Monday, November 29, 2010

Sophomoric Communication

When I was young and in college some 25 years ago a friend gave me a T-shirt for my birthday. It was always a safe bet that I would like a T-shirt and this one became one of my favorites. It was white with black letters imploring: “SMILE if your (sic) not wearing panties.” I likes wearing the short to watch people’s reactions. Getting a reaction out of people, good or bad, seemed to be my goal back then. I think it’s why all authors write and indeed my any artist expresses themselves through their craft. (Monetary payoff might be just as big a reason)
Not long after I got the t-shirt I also got a fake hand. It was rubbery and flesh-tone and looked pretty real unless examined close up. I would walk down the sidewalk with a friend and the hand coming out of my long sleeve and then let it drop to the ground. My friend would casually inform me that my hand fell off. I would look exasperated, pick it up and we would move on.
Then I closed the hand in the trunk of my car and did my driving around with it sticking out. One night after driving home my dad woke me up at about 1:00 in the morning. Two police cars and the Lahaina Precinct detective were at our front door. Someone had been following me home and saw the hand sticking out of my trunk. She called the police presumably when she got home or to a pay phone with my license number and according to the police was very upset.
I showed the police the fake hand and they took it. They didn’t arrest me that night but The Lieutenant called me into the station the next day. I took out my earring before heading up. The police were not amused at this prank. Lieutenant Arakawa showed me the holding cell with feces-smeared walls and then lectured me about malicious mischief.
To date that is the most in trouble I ever was in with the law.
I don’t know how much of a lesson I learned from the scoldings I got. When he showed me the holding cell I realized right away his goal was to scare me. Just like me he was trying to get a reaction out of someone. They kept the fake hand.
I didn’t do anything like that anymore though. I respected the MPD and didn’t like the idea of making their jobs any harder. And now 23 years later I went to the thrift store and bought 5 t-shirts all plain black. If I want to make a statement or get a reaction I’ll do it with my own words written here or spoken face to face.

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