When I think about all the mid-March (mis)adventures I’ve had, I just have to shake my head. I wrote about the time on the roller coaster the other day, but it’s hardly the only one.
One March we went exploring Mammoth Cave National Park. We found one of the tour leaders who promised to take our group to “paths rarely traveled.”
Except, it wasn’t. Idiot got us lost, and have you seen the size of Mammoth Cave? It’s like 793 miles underground! And no one had checked the flashlight batteries, or thought to bring extra, so the lights eventually failed and we were plunged into total darkness.
Sitting there in pitch-blackness, listening for real and imaginary creepy-crawlies drawing ever closer, I couldn’t help but remember that palm-reader I’d sat for at the State Fair the previous Summer. Only then did her word strike home: “Beware the (tour) guides of March!”
I went to St. Louis, determined to see that magnificent parabola, spanning out as a gateway to the West. I wanted to take a Selfie with the great structure, so I got right up close, but others had the same idea, and there was much pushing and shoving. End result: my face got scraped (badly!) against the reinforced concrete of the behemoth monument. It was just like that 97-year old Lebanese woman told me on our blind date: “Beware the sides of Arch!”
My last semester in high school, I worked part-time for a college textbook store. We would schlep textbooks from Georgia Tech to the various other college textbook stores in the area.
Even with several stores in the Atlanta area, there were only so many textbooks to lug around each week, which left the store truck idle. The boss made use of this by taking other delivery jobs on the side. More than a few customers seemed shady, and transactions were often in cash; not sure how legal some of them were, but that was above my pay grade.
Anyway, this one time we had a pick-up of three whole hogs - I kid you not - to be delivered to some church group for a Hawaiian Luau. They were specialty pigs, prepared a certain way, and came with a spit and everything. The pickup was in the Northern part of Atlanta, in an old warehouse district.
As smart as I was, I was woefully ignorant about some things; meat included. (Years later, when I worked at a Deli, I thought the chicken wings were only the flat pieces, the bigger drumettes were...well, drumsticks. From little chickens, I suppose. I told you; I knew very little about meat.)
I walked into the warehouse by the back door - all our off-the-books pickups seemed to be via the back door, and called out, “You got those three heifers for me?” I don’t know if I was nervous, or if I honestly thought heifers was the name for pigs instead of cows. I suppose in the end it wouldn’t’ve much mattered.
In those days, Atlanta had a tradition of putting a bunch of designer wedding dresses (Vera Wang, Jimmy Choo, Chanel….and I’m only reasonably sure one of those names makes awesome wedding dresses) at super low prices.
The catch: the dresses were all lumped together, without any rhyme or reason, like a liquidation sale or what I imagine a Burlington Coat Factory to resemble. First grab, first get.
They would put all these dresses in a weird spot too. Every spring the dress sales would start making the news, and women would line up hours ahead of time to get a $8,000 dress for $250. (I have no idea if those figures are accurate; I just remember that everyone would always rave about the savings, while complaining about the cattle drive nature of things. DON’T get ahead of me!)
Turns out, that shady warehouse district is where the next great wedding dress sale was taking place, but someone knew someone, and anyway, three young women were getting an early gander at the merchandise, and in fact trying on wedding dresses when I entered THE WRONG BACK DOOR and called out: “You got those three heifers for me?
As I lay on the floor helplessly, trying to withstand the beating without any broken bones or vital organ damage, I couldn’t help remembering the psychic I ran into at a McDonald’s playground not too long previous. It had seemed so strange at the time when she reached up and took my face in her hands, searching my eyes earnestly, suddenly blaring out, “Beware the Brides of March!”