My Brush With Fame

Observations of The World, You Don't Know The Jack | September 13th, 2008

[This is a true story, as best as I can embellish it. It did happen. The names have been changed because I don't remember any of them!]

The “North Side” is Minneapolis’ “ghetto”. The school I attended was called — ironically enough, “North High”, located right in the middle of that area. It must have been about 1985 and my occasional accomplice Sherman and I decided to skip class, take the bus across town to his home and get stoned on his mother’s weed.

It was a fine summer-like day. The sun was shining and our youthful zeal for chicanery got the best of us. We skulked across the school grounds on that fine morning, climbed over the fence (put there by well meaning bureaucrats to protect our innocence, keep us wild children in our proper cages, and to offer us no means of escape from the school yard hoodlums — and The Nazi, our truant seeking Vice Principal), escaped with not a scratch and walked the three long blocks to the bus-stop, which was a rumpled, soot encrusted steel and Plexiglas shelter on a barren street corner, plopped upon a goodly sized trash littered plot next to a boarded up apartment complex. Our beautiful city in all its glory!

Sherman was a very likable fellow, a mixture of the best genetic qualities of his mixed race heritage—the “Future Face of America,” as he would say. He had that intelligence and curiosity which the teachers found both endearing and infuriating at the same time. And he got along with everybody.

As we got closer to the bus-stop, we saw a seemingly dejected old man sitting on the plastic-planked bench inside the shelter. Sherman, being the gregarious that fellow he was, started talking with that old soul, whom I’ll call Stan.

Stan pulled out a bottle and we all shared it around — a pull of sweet citrus wine for each of us. Sherman gave Stan his last dollar for the bump and we had a fine time discussing the salient points of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — along with Stan’s struggles to discover any of those ideals in this cruel and evil world.

All the while a large, mangy and scraggly German Sheppard circled the desolation around us. Stan lovingly gazed at that dog with an intense despair in his lined face. “I don’t know what to do with her,” he said in a choked voice. “I just can’t keep her no more.”

I couldn’t take her home with me; my mother was sick in the hospital and our “Guardian” at the time had issues with the Canine Species. But Sherman could — and did. Stan was sad to see the dog go, but he seemed happy just the same, trusting that Sherman would care for her like she deserved. Sherman and that dog hit it off right away, and she willingly followed his commands, seemingly glad to go with us to her new home.

pages: 1 2

Leave a Comment