folk art in an instant. I logically concluded, however, my darling daughters could not have keyed Daddy’s car.
How do I know?
They don’t have keys!
So these days I’m a little more vigilant about gazing out the window into the parking lot.
It was there last week I first laid eyes on the man who screamed he wants to kill me.
It was about 3 p.m. He is a friend of John’s. The big guy was nearly falling down drunk from over-consuming elsewhere (John and his friends aren’t allowed to drink in The Pond).
He was standing in broad daylight urinating in the parking lot!
I probably should have thought about it first, but instinct took over. I often prank unsuspecting restaurant customers by remotely deploying the horn alarm on my car fob the instant someone shuts their own car door.
It’s very childish, I know, but it’s hilarious to watch from behind drawn curtains as confused strangers begin fumbling with their own keys trying to stop my car horn from obnoxiously beeping, often setting off their own in the process.
It’s very funny (read the “trash man” link below).
So without pausing to consider the consequences, I reflexively hit the fob’s red button triggering my horn not 20 feet from the offending urinator.
“Honk! Honk! Honk!”
He shrieked and for a mere instant I was overcome with joy. His shrill reaction seemed to indicate he’d peed his pants.
But I had no time to revel in the moment because he went instantly insane. He began screaming he was going to kill whoever did it.
It was all profane and frightening. Luckily for me, he was too drunk to puzzle out what had happened. I’m convinced if he’d have found me he would have ripped me apart with his bare hands.
There cowering on the floor, I thought, “Oh, this is going to be very embarrassing if any of this makes the newspaper.”
But he never found me. After about 20 harrowing minutes his driver appeared and spirited the still-ranting inebriate off.
So now I have to keep a weary eye out for old pee pants everywhere I go.
But it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized how many people I once thought were friends think of me as someone worthy of cruel contempt.
It was Happy Hour. Dave was passing around a $10 FedEx Cup golf pool. Fill out the names of 10 golfers and the sheet with the best overall result wins the pot.
I spent about 10 minutes on my sheet and turned it in. One problem: So absorbed was I that I forgot to include the one name that matters most.
I told Bill, the bartender, of my oversight. I’d need my sheet back so I could scribble my name.
An evil grin slid over Bill’s face. “Oh, no problem,” he said. “I’ll fix it for you.”
He retrieved my sheet from the file and dashed to the other end of the bar where he commenced to cackling. After about a minute, he took the sheet and with a flourish handed it to my buddy about 10 stools away.
And there my friend began to roar with laughter. He was still laughing as he passed the sheet to the next guy.
A wave of raucous laughter swept the bar as my sheet was handed down from one to another.
When it finally arrived to me, I saw what was so funny.
On the line next to where it said “NAME,” Bill had drawn a crude two-inch penis and hairy testicles.
Day by day I’m learning I’m not as beloved as I once believed, that, in fact, many people consider me an object of scornful ridicule.
That I can at least live with.
But there’s one thing I’ll never forgive.
Bill got the scale all wrong.
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