There are things that you do in your life that make you wonder about yourself as you reflect on them. Sometimes they’re shocking in the moment, but often it takes the patina of time to put the right finish on them. As I’ve stated ad nauseam in these posts, I’ve met and known a lot of weird people, seen a lot of odd things, and been directly involved in a few of them myself. I’ve been told that I attract them. But, since I’ve started writing some of them down, I think my mind has started subconsciously organizing them for me and I’ve made some connections that hadn’t occurred to me before. One of them is that I have a bunch of stories that revolve around peeing and also about a guy named Chris. Most are separate. One is together.
My high school friend Chris was from Rush City. It seems that every rural town has other towns within driving distance around it that are kind of like the neighborhood of towns. And, one of those towns is usually nearly completely filled with insane, scary, and just plain weird people. Rush City was ours when I was growing up and Chris was right in the middle of that vibe. Details were disclosed, stories were told, decisions were made, or things were observed in Chris and his family’s life that made us stop and say “What?!” or “Wait…” or “You’re serious?!” He was serious.
For example, Chris and his brother along with their Dad went deer hunting together and they set their deer stands up in trees fairly close to each other. At some point, an extremely unfortunate deer decided to sprint past their positions. Being “gun enthusiasts” let’s say, each man was armed with a semi-automatic rifle with a high capacity magazine and as the doomed creature was seen by each man in turn, they opened up on it as though they were in combat. Not surprisingly, the animal shortly thereafter perished. Upon inspection, the carcass was found to have 18, count them, 18 bullet holes in it. Six bullets from each man. Let’s hope, if the Russians ever invade America as they did in the movie Red Dawn, they choose Rush City for their target. Problem solved. The rest of us can watch it on the news.
I also remember meeting Chris’ parents for the first time. They were super nice and friendly people who treated me like family from day one. I’m not sure if that family part was a good thing, however. As we sat at their table eating supper that night, the conversation drifted to some wild things that Chris had gotten in trouble for and his parents told a few stories to embarrass him as any good parent should on occasion. Then, Chris’ Dad said “Have you told Dave about your one day “relationship” with the neighbor?” Chris looked a little nervous and he suggested to his Dad that I didn’t need to know about that particular story. But, his Dad was fired up and went on to tell us about how Chris had been flirting with the neighbor lady one day and she had invited him into her trailer. Well, their “relationship” progressed quickly from that point on and they were getting to know each other very well in the deep recesses of the trailer when the third actor in this drama entered the scene. The woman’s husband. Chris’ parents heard shouting and screaming through the open windows of their trailer and they looked out to see the back door of the neighbor’s trailer fly open and their mostly naked son leap out of it with one hand holding his pants around his waist and the other holding the rest of his clothes. In the future, Chris would get a football scholarship to the University of Minnesota, but at that point he was using his natural athletic ability to avoid being murdered in a mobile home park. Chris’ Dad laughed until he was almost in tears as he described the scene and how quickly Chris made it from the neighbor’s home to his own. The friendly neighbor lady’s husband soon followed and was not laughing or friendly. Chris’ Dad met him outside and somehow managed to save everyone from being killed and the irate husband skulked back to his trailer and adulterous wife. Chris just shook his head as his Mom and Dad talked and laughed and reminisced about this cherished family story. I said things like “What?!” and “Wait…” and “You’re serious?!” a bunch of times. They were serious. It was Rush City.
Chris was arrested at a young age for being involved in something like a small riot at a club called The Gay 90’s in Minneapolis. He was on probation when I met him for the first time at the grocery store in our town where we both worked. Apparently, he had been drunk in a van with a bunch of guys who thought it would be fun to drive the 60 miles to Minneapolis to harass some gay guys. So, they did it and when the ensuing fight spilled into the street, Chris saw one of his friends get hit with a beer bottle and he decided it was time to get off the bench. He punched the guy with the broken bottle and grabbed his buddy to help him to the van. The other Rush City boys had gotten to the van already and started to leave, but when they saw Chris and the beer bottle battered boy (nice!) running after them they swung the back doors of the van open and the driver slammed on the brakes just as Chris and the BBBB were getting there. Consequently, they both ran into the end of the van doors and got knocked out cold. And, like the morons they were, the guys in the van decided that the best course of action was to drive away and head back to Rush City. So, Chris and his two time battered friend were out cold on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, 60 miles from home, drunk, probably 14 or 15 years old, and being chased by a hostile homosexual horde. (Nice!) Imagine getting that phone call as a parent. Again, “What?!” and “Wait…” and “You’re serious?!”
Chris’ violent streak was impressive to me at the time and I still admire his passion and willingness to fight for things. I think that has been mostly lost these days in most people. I don’t condone beating up people for stupid reasons, of course, but there is a time for war as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes. I admire people who defend themselves and others who need it and I admire good police officers and soldiers who fight for each of us every day. Chris fought now and then. He was a peaceful guy, generally, but if he was pushed he would give a few warnings and if they weren’t heeded he would fight instead of running. I admired that. Also, there was more fighting in those days and less shooting. I think people were allowed to vent a little and get it out of their systems before the rage turned into homicide. But, that’s just a rough hypothesis. Obviously, there are a lot of variables in that equation.
Chris and I were roommates our freshman year of college too. That year, we worked at Kohl’s in Northtown Mall and Chris dated a girl named Natalie who also worked there. Like the deer who ran past the family deer stands, there was a guy who worked with all of us who decided to put the moves on Natalie. I don’t remember his name, but he wore tie dyed shirts and sandals and was tall and awkward and had poofy and curly brown hair. He was also a pretty bad worker, from what I remember of picking up his slack. Anyway, after repeated warnings to leave Natalie alone, Chris took action. I drove us to work that night and as we were leaving Chris saw the guy and he asked me to stop the car for a second. I didn’t realize what was going on, I just stopped the car because he asked me to stop. Chris jumped out and put up his hand in a friendly gesture and called the guy’s name. “Hey, Mike!” Something like that. The guy was talking with a few others and he peeled off to walk toward Chris. Chris started jogging over to meet him and as he got close he punched “Mike” really hard in the face and Mike went down. Chris stood there for a moment and said “Stay away from my girlfriend!” and then walked back to the car and climbed in. He was as calm as could be. He turned to me and smiled and said “Let’s go.” Mike was getting up off the ground and as we drove by Chris waved to Mike, his girlfriend Natalie, and the rest of our coworkers.
Well, despite his time on the Kohl’s parking lot pavement, Mike persisted in his efforts to woo Natalie a few weeks later and Chris found out. I was studying at our apartment and Chris came in looking crazy and sweaty like he might be having a heart attack. He said “Where are the golf clubs?” I said “Whoa, buddy. What’s up?” He explained Mike’s efforts and his plan to head to Mike’s house with a golf club and “take care of it”. I suggested that might not be the best plan considering his probationary status and for a number of other reasons, but over my reasoning and the protests of our other roommate who owned the golf clubs Chris left with the promise “I’ll replace it” as he held the club out to the guy.
He came back without the club a while later and he had that same calmness as when he’d gotten back into the car after Chris -vs- Mike 1. I asked a few questions and didn’t get a lot of answers other than “Don’t worry about it.” Eventually, Chris said “The police might be showing up at some point, so just tell them I’m not here.” Me: “What?!” and “Wait…” and “You’re serious?!” Chris: “Don’t worry about it. I didn’t kill him or anything. The pussy wouldn’t even come out of his house.” I explained that I thought that was a pretty good plan if an enraged athlete showed up at my house with a golf club and demanded that I come outside. Chris explained that he had basically done that earlier and that Mike hadn’t made an appearance other than to yell at him through the screen door along with his parents and to threaten to call the police. So, as anyone would do in his position, Chris walked to the end of their driveway and beat their mailbox off the post with the club and then threw it at their house as hard as he could. “So, you just left the golf club there with your fingerprints on it?” I asked. I watched too many crime shows. “I had no choice,” he said. “Why?” “It went through their picture window.” Me, as usual, “What?!” and “Wait…” and “You’re serious?!”
Not shockingly, the police showed up about twenty minutes later and knocked on the door. Chris calmly walked into the living room, grabbed a book, sat on the couch, and started to read. “Tell them I’m not here,” he said. I experienced a great deal of stress during the next few moments. The knocking continued along with “Police. Open the door.” I opened the door wide and just stood there looking like I had wielded the golf club. “Does Chris (lastname) live here?” Yes. “Is he here now?” Yes. “Can we speak with him, please?” Yes, just a moment. I walked around the corner and Chris gave me a disgusted look like I was such an amateur. He wasn’t angry and he didn’t feel betrayed or anything like that. He was disappointed. That’s what the look said. I said “The police are here and they’d like to talk to you?” He said “Why?” I said nothing and he gave me the look again. Amateur. As he came around the corner, he turned to look at the officers and a handsome smile lit up his face. But, there was a hint of confusion there too. “Hi, I’m Chris. What’s going on?” He was concerned. Calm, handsome, happy, concerned Chris. The police asked him if he knew Mike and Chris said that he did and that they worked together at Kohl’s. Had he been at Mike’s house about an hour ago? “No…” Confused. “We’re not friends, we just work together.” “So, where were you an hour ago?” “I was here, studying.” Here it comes, I thought. “Right, Dave?” Then, there was a different look. I said “He has been here studying.” Chris’ eyes looked at me and said “Good! You’re learning!” with a little smirk. I felt like I was about to go to prison for life without the possibility of parole for misleading the police. And, being a natural criminal, I also thought that I might puke or pass out or both at any moment. While I technically hadn’t lied, I didn’t tell the clear truth either. Innocent, calm, concerned Chris turned back to the officers and explained how he and Mike had a disagreement about Chris’ girlfriend Natalie recently and that Mike had argued with him in the parking lot the other night. “Mike said you hit him,” one of the officers said. “What?! That’s crazy. I didn’t hit him!” misunderstood and persecuted Chris said. “I don’t know what his problem is, but I wish that he would just stay away from me and Natalie. He’s harassing both of us!” The officers exchanged a look and asked a few more simple questions before leaving with the warning “You should stay away from Mike and his family. We’ll get this sorted out and we may be back to ask you more questions.” Chris said “Okay, believe me, I don’t want anything to do with that guy.” The officers gave us one more long look and left. Chris closed the door and turned to me with his finger over his lips. He knew me and the flood of words that was coming.
In the end, we had a falling out with our other roommate and we moved home near the end of the school year. Chris had come home early from school and found our roommate having sex with another guy right there in front of him when he opened the apartment door. He had promptly shut the door and come to find me and tell me about it. We decided to talk to the guy about it and figure out how to handle it afterwards. When we got back to the apartment late that evening, the locks had been changed. We knocked, but the door never opened. We stayed with my parents that night. The next day while the guy was at work, I gave Chris a boost to the second floor apartment’s deck and he climbed up to the third floor deck to our apartment and went in through the patio door. He let me in the hallway door and we moved most of our stuff out and left. The roommate had stolen a lot of our things and it was really annoying, but we decided just to cut our losses and be done with it. I was really upset that he stole my Led Zeppelin “Houses of the Holy” CD. Jerk!
Chris never replaced the golf club and the police never came looking for him. I will never understand how he got away with that rampage. There were no repercussions from the punch or the clubbing except for the fact that Natalie broke up with Chris for being so violent and started dating Mike. I did not see that one coming. Karma?
(How long is this going to go on? He hasn’t even gotten to the peeing parts yet! Who cares about your stupid Zeppelin CD!!)
I did a lot of sleep walking and talking until my early twenties. My family and roommates, including Chris, gave me reports of my nocturnal activities. Sometimes I would wake up in a different room from where I went to sleep. This was disorienting. Usually, when I was little, I would just walk into my parents’ room and ask them for orange juice or stuff by pillows and blankets behind their door and start crushing them over and over again until they put me back to bed. One night, while crushing my bedclothes, my Mom asked me what I was doing. She said that I turned to her and said “I’m putting my blankets behind the door.” in a voice and with a look that suggested she was a complete moron for asking because it was so obvious. She thought that was pretty funny when she told me about it years later. In one incident, while my parents were having a party with some of their friends, 2nd or 3rd grade David walked out into the middle of the kitchen and peed in the trash can in front of all of them. My parents did not find this to be nearly as amusing. Another time, while my Dad was watching the Twins game, ten or twelve year old David walked out of his room and down the hallway toward the living room. As my Dad looked up, he said that I opened the door to the basement, undid my pants, and peed down the basement steps. After finishing, I put everything back in its place, closed the door, and went back to bed. Of course, my Dad did nothing to stop me and eventually went and got my Mom to clean it up. She was not pleased with me or him. After they told me about it the next morning, my Mom was still disgusted and asked my Dad “Why didn’t you stop him?!” “I was watching the game,” he said. I always found out about these incidents the next morning or even years later. It was like there was another me that was operating behind my back and using my body without asking permission. It was disconcerting.
Around that same time, my best friend Nick dared me to pee on the neighbor’s electric fence. I think he offered me five bucks, even, so I pretty much had to do it. I started peeing and nothing happened. Nick was laughing and he decided to join me and we were both peeing on the fence for a moment until the charge came around. Maybe the farmer saw us and quickly ran and turned up the power. Mr. Melvin Hanson would have done that for sure and gotten a good laugh out of it. This is the same man that shot my “killer dog” that was “trying to kill his goats”. It was a wiener dog. He had used a shotgun. The dog had survived despite the vet saying there was nothing he could do for him and sending us home with a “Good luck.” My Dad was angry about that for years and made a comment to Mr. Hanson about it whenever he had the opportunity. Anyway, when the electrical charge came around, both Nick and I were knocked to the ground and I think that I lost consciousness for a moment. I remember our shoulders bumping as we were peeing and laughing and then I was on the ground and wondering what had happened. What I’m saying is that I’m pretty sure I got knocked out with an electric charge that came through my penis. That sounds even worse now that I’m typing it out here. Regardless, no harm, no foul, Mr. Hanson. Let’s move on.
My Dad and I picked up my Uncle John one time and we were bringing him over for supper. He needed to pee and he asked my Dad to stop, so he swung into a filling station and parked by the door. Looking back, I think it was just a repair shop because they were closed when they should have been open and my Uncle was disgusted because you needed a key for the bathroom door and we couldn’t get it. He looked down at me and said “Come on…” as he gestured toward the back of the station with his thumb. When I got around the corner, he was already pulling his equipment out and starting his business while he grumbled about the place being closed. He told me to do the same, so I did. Then he turned and started peeing on a car that was parked there and he told me to do the same, so I did. He said “We need to teach them a lesson.” I don’t think they learned anything from this urine assault, but it sure made John feel better. Again, I felt like a criminal and that the police would be coming at any moment to put us in jail for our wild urination. They didn’t, but as we walked back to the car my uncle tapped me on the shoulder and he gave me a wink and a smile as he looked down at me. I smiled back and I felt like we had a funny secret after that.
After sleeping in the NBC building in Manhattan one night because we couldn’t afford a room, I really had to pee. One of my companions who was from another borough of the city, said “Just pee.” I was confused, so he explained “Just find a place and pee. People do it all the time. There’s nowhere to pee in this fucking place.” So, taking his advice, I sneaked behind a large planter at 2020 Rockefeller Plaza right by the golden statue of Prometheus and started peeing a long, strong, and satisfying morning pee. As soon as the first drop hit the ground, the guy started pointing at me and yelling “Hey! What are you doing?!! HEY! There’s a guy pissing over here!! He’s just pissing everywhere!! HEY!!!!” His shouting went on as long as the peeing did. I started laughing out of embarrassment because dozens of people were now looking at me and also just because it was really funny which made it harder to finish. I felt like I peed for about five minutes rather than the 30 seconds it probably lasted. Again, I was not arrested and the only thing my buddy got was the satisfaction of pulling a really good prank and a hard punch in the arm.
Most are separate. One is together.
One night in High School, Chris and I were driving around in his yellow Mustang and bored. This was often the case and we would just drive around and look at stuff while listening to music on cassette tapes and talking. Suddenly, Chris had an idea and he headed north out of town toward Rush City. He eventually made a series of turns and we ended up at the end of a bridge that crossed over Highway 35. We’re talking about US Interstate 35 that runs from Duluth, MN to Texas. This bridge was out in the country and had no on or off ramps attached to it. It had a dirt road on either side of the freeway and the bridge deck was also covered in gravel. It was probably only used by farmers whose land had been divided by the freeway construction. Chris jumped out and started walking up the bridge. “Where are you going?” “Come on!” he said. As we got to the other side of the bridge, I realized where we were and then I saw Chris unbuttoning his pants. “What are you doing?” “I’m going to pee on some cars,” he said. So, we did. We undid our pants, climbed up onto the wall of the bridge, and peed down onto the southbound lanes of I-35 as cars streamed past. We were both laughing really hard and it’s surprising that we didn’t fall onto the freeway and get run over with our pants around our ankles. The honking horns and perturbed stares of the people looking up at us with their necks cranked to peer out of their windshields made us laugh even harder. It was amazing to watch our 20 foot long urine streams arcing to the pavement as the cars and trucks and boats plowed through them. It was 1988 and there were no digital cameras or mobile phones to capture our shameless urine attack. I pity the boy that tries this today. His parents and the police along with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and probably his disappointed Grandmother would know before he got home. But, Chris and I got away with this dastardly deed.
After our freshman years, Chris and I went to different schools and we drifted apart. I think I only saw him once or twice after that and it was a little awkward because we didn’t really know each other anymore. And, even in the social media age, we have somehow managed to not find each other again. I hope he is still fighting, but I also hope he’s fighting for better things and using his tremendous strength for the good. I’m also pleased to report that Nick and I have both fathered children which is reassuring in light of our shocking past. But, Uncle John, my Dad, my wiener dog, Mr. Hanson, and his goats have all passed on. It has been a really long time since I’ve walked in my sleep, but I continue to talk and I’m happy to report that I’ve passed sleep walking and talking on to the next generation. I still haven’t replaced that dang Zeppelin CD. But, I’m sure that Grandpa David will be watching the Twins some fine Minnesota summer evening in the future while one of his grandsons is peeing God knows where and with whom. “A man reaps what he sows.” as the Apostle Paul wrote.