How I Learned To Keep My Mouth Shut The Hard Way
I was a really dumb, smart aleck, kid.
This story is about a time when I was ranking very high on the stupid scale. I like to think I have learned a lot since the winter of 1980 when this happened.
Let me get in a quick back story to set the scene.
I had friends at a “bowling center”, and they hired me as the desk man, evenings. It wasn’t a bad job, they liked me because I didn’t steal, (usually the guy renting the shoes just pocketed the money).
Basically, I was the night manager, my biggest responsibility was to throw the drunks out at the closing time, so we didn’t lose our liquor license.
I always had the local police nearby, they were really good cops and nice guys.
It was a fun job overall, but it could be busy on league nights, with hundreds of people, lots of booze.
Here’s where the dumb kid stuff came into play:
One regular Friday winter night, all the regular weekly league bowlers, a couple of stray open play lanes, the band was playing “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders. All was going well. Standard stuff.
All of a sudden, two huge slabs of human flesh came to the desk. Even almost 40 years later I can see their faces and clothes.. they were HUGE! One was about 6'4", the other about 6'2" a total of about 500 pounds. Both were stinking drunk, missing a couple of teeth each, totally reminded me of some of the southern Missouri hillbillies I had met.
One of the sides of beef, slurring badly, asked me if someone was there, I had to have him repeat the name 3 times to understand him over the noise of the bowling, and his mush-mouth slurring. I finally got the name and paged the lady over the p.a. system. “ Will Marilyn ***** please come to the desk? No answer, no show. So the walking refrigerator units left. Good.
About 30 minutes later, going through the motions of my work, keeping one eye on the lanes, one on the concourse, one on the bar, here come the Frankenstein twins, back again. The bigger of the two asked again for the woman they asked for earlier. Once again, I paged her. “Will Marilyn ****** please come to the desk”.
No answer, no response. Again the monster boys leave, frustrated, but quiet.
About 45 minutes go by, here they come again stumbling drunk, trying to convey that they were looking for the infamous, Marilyn. Well, I was getting tired of paging someone who wasn’t there, clearly. The rule of thumb is that one page is ok, two is much, three is just plain no. Well, since they were behemoths, loaded to the gills, I told them this was the last time I would page “Marilyn “. So again, no answer, no show from “Marilyn”.
Well, wouldn’t you know, about an hour later, here they come again. Now I’m feeling a little pissed that they keep trying when she isn’t there!. They want me to page her for the fourth time, I say “ no, I can’t page her again, she clearly isn’t here. She is probably out somewhere else or shacked up on a cheesy motel.”
Holy cow, begin the mayhem.
I knew I said the wrong thing when it came out of my face. Being a smartass is really a problem when you deal with drunks, mental patients, and drug users. I think they were all three! I really pissed them off royally.
The biggest Bubba, started ranting, the smaller started to take a swing at me, but I had the desk between us. The larger of the two Sasquatch boys picked up the 4 drawer Sweda cash register, and threw it at me, spilling the contents, missed me by an inch, thank you, God. The register spilled ink everywhere, the boys from Gigantica got spooked when I picked up the phone to call my pals at the police station and ran for it (actually, stumbled for it). The cash register had to weigh a couple of hundred pounds, so I was glad they were smashed and missed me.
The cops came, took a report, got on their trail, but that was about 10 minutes later. They laughed at what I said to the Gigantica twins and warned me about my mouth. ( By then I understood very well).
So the night continued on, and I was looking out for these “Beef Brothers”, all night, planning an escape route if they showed back up. Can you tell I am a certified coward? I had figured a way out the back of the center through the machines, or through the snack bar, and out the back. They never did come back. Later on, after everyone was gone, the cops came back for a sandwich and a beer.
We got to the office, food, and beer in hand, me with a strong Crown Royal and water, to calm me a bit. My adrenaline was pulsing through me like a freight train the rest of the night.
The cops laughed it off, but said that the “Bison Boys” had gone on a rampage looking for what turned out to be their MOTHER! Holy moly, no wonder they were mad at me! I basically said that their mother was a slut! Wow, I stepped in it big! The cops told me they tore up a convenience store, a gas station, and a McDonald’s before they were caught. The boys ended up in jail because they beat up 3 people, and did a lot of property damage. I really felt guilty for lighting the fuse that started all that. The police said not to worry, these idiots do that every few months, just never got caught, as they disappeared to southern Missouri’s Bootheel.
The next day, my manager told me the Father called, angry at what I said and that I set his boys off into a frenzy. I called and apologized, explaining what happened, that his boys were drunk, etc. and he seemed to understand, the Mother was an official in one of our leagues, so I had to write a handwritten note of apology. She never spoke to me again, I understood, frankly she was a bit high maintenance, so it really didn’t bother me much.
So I guess the moral to my story is DO NOT be a smart ass to drunks, drug users, or mentally challenged people, especially if they look like a moving mountain. No good can come if it. Not to mention, that you could get hurt, or at least have to clean up a 200 pound Sweda cash register and it’s contents. Mainly just don’t be a smart ass ….. ever.
If you like this story, come listen to me on SKY 7 digital radio. You can hear me on Only Classic Rock channel, playing Classic Rock 7 days a week from Noon to 3 pm Arizona time. Listen in, you may hear some of my “Dean-isms.”
The Dean of Rock & Roll