A person I know, probably not my son...

1 Week. Spring Break. He's not having a good time. Home to visit family, friends, to Calgary, he's finding that he has less and less in common with everyone he once knew. Friends, they're boring and conservative. They go for drinks...

The clubs, he wants to hit HiFi on my recommendation, they're happy at the National. Chalk and Cheese. And, being outnumbered, he invariably capitulates, the nights grow long and without purpose. I understand, been out with those friends, but we have the bars we compromise on, The Ship and Anchor springs to mind...and failing compromise I'll just say "Fuck it, see you later". The National, on 10th, a good source of vacuously good looking bimbos and juice monkeys, I'll do it for an hour, tops, then we gotta find someplace a little more interesting, this isn't my scene, not by a long-shot...his rare nights out are wasted...

There's a Burlesque show at Arts Commons, U of C, the point of burlesque, adult humor, ribald, suggestive, naughty, sexy, fun, erotic, but it doesn't cross the line into pornography, imagine a more sophisticated striptease where the girls get to keep all of their dignity and some of their clothes and you have the idea...a civilized but rambunctious night out, I urge him to go, I'll pay, I can't or I would, I have to work (Always, always, but spring is coming and the plan is brewing...), He tries to persuade his friends to come, he'll pay, they don't want to, think it's perverted. He's irate beyond measure, wants only to get back to Victoria...

An excellent example of what he probably didn't miss: 

'ResponsiveMedia' plugin by Geoff Hayward.

I completely get it. It's the old Thomas Wolfe - "You can't go home again...".

I'd given him a set of portable lockpicks for Xmas, hidden inside a bogus credit card, for emergency use, or practice, the thought, inspiration, that he might become a double nought spy...he got busted with them flying from Victoria here, interrogated, released, he's not flown with them since, decides he's going to practice. On with a pair of old handcuffs...

Nobody with a high-school education should find themselves in handcuffs for longer than 5 minutes. No child of mine, anyways, the quick release and then vengeance, but the gaps in my parenting are soon exposed....I'd never taught him how to pick handcuffs, you don't need lockpicks, they're for the barrel-tumbler locks, like doors and padlocks and such, for handcuffs a bent piece of wire, a paperclip would suffice, or slender aluminum shank, to slide between the ratchets...

Half an hour later the cuffs had grown so tight the circulation to his hands is cut off, they began to swell, turn purple, he drives himself to the police station. They can't help, their keys don't work, they're not amused. From here to the firehall, where the firemen eventually use bolt cutters to remove them.

If he'd of called me, I could have told him how, but then, being in that situation would not be the position to call me from. I get it. He tells the story without any sheepishness, he's resigned, knows exactly how it appears, I laugh, it's without a doubt the best story I've heard in a while...

For future reference. Practice picking handcuffs before putting them on. When you've mastered that, then put them on and pick them. When you've mastered that, practice picking them when they're on behind your back. And if you haven't mastered it, for god's sake, keep a set of keys handy...

There are a couple of morals here, one, if you find yourself in any way needing the assistance of the police or fire department things have probably gone very wrong for you. And two, maybe don't go to the police for help...they aren't generally of any reasonable assistance.

I try to reassure him, he's bright, I can understand this, we've all been in similar positions...

"Don't worry...(the daughter) will be the rocket scientist. You just work on being an actor...."

On yet another slow evening, after a tedious shift that lasted much too long, I find on the floor of the coat check a small gold bracelet. Hearts, inset with diamonds, a pricey little bauble, I have an idea who it belongs to, the drunken last table, they'll be back for it...

Tuck it in a drawer, think nothing of it, the next day they pick it up.

A*****, he tells the nephew about it. And his face drops, he can't believe I returned it, he's frothing at the mouth, spitting, he coins a new nickname for me:

"Rodding Hood - Steals from the poor and gives to the rich..." 

He's strongly of the mind that it's finders-keepers. That we could all have denied finding it, she could have lost it anywhere, we could have all pawned it and split the money, and for the rest of the week I'm treated to absurd sketches of how we should all band together to give our tips to our richest of customers, help them to buy better luxury cars, newer model Ferrari's and Lamborghini's, "Mother Teresa...Santo Dio..."

I argue from moral absolutes, it's the right thing to do, he'd have done the same I'm sure, but the continued comedy has begun to have me doubting...

We've a late table, another one that doesn't understand when exactly we close, and makes an afternoon of a "business lunch". The one, an elderly Italian, the other, a strapping, blousy tart, coworker of the Italian.

The owner discovers them, he's in a rare temper today, swinging between extremes, sits down, begins to work on the tart...

He tells her of his hunting, he's bagged a trophy whitetail deer. I can hear the conversation from where I stand watching the table, trying not to eavesdrop, but they're the only table in the restaurant...this is true.

When she goes the bathroom he confirms with the guest that she's not his lover...doesn't want to be too forward...indiscreet...

He's shot a couple of elk, they've gotten away...true. "Coyote Food" is how he describes them to me, they won't live, but somehow they eluded his stalking...

But the story's just gotten a whole lot better, he's drawing in the blousy tart...

"I tracked it for 4 hours through the snow, following the blood, I was amazed it lived, and then I discovered the scent had been picked up by a grizzly bear...it charged me...what was I to do? I didn't want to shoot it, although it was charging me, so I fired into the air..." 

And we've crossed the line here into complete and utter bollocks, but if she buys it, well, good for him...

The regulars all ask, and I try to explain..."The owner...and him...they decided it was time for him to go out into the world...the owner said to him...'here., my son,..take my Maserati...I filled it with gas for you...take my credit card...spend the money as you see fit...I have written the Pope, and received this dispensation for you...return whenever you are able or so inclined..."

Me and A*****, we are both weeping wishing it was us, leaving the family hearth to go into the world and find our fortunes...

The customers, wisely, laughing, they know, don't care, they know the story, they've seen or heard it time and time again...still they'll come back, the suffering and death of fools is their dinner...