Shedding the "Intellectual" Label
A friend of mine lives in his car, in a parking lot that's about five minutes from my place. Well, a couple days ago, his car was stolen. Which means that, when it comes down to it, his house was stolen. So he's been living here for the last day or two, claiming the floor in my room.
Well, yesterday, we found out the location of his car. It turns out his parents had stolen it, using some spare keys that he had given them years earlier. It was parked in front of his mom's house a couple of cities to the south. Apparently, they stole the car in order to take away his options for independent living and force him to live with his dad.
Now, if he was younger, I would probably side with his parents...but he's twenty. He has a job, and could be living in an apartment if he wanted to, but he just prefers his car. Since he's a legal adult, that's his choice to make.
So, my roommate and I found ourselves driving him a couple hours south, under cover of darkness, to steal back his car. This made me think about my uncle.
My uncle only gave me two pieces of advice: Never play cards with a man whose name ends in "y", and never take an intellectual along on a heist.
I questioned both of these at the time, asking what was so bad about smart guys and guys with "-y" names. The first, he said, was because guys with a "y" at the end of their name are more likely to go by epithets like "Slick" or "Big" or the like, and that the last thing you want to find out when you're down five hundred bucks is that you've been slappin' jacks with "Smooth Jimmy Two-Shakes" or "Little Willy One-Thumb". That made sense. The intellectual business was a bit confusing to me. After all, I asked, isn't it better to have a smart guy with you to think of a way out of a jam?
"Absolutely not," He said. "When you're doing something as stupid as robbing a bank, the last thing you need is someone smart around to let you know how stupid it is."
I always kind of doubted his authority on that matter, though. He wasn't in trouble for robbing a bank; he was in trouble for having about two thousand parking tickets and for ramming his '93 Taurus through a lot barricade when the attendant refused to let him out without paying. He was no big-shot criminal, just a motorist with a penchant for parallel parking four feet from the curb and a reckless disregard for handicap-only signs. I never had the guts to tell him that much, of course.
So I looked around the car - no one with a "-y" name, no "big" or "slick" nicknames. So far, so good. Then, I realized - out of this group, I was "the intellectual one". I was the only one in the car who hadn't dropped out of college, the only one who read books and had a philosophy on life that didn?t revolve around pot and Doritos. Yes, if asked to pick an "intellectual one" out of our group, most people would point at me. And that was no good at all.
So, I thought, how do I remove any hint of intellectualism from myself in order to make this mission a success? It hit me: The Three Stooges.
I pulled over at the next grocery store and purchased a pie tin and a bottle of generic canned whipped cream. I handed these to my currently car-less friend.
?What are these for??
?Obviously,? I said, ?If we get spotted, we?ll have to distract them while you get your car back. And nothing?s more distracting than a face full of dairy and aluminum.?
?Dude, I?m not going to hit my mom with a pie. This is the dumbest idea ever.?
"Tonight, these streets belong to us, and we've been doing this for years, but soon that will be different. Tonight, we'll liberate them. Tonight, we'll liberate ourselves!"
-"Parking Lot Punks Rule" by the Gainsville Liberation Orchestra