I can't believe how naive I am sometimes. I keep hoping as I get older it will get better. What if i get to be 80 years old and I STILL believe everything people say to me. Am I gonna be the old guy in that everyone plays tricks on because he believes everyone? No one is gonna play tricks on Fonz in the old folks home.
This all started with my friend Ralph Malph. The good news about our friendship is his name is nerdier than mine by far.
He could not wait to tell all of us about his latest adventures at Eddie's pink palace, the local strip joint. Of course, I had not been to one YET. In my defence you have to be 18 to get in. On the other hand, Ralph is not eighteen either. It always seems like the rest of the world is having more fun than me.
According to him there were several dancers that led up a Bubbles Mccall who took it all off. I was trying not to act flustered so that my friends would think I was cool and worldly. I wanted them to think that talking about completely naked woman was an everyday occurrence for me. I wish!
As usual, my attempts to be cool start off on a high note until an unexpected event causes them to crash and burn at record speed.
Right at the high point of the story Marsha, the annoying waitress, LOUDLY blurted out, "Telephone call for Richie Cunningham. It's your mother." SHOOT ME NOW! The combination of discussing naked woman and my mother on the line was quite a scary combination of worlds.
Of course Marsha refused to take a message. I quietly snuck off. I could not think of what to say. "Keep talking about Bubbles guys. I'll be right back after I talk to my mommy."
I swear my mom has a radar for embarrassing me. It's like she gets a chill and has no choice but to inject herself at the wrong times. NEVER FAILS!
She felt compelled to call me at Arnolds with a shopping list. At that very moment she had to have me pick up bread and "TP." TP? She was not even able to say toilet paper over the phone.
I told her I had to go because Ralph Malph was telling us about "biology." A woman who could not say toilet paper over the phone was not ready to hear that we discussed strippers and naked women over our malts and fries!
Such is the world that when I finally got back to the booth the "biology talk." was OVER! Thanks Mom!
Potsie got this crazy idea into his head that we could go there. He suggested fake IDs.. Where were we supposed to get fake ids? He mentioned we DO have a friend named Fonz. I suppose the fun of having a cool biker friend is he can help you get away with stuff like this. I was excited but worried. Every time I do something wrong I get caught. I figured this was worth the risk.
After dinner, Pots brough Fonz and his friend "Pockets." This guy screamed "HOOD." I'm open minded especially when I need an illegal favor but I was worried. I did not like the fact that this guy now knew where I lived. At that point my parents were drained of a color. Typical Pots!
I had no choice but to take them up to my room. Now, he would know where I sleep. If I offended him it would be easier for him to come find me and kill me in my sleep.
Since I was trying to be hep and mature mom got a chill and had to rush up to crash it. That is her mission in life.
She barged into my illegal activity and said "I thought you 'boys' might like some milk and cookies." The irony was I was pretending to be 18 or older while my mommy was serving milk and cookies.
Poor Pockets did not know what to do. I doubt he gets homemade cookies at all his clients' houses. He leaned quickly over the offending document.
Mom could not just leave it alone and make tracks. She HAD TO ask what was wrong with pockets. Potsie blurted out that he has the hiccups. Where does he come up with this stuff?
She FINALLY left. I foolishly thought it was over. About thirty second later, she burst back into the room and yelled out "BOO!"
She went on the say that it always worked for me when I had hiccups. I began to wish the ground would just open up and swallow me whole!
After all that, I did not get my ID! Pockets was too rattled and refused to do a second one. I found it hard to believe that having a day job helping people perform illegal activities was LESS stressful than my upstanding midwestern mother. Pottie was an "adult" but I still wasn't.
Pots seemed really happy. Why shouldn't be be? He had his ID. He told me that we would figure something out because it would not be the same without me.
I asked him if he really would not go without me. His loyal response was, "Oh well I'd still go but it would not be the same." I walked into that. I should have known. I figured he could go and I could just stay home and have milk and cookies with my mommy.
Things got better. Somehow Potsie got me an ID. I don't know how and I'm not sure I want to know. That Dunderhead has them put 25 as my age. I figured I can MAYBE be 18 but never 25. IF I made it in I was sure the end result would be worth it.
The name on the ID was Joe Kilwinski. Seriously? Do I LOOK like Joe Kilwinski? I was convinced this was never going to work out.
The night finally arrived. My appetite was weak at dinner. However it was NOT due to anxiety. It was due to the fact that Dad had a bad cold. He was hacking away at the table. He was TRYING to be considerate. However it was still gross.
Mom was trying to convince him to stay home from a business meeting he had planned. Apparently he had an annual meeting with an out of town client and it was vital to business. Although if the client ends up sick that could impact next year.
On the way, I was starting to chicken out. What if some tough bouncer beat us up for having a fake ID. How would I explain coming home battered up? I might get beat up AND grounded in the same night.
We saw one of the guys in front of us getting chased out for not being eighteen. IF I got caught I would only get yelled at and not punched out. That was SLIGHT comfort to me.
We intended to walk in like the ginchiest guys in town. It is difficult for me to be gincy and guilty at the same time. If I am guilty I look guilty. No amount of concentration or distraction can change my defensive body language.
The bouncer looked at my ID and back at me with intense scrutiny. My heart was beating so fast I was afraid he would actually be able to hear it. He gave me the ok
After I was cleared, I just stood there wondering what to do. I stupidly said,"So, I can just go in now? He looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.
My legs finally got their function back and I moved forward. I heard "Joe?" I looked around waiting for a guy named Joe to respond. After all my name is Richie. Finally, it dawned on me that at that moment in time I was Joe. OH! Apparently, I forgot to take back my ID.
I was so focused on getting through the line that I don't recall how Pots manage to get through. The important thing is he got through. I wondered if he would. After all everyone knows I am way more mature than him.
I had built this up in my mind as some big coming of age experience. It was no like that at all. They built up to Bubbles with toned down acts. The woman before her was definitely more attractive and mature than any girl in all of Jefferson High. However, I was unimpressed with her talent or enthusiasm. It was like she could not wait to get the dance over with and go home.
Potise admonished me for complaining. I was not denying that it was exciting to be watching the act. However, I went through all that trouble to lie about my age. Not to mention the anxiety about getting caught. I just thought it would be better than that.
This is where my evening took a most bizarre and unthinkable turn. I suddenly heard a sneeze. I realize that everyone sneezes. It sounds bizarre to say this, but I recognized the sneeze. When I told Potsie I thought I recognized the sneeze, He looked at me like he was ready to switch tables and pretend he did not know me.
I took my eyes off the dancer and slowly turned my head. What I saw next made me think that I was going to pass out cold and be tended to by the beautiful yet lackluster dancer.
I WAS right. That sneeze WAS familiar. I was my Dad. Yes, I said MY DAD! Why does bizarre stuff happen to me every time I do something wrong? What are the odds?
My immediate reaction was to flee the scene right away. I told Potsie that my father was behind us and he STILL wanted to stay and see Bubbles. I was too distracted by the prospect of being killed. He argued we had come this far and had to stay. His brilliant response was, "Well at least we will die with smiles on our faces." I could not argue with that. I did not want people at school to know I bolted nor that my father was there. I was not going anywhere.
It was hard to enjoy anything when you are scrunched up in an already uncomfortable seat trying not to be seen. I find that in life when we are trying too hard to avoid something it always works out in reverse.
I ended up being the center of attention. I think my body language made Bubbles feel sorry for me. I suppose she was a compassionate stripper. She removed her gloves and one of them landed directly on my head. Of course it did! I'm sure my face was probably redder than the cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.
This is where the night truly came crashing down. We thought she was at the part of the dance when she took it all off. Instead she abruptly turned and walked off. I was not even gonna die with a smile on my face.
Ralph is a good actor. The way he told that story has us convinced. I was annoyed with him because I went through all that angst AND was now risking getting into major trouble for NOTHING!
We narrowly escaped. So, that was one worry behind me. Potsie's commentary on the subject was, "What kind of world is this where you can't even escape your parents at a strip joint?" It was definitely a crashing combination of worlds.
The adrenalin rush of trying to escape wore off and the severity of the situation hit me. My father went to be a strip tease joint! Potsie did not understand at first why I was upset and stated that we also went.
That is a different situation entirely. I swear sometimes he just does not get it. We were wrong to go but we are teenagers and curiosity got the better of us.
However, I never thought my father would do something like that. He is married and supposed to be a pillar of the community. I felt angry that he taught me right from wrong and then turned around and did something so sleazy behind my back.
I have always valued his opinion and based my actions on his advice. No matter how I tried to frame it in my mind, a married man with three kids going to a striptease joint is wrong.
When I got home I was hoping to just avoid Dad altogether. I really hated that feeling. I normally enjoyed seeing him when I got home but this time I felt ashamed.
It did not turn out that way. I'm glad because this forced us to clear things up. Otherwise I could have gone on feeling anger and resentment.
At first I was upset because he told me he was at a "business meeting". So now he was lying to me on top of being sleazy.
What really made me feel disillusioned was I am honest to a fault. I am that way because HE taught that honesty is always best. That same person was looking me right in the eye and lying to me or so I thought. I tried to escape before I said or did something that showed my true feelings.
As I was trying to escape to my room he called after me, "You forgot your souvenir." He pulled the glove out of his pocket. My face went back to cranberry sauce red. I really WAS the center of attention. He knew all along! Why do I ALWAYS get caught when I do something wrong?
I had to turn over the ID. After tonight, I was glad to get rid of it. I was grounded for a week. That seemed mild all things considered. He looked at my ID and told me that if "Joe" were here he would have grounded him too.
We were able to clear up the misunderstanding. It really was a business meeting. It turns out this annual client enjoys the stripjoint. The better the stripper the more nails he sells. That certainly created a perverse image in my head. Mom knew all about it and understood the business aspect of it all.
I felt so much better. I must admit I felt bad for believing he was capable of that kind of behavior. I should have known there was a logical explanation. Next time, I will find out the truth before jumping to wild conclusions.
The next afternoon Arnolds was buzzing with the news that we went to Eddies pink palace. Word travels fast. One of our classmates came up to us and said he heard Bubbles "takes it all off." His excitement was more than palpable.
As usual, I was prepared to tell the truth. However, Potsie decided to tell the fabricated version. I should have known.
I gave him a hard time for that. See what I mean, I AM honest to a fault. I felt badly that we told someone else a lie. I remembered how disappointed we were. Thanks Dad for that lesson. I sometimes wish I could lie more easily like everyone else.
Fonz overheard and cleared it. up for us. His response was "Bull makes the world go 'round." AH! He decided it was so profound he needed to write it on the bathroom wall. There is no place like the bathroom wall for deep and profound poetry.