My Life as a Suspected Terrorist

Editor’s Note: From 2000 through 2007 or so, I wrote a humor column for Jambands.com. This was one of my more popular pieces, but when the site migrated servers, this particular column was relegated to the Internet scrap heap. I’ve been asked to re-post this more than once, so here it is. Note that I am no longer dating the girlfriend mentioned below, but this column was not the reason why she dumped my ass. (She had PLENTY of other reasons for that!) I did make a few minor grammatical edits from the original file, but I didn’t change the content, as I wanted to preserve the original piece’s complete lack of integrity. Enjoy!

October 15, 2005

My Life as a Suspected Terrorist

I quickly bolted from the constraints of my day job and made a break for the overcrowded rush-hour subway. I was a man on a mission. I had a golden ticket to see the star-studded Madison Square Garden Hurricane Katrina benefit concert, and I’d be damned if I’d be missing a single note.

With alacrity, I exited the 34th St. subway station and made my way to O’Smith’s Generic Irish Pub. It was there that I would meet my lawyer, a crazed individual with a penchant for cheap beer, loose women, and other conservative values. We each hoisted a frothy pint, mine having a rich copper hue, his resembling pale urine, and within 6 minutes and 36 seconds, we were out of the door. He made a brief stop to purchase a pack of cancer-causing agents, and at the time, I considered grabbing some sustenance in the form of a slice of pizza. However, the constraints of time were too heavy, and I opted to skip dinner in order to make the beginning of the concert.

It was the first of many mistakes that evening.

We entered the Garden and began the steep, nosebleed-inducing ascent to our lofty perch. With leg muscles twitching in defiance, we found our section, 422, just two sections away from the most popular and foggy place to see a Phish show at MSG.

My lawyer was instantly intoxicated by the aroma of shitty beer, and he made a motion for us to acquire two watered-down brews. However, we immediately ran into some hungry friends who were in search of New Orleans cuisine. Their seats were on the floor within errant sweat-bead distance of Jimmy Buffet, but they had discovered that a gustatory caste system had been ruling the Garden: The same food was available on all levels, but the higher you went, the cheaper the prices became. At last, there was a victory for the working man! With Marxist glee, we set out to find some gumbo.

However, my lawyer was distracted by the narcotic scent of hard liquor. He had recently returned from a transcendent, savings-depleting evening of seeing the Rolling Stones in concert and was raving about the stiff-as-a-sailor-on-Gay-Pride-Day drinks he had purchased at Giants Stadium, so he bought two Jack and Cokes as I waited in line for the gumbo. As I expected, the drinks were so weak a kindergartner would scoff at them, but the gumbo was rich and tasty. We headed back to our seats but not before my lawyer would grab two canary yellow beers from the evil tap that read “Coors Light.” A thought ambled through my head: “If I’m going to drink, I think I need to eat something more solid than liquefied gumbo. Well, I guess I won’t drink much tonight…Speaking of drinking, a beer would be great, thanks!”

With beers in hand, we sat one row above our seats and surveyed the situation below. Looking down, we noticed that three pre-menopausal women were sitting to the right of our vacant seats. Not particularly an attractive lot, it appeared to be a “Girls Night Out.” Good for them. As long as they would not be getting in our way we had no problems with them and their estrogen-based agenda. Then we noticed the divine creation sitting to the left of our vacant seats. There she sat—two velvety smooth legs that were nestled in a sultry pair of brown suede knee-high boots. (She was accompanied by….some woman? I’m not really sure, as my eyes were focused on those glorious femurs.)

I must ask you this, friend, “Aside from a steel blast-furnace or the liquid magma of Krakatoa, is there anything hotter than a woman in boots?” In a word, no.

Lesson #36A: Never trust a woman in boots.

At this point in the story, one might ask why two gentlemen with steady girlfriends would become entranced by a mere pair of legs. Admittedly, these were not normal legs—they were legs with boots, but that doesn’t change the situation. Indeed, I have long been dating a fantastic woman, and I have used this very forum to publicly describe our glorious sex life. My girlfriend has delighted in these ruminations—after all, what woman wouldn’t want the intimate details of her bedroom to be posted all over the Internet? It’s my belief that if you like creamed corn casserole while you do the inverted pile driver, you just can’t keep it to yourself! You need to spread the gospel throughout this chaste and pure world.

But I digress…

I don’t know why Legs-in-Boots distracted me so, but she did.

And I should tell you right now that this little lesson isn’t really a lesson at all. In fact, it’s not even part of the story. It’s just an extra thought.

So the show began and we quickly finished our liquid meal. My lawyer typically doesn’t eat food, and on those rare occasions when he seeks nourishment, “a couple wieners” will suffice. Nevertheless, he was impressed with the rich flavors of the gumbo, and mistakenly feeling sated, we hopped down to our seats one row below.

At first, everything was peaceful, despite the dreaded presence of the F-word: FAMILIES. Families don’t jive with our hedonistic vibe. I have nothing against children. In fact, I was once one myself. However, I don’t want children near me when I am having a good time, an activity that occasionally involves breaking the law. I am many things, but a father figure is not one of them. I will be a father figure when I become a father. Until that time, I will be a law breaker and damn proud of it.

We broke the law with such tremendous skill and dexterity that no one noticed, not even those damn inquisitive children with their fertile and curious little minds. It was a great accomplishment, and Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Daniel Ellsberg, and other great historical figures who’d have no business associating with the likes of me would have been impressed.

My lawyer and I were in fine form. We had great gumbo nestled in our bellies, a cup of beer (okay, it wasn’t really beer; it was just Coors Light) in our hands, and hip shaking music delighting our ears. Unfortunately, the crowd never got the memo about the hip shaking. It seemed as though Krazy Glue had attached everyone’s asses to their seats. Sure, they were indulging New Orleans’ finest musicians with the obligatory golf clap and occasional “Woo!” but this was dancin’ music! These people were sorely misled. I could expect this kind of behavior from the aristocracy down on the floor, but these people in the cheap seats were supposed to be my people, yet somehow my people had poles lodged in their asses.

Then the Dixie Cups came on and saved the day. When these Queens of New Orleans soul busted into “Iko Iko” (with the aid of fellow badasses Irma Thomas and Cyndi Lauper), it was time to get up and get down. Instantly, the cast of The Vagina Monologues to my right got up and danced with reckless abandon. I wanted those wonderful estrogen producers to know that the Legion of Testosterone was right behind them, so I leapt to my feet to support their noble cause of ass-shaking. My lawyer joined in the fun, and within seconds, Legs-in-Boots sprang into action, joining our little Dance Party USA with her faceless companion following only seconds behind. It was a glorious moment—7 people having the time of their lives, clapping, singing, and grooving along to an iconic piece of musical history. We were united, smiling at one another, and we were going to spread our message of love far and wide. That’s right, damn it. Section 422, Row E, Seats 11-17 were going to change the world, man!

When the music stopped, Bette Midler entered the stage. The thought of a 27-minute version of “Wind Beneath My Wings” slammed our asses right down in those seats. As if the Divine Miss M’s execution of our dancing revolution wasn’t bad enough, she launched into a tasteless and uncalled for anti-Bush diatribe. Now I dislike President Shrub as much as the next guy who has a brain and less than a million bucks, but I saw no reason for this rant. If you’re trying to appeal to the entire country for charitable donations, why offend 38% of the nation? Unfortunately, my lawyer happens to sympathize with the Republican party (I know, I’m working on it!), and he was less than pleased with her rant. To be honest, many people were loudly booing, and if you have an ultra-liberal New York City crowd booing your criticisms of Republican government, well, in the words of my first grade teacher, “You fucked up.”

My lawyer asked if I wanted a beer. Truthfully, I wanted a beer and not a Coors Light, but I replied in the affirmative anyway. Legs-in-Boots and her faceless companion overheard our conversation and asked us if we would grab beers for them. They were certainly of age, so we took this request as a clear attempt at flirtation. Oh, it was totally obvious: WE WERE GOING TO SCORE!…even though neither one of us would really have the balls or genuine desire to do anything, especially when we were already dating the loves of our lives. (Incidentally, Honey, if you are reading this right now, I think it’s an appropriate time to remind you that I love you more than anyone on Earth. I just thought I’d mention that before you kick my ass to the curb.)

My lawyer got up to grab beers (okay, Coors Lights), and I stayed to see what Bette would sing. As soon as she began to vocalize, the arena grew silent and everyone was transfixed on her incredibly boring but heartfelt ballad. As you might imagine, I was not moved, so I left my backpack at my seat and made my way to the egress on the right. I asked Eve Ensler’s posse to excuse me as I walked past, but curiously, they refused to move their feet, so I gingerly attempted to step between them while they inadvertently got a close-up inspection of my family jewels. My lawyer brought the beers down the aisle and then awkwardly tried to silently motion for the attention of Legs-in-Boots and her faceless companion. After a textbook display of pantomime, they noticed the beers and thanked him for his libido-loosening gift. Feeling like we had the world on a string, we decided to stroll around the top level of the arena for a few minutes to get a better vantage point of the artists onstage. We grabbed real beers (New Orleans’ Abita Amber) and found some good seats on the rail.

Elton John was up next, and quite frankly, I was blown away by his performance. Having never experienced his live show before, I envisioned a homo-erotic version of The Lion King with a lot of sequins, spangles, and a red feather boa. I was in no way prepared for him to open with a tremendously solemn and moving “Funeral For a Friend.” Sir Elton clearly meant business, and I think his seriousness stunned us so much that my lawyer and I lost our dexterity in our covert, hedonistic maneuvers. A slip of the fingers and a treasured piece of glass was shattered. My lawyer picked it up and sliced his hand open. The next morning, certain that it wasn’t that time of the month, he would wonder why his pants were covered in blood.

My lawyer grabbed a couple Coors Lights, and he walked in the direction of our original seats. Seconds later, he ran back toward me and shouted in his most formal legalese, “DUDE! Those chicks told security there was a bomb in your bag and they took it away!”

I had been drinking, I had been indulging, but this made no sense at all. Instead of trying to unravel the puzzling logic that might have led to such a bizarre decision by Legs-in-Boots and her faceless companion, I calmly approached the next security guard I found and asked if I could retrieve my bag. The security guard told me to wait where I was while he investigated where the bag could be, so I stood motionless for the next fifteen minutes. At this point, I started to wonder why a security guard would leave a terror suspect (me) alone instead of taking me to the authorities. I seriously pondered this troubling thought until Jimmy Buffet started performing “Scarlet Begonias,” and then I just danced around absentmindedly.

The song ended, and when Buffet began eloquently rhapsodizing about lost shakers of salt, my attention once again turned to my missing bag. I was troubled, and I needed a beer, but my lawyer brought me a Coors Light. I then found another security guard, and she offered to take me into the bowels of MSG. We made our descent and found the head of security, a man with a gigantic walkie-talkie, who radioed until he found the location of the missing “bomb-laden” bag. Our journey then continued as we waited forever for an elevator, while I faintly heard Neil Young performing “Heart of Gold” in the distance with Buffet. I had to see this to believe it, and I asked the guard if we could suspend our search for a few minutes to watch Neil Young in action.

“Who’s Neil Young?” Conisha asked. “Is he on the new DMX album?”

I lowered my head and resigned to wait for the elevator. Later, I was relieved to learn that the singer was not Neil but Dave Matthews. No loss there.

I entered the top secret security room in the inner sanctum, where out-of-shape middle-aged men with gray mustaches and red blazers eat donuts and drink coffee while listening to the Yankee game on the radio. I felt safe.

After giving a thorough description of my bag, they produced it for me. It was the only bag in the place. I was then lectured by a man who had little flecks of French cruller nestled in his Fu Manchu.

“You can’t be leaving your bag around here. You should know that.”

“Well, you guys did search my bag on the way in,” I replied.

“Someone could have put something in there.”

“You searched everyone on the way in.”

“Anything’s possible in this day and age.”

“Listen, I understand I look suspicious because I have a beard, but I’m Jewish. My people don’t blow up buildings. We build buildings and then subdivide them into expensive condos.”

“Go back to your seat.”

I followed his orders and now had a mission to discover why Legs-in-Boots and her faceless companion had turned on me. I sat down next to them and calmly said, “You know, we did you a favor and bought you beers. Why would you tell security I’m a terrorist?”

Suddenly, she pulled back the skin on her face and revealed herself to be an evil fire-breathing harpy. “We don’t even know you,” she shrieked. “We’re just two innocent young ladies and these two strange guys start buying us beer!”

“Wait just damn second,” I retorted. “We have been called a lot of things, but we are not guys…no…I mean…we are not strange.” Shit. The cumulative effects of beer drinking on a relatively empty stomach were dulling my wit like a cheap Ron Popeil knife set.

“Everyone in this section was freaking out about your bag. We don’t know you, and that’s what we told security. They took your bag.”

With beer running through my veins and slowly turning my brain to mush, I didn’t know how to argue with the harpy’s story, so I opted for the path of least resistance.

“Okay. I’m sorry. I’m sorry if my bag frightened and inconvenienced you.” I then turned to the women on my right and offered a genuine olive branch. “Excuse me, I just want to apologize for frightening you by leaving my bag. I didn’t mean to inconve-”

The closest woman, the one I had been happily dancing with earlier, stared at the floor and chanted, “It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine. It’sfineIt’sfineIt’sfineIt’sfine…”

I then noticed her friend on the aisle race up the steps and within seconds, a security guard shouted, “YOU! COME HERE!”

I walked to him, this time clutching my “bomb-harboring” bag. I casually explained that I was merely apologizing to these wretched ovary holders, and I hadn’t done anything wrong. He then lectured me about leaving my bag, and I brought us back into the Laurel and Hardy routine about the ineffectiveness of MSG security searches. A fun time was had by all.

He suggested we smooth over the conflict by going away, so my lawyer and I sought out better seats for the next hour or so. However, after being fueled by a few more Coors Lights (my lawyer was now borrowing my money to buy me beer) and the rabble-rousing music of John Fogerty, I just couldn’t let sleeping dogs lie. Sure, the smart thing would have been to forget about the incident and move on, but I am not smart. I am an obstinate motherfucker, and I wanted to know why that walking Midol commercial on the aisle ran to get security when I was merely apologizing to her friend. I needed to know why she did this, so I rolled up the sleeves of my short-sleeved shirt and marched over to 422.

If you have read this far, and bless your heart if you have because this has been a lot cheaper than therapy, you might think that I can occasionally be a tad abrasive and even misogynistic. However, this was not one of those times. After all, I had nothing against these women or any women in general, but I was peeved at the puzzling and insulting way these women behaved toward me when I did absolutely nothing wrong. Nevertheless, my approach was incredibly gentlemanly, and while I did have a burning desire to kick that woman in her babymaker, I suppressed my boiling rage and took a calm and Zen-like approach to the problem.

I slowly walked down the aisle and sat next to her. “Excuse me. I’m terribly sorry to bother you, but I just wanted you to know why you called–”

“SECURITY!!! He’s harassing me! He’s harassing me!”

I didn’t even bother to wait for the guard to yell. I just turned around and walked up to him, trying to explain that I just wanted to know why she wouldn’t let me apologize. I was sober enough to realize he was placating me when he called me “the bigger man,” and he suggested we go find two seats that were close to the stage. I threw my dull axe over my shoulder and we solemnly trudged down to the expensive seats.

The big names kept coming, and the concert ended with a bang, but I couldn’t help staring up at that black hole in 422. As Simon and Garfunkel sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” I just wanted one last chance to tear that woman’s head off.

When you’re weary, feeling drunk,
When bloodshot are your eyes, I will show you spunk;
I’m on your side. When security gets rough
And your bag can’t be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will bring that bitch down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will bring that bitch down.
When you’re down and out,
When you’re in your seat,
When apologies fail so hard
I will comfort you.
I’ll grind your axe.
When the harpy yells
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will bring that bitch down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will bring that bitch down.
Sail on Legs-in-Boots,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
Crushing men along your way.
See how you whine
If you need a beer
We’ll be right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
You will haunt my mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
You will haunt my mind.

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One Response to My Life as a Suspected Terrorist

  1. Jenni Chiu says:

    I’ve always said this, and now I know it’s true- only terrorists drink Coors Light.
    This post was a full two minutes of entertainment for me…. so thanks for being the kind of person that this would happen to.

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