The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Adventures In Tanning

With Jason and Cindy's wedding coming up this weekend, and I have been worrying about something: my bald head.

Since I am bald, I wear a Red Sox ball cap most of the time. It keeps my head warm during the cold winters and during the summers it keeps the sun out of my eyes and keeps most of the sweat out of my eyes too. It also keeps many of the stares down to a minimum. So many women see my slick and shaven head and always pester me with pleads to rub my bald head. have to wear a hat or I am mobbed on the streets by beautiful women. What can I say, it's not easy to be a sex symbol.

But I can't wear a hat to a wedding.

So what am I going to do. Well, I don't mind going hatless. It's all right. I am fine with my baldness. I have accepted it and come to turns with the fact that I will never have a full head of hair again.

But since I haven't gotten any sun on my head lately, it is very, very white. The worst is on the side of my head because I still have hair that grows on the sides. So it always seems to be a lot paler than the top of my head. I call it the whitewall effect.

So I decided I needed to do something about this. I don't want to blind anyone at a wedding with the glare from my head. I thought maybe about wearing a wig to cover up the glare. But instead I decided to do something about the paleness of my head.

I went tanning yesterday.

I have never been in a tanning booth before. I walked in to my apartment office (we get tanning for free) where there were two rather attractive girls working the desk. I stammered that I needed to go tanning because I had a wedding to go to this weekend. They both looked at me kind of funny. I then admitted that I had never been tanning before. I must have looked like a little lost dog to these girls.

"How long do you want to go?"

"I don't know."

She looked at me to check out how pale I was. I am pretty pale. She suggested that I go for 6 minutes or so. She handed me this really, really small towel which I had no idea what it was for. She told me to go to room number #1 and start tanning. I looked at her blankly.

"I am serious, I have no idea what to do."

She led me down to the little room. She started to rattle off instructions. Clean the bed before and after. Hit the little green button when you are ready to turn it on. Make sure to turn on the fan or your will feel like you are in an oven. I looked at her blankly again. She repeated the instructions. I repeated them to her quickly.

"Clean before and after, green button, fan, 6 minutes..."

"Yup," she said, "good luck."

That made me nervous. Good luck? Why do I need luck to tan? Am I going to look like a Thanksgiving turkey when I come out?

I closed the door. I got some paper towels and some cleaning solution and wiped down the entire bed. Then I got the Lysol and sprayed it all over the bed. After wiping the Lysol of the tanning bed, I went for the cleaning solution one more time. I figured I cleaned it pretty good.

The next dilemma was what to wear. I thought for a second about stripping all the way. Then, I began to imagine the worst sunburn I have ever had. Then I imagined said worst sunburn on the worst possible spot on my body that I could think of. After a minute of wincing with just that thought, I decided to just strip down to my boxers.

I laid down in the tanning bed. Okay, I thought, this isn't so bad. I pulled the cover down. Okay, still not too bad. It was kind of like getting an MRI. I suddenly remembered that I didn't have any of those funny little glasses. Well, I figured I could just close my eyes. I also remembered to turn on the fan next to me.

All right, now that I remembered everything, I hit the little green button.

The lights flickered on. Wow, those things sure are bright. Even with my eyes closed, I could still see some of the light. I finally let my mind wander on the entire experience. I imagined that I was one of Kenny Roger's roasted chickens. I could feel the heat bearing down on me. I remembered that my entire purpose was to get my head some sun so I took the pillow that my head had been resting on and threw it to the ground.

It seemed like I was in there for an eternity. Finally, the bed beeped and the lights turned out. I opened up the bed and got out. I looked in the mirror, and to my enjoyment, my head had gotten some color into it. I hadn't turned into a Kenny Roger's chicken. Truthfully, I couldn't tell much of a difference.

The only difference I could tell is that I felt as vain as I ever have in my life. Would this tanning bed trend turn me into a different person? Would I start to wear gold medallions? Would I start to show off my chest hair more and more? Would I feel an urge to wear jogging suits and buy a Camero?

I wiped down the bed again. I put on my clothes. I walked out to see my roommate laughing at me. He thought it was funny. Truth is I thought it was funny too. Luckily, the urge to find any sports car in an issue of Car Trader either was negligible or past too quickly for me to act on it.

I am ashamed of myself. I can't believe I went to a tanning bed. I felt so weird.

And the worst part, I am going back tonight.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tids & Bits

1. I am officially never eating at Applebee's ever again. I didn't eat there this past weekend. I can't even remember the last time I have been to Applebee's. But after watching the NCAA tournament this past weekend and seeing that stupid Applebee's commercial over approximately every 27.8 seconds. Are you serious, you are going to try and sell me seafood by singing a horrible rip-off of the Giligan's Island theme? Is there any sort of tax I can pay so they never show that freaking commercial again?

2. Last week I was at a client's office. He asked me what the problem was with his program. I said, "I don't know what, but don't worry, we'll git' r done." I was in shock. My coworker looked at me horrifically. Wow, did I really just say "git' r done" in a non-ironic way to a client? I felt so ashamed of myself.

3. I saw that dog again. That huge dog that was taking a crap in the middle of the road on Valentine's Day. Wow, evidently my morning commute and his daily constitution are one and the same.

4. I bought a XM radio yesterday. I love it. I drove to work this morning and heard John Prine, Matthew Sweet, Frank Sinatra, Talking Heads, Damien Rice, and Ernest Tubb. That would never be heard on normal radio. It seems as though I have really been listening to two channels as of late. There is an old school rap station that I have been listening to a lot. But I have also been listening to a lot of Hear Music (Music of Starbucks). Listening to music from Starbucks makes me feel like a bit of a sell out. But I began to think about it and I am Starbuck's marketing target, so why wouldn't I love their music. I still feel silly listening to the music of Starbucks. I also got to listen to Mr. Tony (Kornheiser) this morning. I forgot how much I missed his radio show that used to be on ESPN radio.

5. I have been loving the new season of The Soprano's. It was worth the wait. I can see the plotlines progressing well, and think I know what is going to happen this season. I am sure I am wrong though, and I am sure I will be surprised every week. But after The Sopranos, I have been watching this new show Big Love. It is about polygamy. It started out just being mildly creepy. But now it is distubingly creepy. I feel dirty watching it.

6. Somehow, I am tied for 1st place in my bracket league. I have no idea how or why. I figured with Ohio State and Tennessee would have done me in, but they didn't. If Gonzaga, Duke and UCONN make it in, I will win.

7. I am really excited about Jason and Cindy's wedding this weekend down in Little Rock. I am positive it is going to be a beautiful ceremony. Jason and Cindy are two of the most wonderful people I have ever met. I wish them all the best. And from the sounds of things, the reception is going to be a lot of fun. There will be lots of dancing and a o-p-e-n-b-a-r from what I hear. Should be a lot of fun. Hopefully it is more fun than the last wedding I went to 4 1/2 years ago. I had to tell my best friend, the groom, that his video camera (that he purchased solely to record his wedding) wasn't turned on because his wife's friend couldn't figure out that the little red button meant record. I honestly thought he was going to deck me. It was a stressful day indeed.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Blasting Tupac

My friend Jesse giggles rather than laugh. It is really funny. It is as though he tries with all his might to hold in the laughter, but inevitably, he cannot help himself and lets out these little giggles.

A couple of nights ago, I was talking to my old friend Jesse and I got him to giggle. I always consider it a conquest to make Jesse giggle just like I consider it a conquest to make my father laugh. Usually, it is the other way around.

Jesse and I were recounting our wild and crazy times back in Rhode Island. We both recounted the stupid and funny things we used to do. Every now and again, we get together on the phone and recall the memories of an equally dark point in our lives. We don't tell the stories often because most of the stories and what we associate with those stories are heartbreaking. The things we saw, the hurt inflicted on children by the world and their parents was mostly too much to bear. Even then, we knew it was too much. We could feel the darkness eating at our souls a lit bit at a time. So we lived crazy whenever we had any days off. We drank too much, we did too many drugs, and we spent way too much money trying to do more.

So now, we recount a few of the memories and try to laugh.

Somehow, we got on the topic of one of our old students, one of our old kids. His name was D (name withheld) and he was huge. And when I say huge, I mean huge. This kid was probably 6 foot plus a few inches and well over 350 pounds.

D was a rough kid. Both of his parents died of AIDS within a year of each other when he was really young. He lived with his Aunt, but didn't get much attention. At least not positive attention. He stole anything he wanted to. He assaulted anyone in his way. No telling what else he had done.

But Jesse took a real interest in him. And since Jesse was my best friend, I took an interest in him as well. We sat up with him those nights that he had nightmares about his parents. We held him as he cried. We helped him write a letter to his mother on the anniversary of her death, and helped him burn that letter in the campfire that same night. We listened to his stories of the streets and we tried to help him understand the right and wrong way to do things.

One day, the students got to go home for a weekend. D didn't have a ride home so Jesse and I volunteered to take him back to Providence. I remember we sped away down that old gravel road in Jesse's old beater of a car with D in the back seat. The car looked like it had a busted back axle when D was in the back. We had the windows rolled down and we were blasting Tupac on the radio. Jesse was driving like a bat out of Hell and we were both singing along to "Dear Momma." When we got into the rough side of Providence, Jesse turned the radio up as loud as it could and we both began to rap even louder.

I hung around with tha thug's and even though they sold drugs,
they showed a young brother luv
I moved out and started really hang'in
I needed money of my own so I started slang'in
I ain't guilty cause, even though I sell rocks
It feels good, putting money in your mailbox
I love paying rent when tha rents due
I hope ya got tha diamond necklace that I sent to you

D looked at us both and laughed, "You guys are the two craziest whiteboys I've ever seen."

(Jesse would later say that that should have been a scene in a movie.)

When we finally dropped him off, he showed us around his house. He showed us his "mean ass dog" that he had been raising. His "mean ass dog" tried to take a bite out of my hand, so I excused myself rather quickly. We gave D a hug and some daps before leaving.

When Jesse and I were walking back out to the car he looked over at me and said, "D is a bad kid. He makes horrible decisions and let's others dictate how he feels and what he does. One day he will be going into a bank to rob it, and I hope he remembers this day. I hope he realizes how disappointed we will be with him and it makes him not want to rob that bank. Really, that's all we can hope for."

I agreed.

That was five and a half years ago. When Jesse and I were talking a few days ago on the phone, he wondered aloud what ever happened with D. I told him I didn't know.

But I lied. I don't have the heart to tell Jesse the truth.

The truth is that D is in jail. Last time I checked, he was listed on a prison inmate roll I found on the Internet. Though, I am not sure what it was exactly he did, I am sure it was pretty bad. I can only hope that whenever he gets out, he will think of the two craziest whiteboys he has ever met. Hopefully, he will remember all those sleepless night and realize how proud of him we will be if he does the right thing.