Tuesday, 24 March 2015


This story is an example of the saying: 'Great minds think alike and simple ones seldom differ.' It was a bit disappointing to the likes of JC because someone else actually perpetrated the gag before JC could. So I bring you this story which took place down in the Texas Panhandle. The way this one unfolds is almost a mirror to what JC actually planned. But some people have all the luck.

Some people are blessed with a sense of humor; some people are blessed with a boss who has a sense of humor; some people are blessed with a boss with no sense of humor whatsoever. And some are blessed to be part of a work crew with a sense of humor and a boss who has zero.

I guess you could say that about Frank and his devious band of goof-offs. They were born with a tremendous sense of humor while their boss had absolutely zero. Like--zero, nadda, zilch, zippo. The only time anyone saw the boss smile was when he was able to land an extra thousand in a deal and laugh all the way to his favorite vacation spot.

I don't know how a person could accurately describe the boss. He seemed obsessed with the rich and famous, having a passionate desire to be one of them. One could also say that because of his age, he was going through a mid-life crisis and didn't want to miss a thing. He was trendy and always wanted the latest in styles, be that clothes, vehicles or vacation homes; he had to have the latest in everything.

In addition he tended to regard himself as somewhat of a hard-core tough guy and craved that image. Maybe that's why he bought a new Harley Davidson motorcycle complete with souped up engine, T-shirt assortment, leather chaps and riding jacket, boots, and don't forget those bad-assed sunglasses with the HD logo embossed in gold. When the weather was nice and sunny, he rode his new toy to work and parked it right in front of the front window of the shop so that everyone coming in or going out would be sure to see it. I might add that when he didn't ride his bike, which was actually most of the time, he also parked his Corvette in front, likely to get the same reaction.

To keep up with his newly acquired biker image he, his wife and a few friends decided to attend HD's 100th birthday celebration in Milwaukee. Of course he and his friends had to preserve their untarnished image and look like real tough bikers when they rode into town. That's probably why he rented a motorhome (that dwarfed the average Greyhound bus), and an enclosed trailer into which they all loaded their bikes, leathers, sunglasses and (did I mention?) bad-assed gloves with the finger tips cut off.

The object of the game would be to drive almost to Milwaukee, set up their portable resort/spa in a posh campground about fifteen miles away then ride into town, formation style, looking like real hardcore bikers, clad in their shiny black leathers (sans bug splatter), sunglasses and bandanas (ditto, sans bug splatter)...

In 100 degree heat no less...

Yes they looked so bad that they could take down any bad-assed club in the world... Maybe they should start with trying to fight their way out of a wet paper sack first?

Oh how well Frank remembered seeing those pedestrians on their Rubberglides in Sturgis some years before that...

Yes, the boss had a bike, and an attitude. And a cellphone. To convey that tough-guy image he downloaded a super tough ringtone into said cellphone. From then on he would be greeted with Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild blaring through the speaker whenever someone phoned him.

After hearing this for a couple of weeks, and especially when the boss let it ring several times before picking up, Frank got more than a little irritated. In fact the entire shop staff was fed up, but none more than Frank or his close friend and co-worker, TJ.

TJ was a self-taught electronics whiz kid. It seemed that he could navigate his way around any device like a computer, engine analyzer or cellphone with enough speed and precision that would make one think that he'd been working on them all his life. It seemed that there was nothing TJ couldn't do with a device that used a bunch of zeros and ones as its code.

Frank and TJ got talking over coffee one morning and decided that morale in the shop was declining and it was about time someone made some effort to reverse that downward spiral. After some careful discussion it was decided that the best thing to do was pull another practical joke.

Now practical jokes were nothing new to this pair of devious villains. They had perpetrated such juvenile acts a couple of times before. There was a time when they took a couple of polyurethane shipping packets, activated them (by popping open A and B and allowing the two substances to mix) and stuck them into a couple of the boss's desk drawers before they had a chance to swell up. The boss came back, attempted to open a drawer only to find that it was hopelessly jammed shut by the now rigid foam pack. It took some effort with a long thin-bladed knife to slice through the substance and thus free the boss's drawers from captivity.

Then there was the time when the back shop needed a laptop computer to load the diagnostic software into so that the mechanics could analyze problems with modern computer-controlled vehicles and repair them. The boss refused to spring for a laptop, citing several reasons although Frank understood it to be more of a power trip; something that happened now and then. Consequently the boys in the back had no choice but to borrow a laptop from another shop across town whenever they needed to do some diagnostics. One busy afternoon the boss was walking through the shop when he noticed an object on one of the portable benches that was pushed back into the shadows. At first glance it looked like a laptop complete with the Windows Stars screen saver. There was even a keyboard. But on second glance the new laptop (with the shop's name embossed on it no less) was nothing more than a pizza box spray-painted black, a photo of a keyboard inside the bottom and what looked like the screen aslo turned out to be nothing more than a photo, tacked to the inside of the lid with clear tape.

'Trying to make me look like an idiot!' the boss spat out before he stormed out of the shop, jumped into his Corvette and lit out of the parking lot like a scared rabbit.

Sense of humor like a rhinocerous! If the truth be known, the boss did a good enough job of looking like an idiot all by himself...

Interestingly enough there was a new real laptop on the bench a couple of days later. The improvised unit disappeared, I'm sure, so that further attempts at mockery would be avoided.

So, like I said, staff morale was sliding downwards and everyone needed something to pick things up and cause a smile or two. One day the boss stormed through the shop, talking on his cellphone. He turned and came back the other way while he finished that call. Almost immediately Steppenwolf called out to let him know that another caller was on the line. Frank and TJ looked at each other and without saying a word knew exactly what they were going to do.

They just had to wait for the opportunity.

It wasn't even a week later that the moment had arrived. The boss had visitors in the form of a high-end client and a supplier and they offered to take him to lunch. They cleared out in a hurry leaving the boss's truck (yes he had a fancy 4 x 4 truck as well) behind. Actually it was parked in the shop, temporarily disabled for installation of yet another fancy electronic device.

While casually strolling through the shop Frank passed by the boss' truck. It was only by chance that he glanced into the truck's interior and noticed the boss' cellphone, barely protruding from a drink compartment in the center console. Interesting to see that, as the boss usually never let it out of his sight. In fact Frank made numerous comments to the theory that the boss likely showered with it. But there it was, sitting in a drink holder, and that was more than Frank could resist.

He called out to TJ who was there in a flash. A glance around the shop to ensure that all the other mechanics were on their lunch break and the latest practical joke was hatched. Actually is was finished almost as soon as it began, as the task took less than a minute, once TJ got past the phone's security. The phone was carefully placed in the same position as it was found, and when lunch was over the mechanics finished up the task just in time to give the boss his truck back.

A walk (more like a trot) through the place and the boss was in his truck headed for the golf course.

Now the next part of this story is at best an educated guess from my sources but there was also some input from some bystanders who witnessed most of what happened. Of course, if you were to ask the boss, he'd more than likely deny that it ever happened at all. But as it was he met his buddies at the golf course and after a few practice shots in the lounge they were on the course Tee-ing off. It was the third hole and the boss was up. He was into his back swing when he felt the telltale buzz at his hip warning him that his phone was about to ring.

'Macho-macho man! I just wanna be a macho man!'  The Village People blasted from the cellphone. This resulted in the entire group dissolving into laughter. Well, I should make a correction here and say everyone but the boss was laughing. The boss completely missed his swing, then, being both rather embarrassed and pissed right off by that quartet's outburst, shouted out an oath, and angrily pitched his cellphone a hundred yards away (or so the witnesses said) into the water hazard. Witnesses were certain that they heard the People still chanting a burbling version of Macho man as the phone sank to the bottom to join the numerous golfballs and cellphones that were already there.

Of course it took some time to live that one down. People would phone the shop and ask to speak to Macho Man. The bold ones even came into the shop asking for Macho Man in person. Even his business partner phoned the shop, person to person, asking for Macho Man.

Life is so tough...

When the boss obtained a new cellphone, it had a meek traditional ringtone. Frank had to resist the temptation both to download an Easy Rider screen saver or a Born To Be Wild ringtone on his own device because that would be close to admitting guilt.

Wouldn't it?