Thursday, July 7, 2011
It's kind of a funny story. I told my girls a couple of years ago that I really missed having a warm body in bed next to me (now that the dog was gone) and I wished they would invent a pillow that had a kind of man shape. And wouldn't it be nice if they went ahead and had it look like Robert Redford or Tom Cruise? Well, little did I know Lauren stored that idea in her memory banks, and I got quite a surprise on Christmas morning. When it was my turn to open a gift, out comes a large, life-sized "man-shaped" pillow. He was quite a handsome fellow, but Lauren explained that Wal-Mart was out of flesh-colored felt, so he was actually a dark brown man, dressed in snazzy navy blue moose pajamas. He had some extra flashy features, like a thick bush of chest hair she'd sewn on using fabric from the fur department, and he actually had quite a piece of equipment down below if you know what I mean. She explained the meaning of the words "happy trail" and showed me how she'd gone to the trouble to provide this endowment. Well, needless to say I was quite shocked. I don't know if it was the anatomical correctness of the man or his sheer size, but I was a bit afraid of him, to tell you the truth. So, I had a little trip to take to Florida to visit Carlisle and his family, and I left from Christi's house instead of going back to my house with all my Christmas gifts. I decided to park "the Dude" as we affectionately called him, on Christi's elliptical bike in her bedroom, until I returned. I guess he kind of freaked Christi out on that bike, so she told me in no uncertain terms that I was to pick up the dude on my way back from Florida and take him to my house. In the meantime, she stuffed him under Avery's bed. Well, I guess I came back from Florida, life got busy, and I forgot to pick up the dude. Christi called me a few weeks later, explaining a scary scenario. Avery had a little friend spend the night, and during the slumber party, somehow the dude under the bed got jostled, and Avery's friend called her momma, screaming that there was a black man under Avery's bed and she wanted her mom to pick her up in the middle of the night. Christi was able to reassure the mom that there was no black man under the bed, only a large pillow of a black man, and then called me screaming that I better pick up the dude or he was going to the dumpster. Well, I've been raised with pretty good manners, I knew I couldn't throw my Christmas gift in the dumpster, so I told her I would pick him up. The next time I was in Houston, Christi stuffed the dude in the back of my truck. I have a cover on the truck bed, so he would remain unseen in the back, although I did offer to loan him to Ryan so he could commute in the HOV lane with his passenger. Ryan declined my kind offer. So, the dude rode back home to Fort Hood with me, hidden away in the back of the truck. Life got busy again, and because he was out of sight, he was out of mind. Forgot all about the dude in the back of the truck. Until I was driving through College Station a few weeks later and had a blow-out on the highway. I was sitting on the side of the the road, waiting for USAA to send a roadside assistance driver to help me change the tire. A nice driver came to rescue me, and we prepared to get the front tire changed. It was on the driver's side, and there was a lot of traffic, so I was not going to attempt to do it myself. As we got the jack, etc, set up, a nice Highway Patrol officer pulls up on the frontage road, and walks across the grass to see if we need any help. He was a nice looking African American, tall and brawny, and had that cool Stetson. He told the roadside assistance man that he would get the damaged tire stored out of the way, so he began to roll the bad tire to the back of the truck. Omg. I forgot about the dude back there. Right as he opened the tailgate, I began to try to explain. Officer, please understand, I got this Christmas gift from my daughter, etc, etc....and it just went downhill from there as he looked at the dude, looked at me, and then stored the tire in the bed of the truck. If looks could kill. Then he said, "Uh, ma'am, can I see your driver's license?" Now who needs a driver's license for a flat tire? Omg.omg. He takes my license, goes back across the ditch to his vehicle, and gets onto his computer. Luckily I had no outstanding warrants, parking tickets, etc, so he returns to my vehicle, gives me my license without a word, and ignored my repeated thank you's for his roadside assistance. I drove under 50 mph back to Killeen, praying the spare would not fail me. Well, lucky for me the tire place man did not seem to notice the dude when he pulled my blown tire out of the bed of the truck and replaced it with a new tire, and I got home safely. I had an early morning meeting the next day with a bunch of my librarian friends, and told them my story. Like most librarians, they are all about research, so they really wanted to see the dude to appreciate whether or not he was truly anatomically correct. So there we were in the front parking lot of Peebles Elementary, a bunch of librarians, checking out the dude's happy trail. They were quite impressed, but we all had to run inside before we peed in our pants from the laughter. So, the dude remained in the bed of the truck, and I pondered how to tell Lauren that I'd decided I had to get rid of the dude. Well, I was driving to work a couple of weeks later, and I work at Fort Hood, where we have to drive through a security gate and checkpoint to enter the post. Each day, a nice security guard checks your identification card, gives you a friendly greeting, and you go your merry way. But every once in a while, they do random security inspections of your vehicle, just to keep the post safe and sound from terrorists, thugs, etc. Well, the gate guard surprised me one day by telling me I'd been selected for a random security screening. I was running a little late, and thought, darn, I'm going to be late, but I pulled over into the little overhang to get checked when I realized I still had the dude in the back of my truck. Now what? He was going to scare them to death, and I really respect the job those gate guards do every day. So, I got ready to get out of my truck to explain it to them. They said I was to open the hood of my truck, the back gate, all doors and the glove compartment. When I got to the back of the truck, I said, "Guys, you're not going to believe this..." and it went downhill from there. They gave my vehicle a thorough search, laid the dude on the ground and did a full body search, then held him up in the air for the world to see before they stuffed him back where he came from. I was so humiliated. Got to work late, explained my tardiness to my coworkers, and naturally they all needed to see the dude to appreciate the seriousness of my situation. I decided the dude had to go. That night when I got home, under cover of darkness, I took the dude out of the back of my truck and stuffed him in the garage. There he sits, in between the boxes of old books and pots and pans, standing guard over the house and all its' contents. If ever a burglar ventures in, I'm pretty sure the dude will scare them to death. He's large and menacing in his moose pajamas, and he makes a really good watch dude. Lauren doesn't understand why on earth I don't sleep with him, but I've told her I sleep like a baby knowing he's out there. Someday I'll part with him for good, but in the meantime, he gives me a good chuckle, and you never know when you might need a tall black man to come to your aid. Happy trails!