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  • Our friend Chrissy had gone away to school in Tucson, Arizona, and now she was marrying a guy she’d met and fallen in love with out there. Kathy was to be brides maid, and I think I was an usher in the wedding, although I’m not quite sure about that.

    I’d never met Jeff before we flew out there for the wedding, but he and I hit if off, immediately. He was a serious writer from Chicago, very opinionated about things – he inexplicably couldn’t stand Thoreau, but I forgave him that, chocking it up to a clueless hard edge from growing up in a midwesterrn town like Chicago, but found he had a great sense of humor – kind of twisted, the way I liked senses of humor. I thought Chrissy had done good in finding him, and was happy for them both.

    We stayed at their apartment, on the sofas in the living room the first night, then after the wedding, as they were off to their honeymoon,we stayed in their room, which had a huge waterbed. It was a two bedroom apartment. Their apartment mate Chris was in the other bedroom, a big, goofy guy who was hard to figure out. He was into theater and film-making, and he literally “created scenes”, as we would find out the next day.

    In those days, we were living on borrowed shoe-strings that kept breaking everytime you tried to tie them. We lived in a house that was in the process of sinking, falling apart, leaking and getting taken over by wild critters. It took all of our werewithal and resources just to keep it standing, together, dry and keeping the critters at bay. Flying out to Arizona was going to be a big deal for us, one we really couldn’t afford, but it was Chrissy, so we would get there by hook or by crook.
  • I could have gotten plane tickets cheap with frequent flyer miles a guy at work had offered, but, Chrissy’s dad had already made arrangements for everyone’s flights – we just had to pay for the tickets, and he would reimburse us once we got out there. The tickets he had arranged for us cost more than double what I would have paid, but since he was going to reimburse us, and they’d go to waste otherwise, we did our best to scrape together the coin to pay for them, put off paying a few bills until we got back, and flew out there. He conveniently forgot to ever pay us back, and it wound up putting us into a financial hole it would take months to climb out of – but, that’s another story!

    My job at the time involved procurement of supplies and equipment for a supply room that was used to replenish supplies for Food Inspectors all over the northeast region. I would order the supplies to stock up the warehouse, then a couple of Supply Clerks would fill supply orders from the Food Inspectors, and send their orders out in the mail. We had about a thousand inspectors in our region. We also issued their Food Inspector badges, a serial-numbered metal badge that they wore to identify themselves as inspectors. We had to keep a log of the badges, so we knew which inspector had which numbered badge.

    Computers were still new then, and in the 55 person office I worked in, there were two P.C.s, in their own “computer room”, that no one but me and the computer specialist ever used. She showed me how to set up a database on one of the computers, and I was in the middle of a project of converting all of our Badge logs into an easy-to-search database. So, I had badges on the brain by the time we went out to the wedding.
  • The wedding and reception were great fun, and I danced my ass off, as I am wont to do at weddings. I’m sure I did the worm and the mashed potato, and everything in between, dancing for hours on end, having a blast. Back at the apartment, we now were moved into their bedroom, sleeping on the big waterbed. I immediately fell fast asleep. In the middle of the night, I experienced the worst “charlie-horses” (severe cramps) in both of my calves at the same time. I was sleeping so deeply, though, that instead of waking me up, they incorporated themselves into my dream. I was dreaming that I was on a boat at sea, and someone was stabbing both of my calves with the sharp clasps from the back of food inspector badges. They just kept stabbing me, and the pain was through the roof. I was screaming in my sleep, it was so bad. Kathy, alarmed, was trying to wake me up, snap me out of my nightmare, and kept asking, as she shook me, “Pete, what’s wrong – wake up – you seem to be in pain.”

    I just kept screaming, still asleep, “IT’S THE BADGES – IT’S THE BADGES. Can’t you make them stop? IT’S THE BADGES!!!” I just couldn’t seem to get her to understand, and get them to stop stabbing me with those badges!

    The next day, we took about an hour-long drive down to Nogales, to see Mexico. That was a trip in itself, but needless to say, by the time we got back to Tucson, we were worn out, and famished. We didn’t feel like eating out anywhere, so we went to the market, picked up enough food for dinner and breakfast in the morning, and made our way back to the apartment.

    What we found when we got there was beyond comprehension. There must have been 40 people wandering all over the apartment, there were movie cameras and booms, bright lights, and there in the kitchen, in all his mad glory, was big Chris, directing it all. His film crew was apparently filming a scene in the apartment – a fact he had failed to mention to us earlier – and we stood there, with our bags of groceries in hand, our mouths dropped to the floor, the refrigerator and stove impossible to negotiate with all of the activity buzzing around the joint, and finally just fell back on the sofa, and began laughing our asses off at the absurdity of the whole scene.

    At least I didn’t have anyone stabbing my calves with badges any more. There was that.
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