In this week’s Dudes in the News, cocktails, cars, and alligators make a recipe for catastrophe.
If you’re in the mood to impress friends at your next out-of-doors summer gathering, try mixing this lovely sunset cocktail:
One (1) part male of the species
Two (2) parts alcohol
One (1) motorized vehicle
[Optional: a pinch of bail money]
–Add alcohol to male. Stir in vehicle. Serve chilled, preferably behind bars. (Add bail money to taste.)
–Caution: Ingestion of The Catastrophe can have, well, catastrophic effects.
Happily, if you live in Anchorage, Alaska (pop. 278,700) and happen to become befogged by this or any other alcoholic concoction, you can request a Community Service Patrol van to pick you up and haul you to a city-operated “sleep-off center.” There you can relax (pass out) while waiting to regain your capacity to function in polite society.
Yet here is a puzzler: what happens when the intoxicated hauls the intoxicated?
Anchorage natives got their answer via a July 9 Anchorage Daily News report. At roughly 8:30pm on July 7, a Community Service Patrol van sat in front of a hotel with the seemingly but not actually redundant name of The Inlet Inn. (“A Comfortable Stay at Affordable Rates!”)
The van’s engine was running, its emergency lights flashing, and its attendants assisting an inebriated person within the Inn when a man named Donny H. Weston, 35, arrived in a cab, allegedly intoxicated and trailing behind him a slew of criminal charges accrued over the years.
Mr. Weston spied the van and hatched a plan.
“He hopped in, revved the engine and took off,” a police lieutenant with the affably masculine name of Dave Parker told the Daily News.
Anchorage natives and/or future visitors eager to trace Mr. Weston’s route will want to know that he careened north on H Street and then turned right on Fifth Avenue, a one-way street down which he drove against traffic.
We will pause here to note that Anchorage streets appear to be named after letters in the alphabet and numbers in the, well, number system. This suggests a massive paucity of imagination on the part of the city’s original planners. Or perhaps they understood that, way up there in the wild, wild wilderness, where grizzlies roam the earth and boredom suffocates the living, burghers would remain so consistently sloshed that navigating streets designated by anything other than letters and numbers would prove hopeless.
On one of those streets, Mr. Weston sideswiped a tour bus. The Daily News reported that firefighters later were required to pry open that vehicle’s jammed door “so the bus driver and one passenger could get out.”
That Alaskan tour buses are now ferrying around but one passenger at a time says little for the state’s capacity to attract visitors. Has tourism so precipitously declined since the arrival on the national stage of an alleged politician whose name rhymes with Karah Dalin?
The Daily News did not address that question; it had more pertinent facts to convey. These included two of great interest: 1.) The handful of intoxicated folks onboard evidently had no idea Mr. Weston was not their intended driver (“Often, they’ll fall asleep in the… van,” Lieutenant Parker sensibly explained). 2.) Proceeding in the van after hitting the bus, Mr. Weston presently came to a stop outside a bar at 426 G St. called Darwin’s Theory.
Which reminds us: if you really want to make The Catastrophe sing, be sure to add just a dash of irony.
Whatever else you can say, ironic or otherwise, about the male of the species, he has a singular capacity for inventing peculiar pastimes, and nowhere is this more evident than in the case of mud bogging.
Wikipedia, that virtual encyclopedia of hoi polloi, by hoi polloi, and for hoi polloi, describes mud bogging as “a form of off-road motorsport popular in Canada and the United States in which the goal is to drive a vehicle through a pit of mud of a set length.”
If you are having trouble imagining such an event, try this. Picture times when, as a kid, you rode your Stingray bike through muddy puddles as fast as you could. Now, transform the bike into a four-wheel-drive vehicle and expand the puddle into a small mud lake. Voila—mud bogging.
It may not surprise you to learn that at the most casual of these get-togethers the presence of alcohol is not unfelt. And where there is alcohol, can alligators be far behind?
Not if you are Douglas Earl Ward, 55, and Roy Allen Griffith, 60, both of Linden, Michigan (pop. 3,322), and John Earl Sanborn, 53, of Harrison, MI (pop. 1,975), men so nice their parents named them thrice.
The Livingston County Daily Press and Argus (“A Gannett Company”) reported July 7 that the men stand accused of filching a 14-foot stuffed alligator and tying it to the top of a Ford F-150 truck in which they then mud bogged.
The DPaA quoted a Livingston County Sheriff with the mirth-making name of Bob Bezotte as saying that the victim of the theft, left unnamed in the story, arrived home June 25 to find his stuffed alligator missing from his barn. Tire tracks led away from the building. The victim photographed and then followed those.
They led him to a mud bogging party in the 11000 block of White Road, in Deerfield. There he saw his stuffed alligator in the bed of the Ford pickup, which, as it happened, the Mr. Ward et al had borrowed from a woman hailing from Roscommon (pop. 1,043).
Whilst surreptitiously photographing the beast, the victim asked Messrs. Ward, Griffith, and Sanborn how they’d come by it. Displaying the kind of grandiose exaggeration—outright lying?—endemic to those deep in their cups, the men claimed to having bagged it in Florida.
Presently the victim made a report to the Sheriffs Department. After that, the DPaA reported, a deputy spoke with one of the suspects: “That person told the deputy that his ‘friend Douglas Ward’ got the alligator and when the deputy asked the speaker his name, he replied, ‘Douglas Ward,’ Bezotte said.”
If the magnitude of this spectacular example in criminal senselessness is lost to you given the imprecision of that sentence, think of it this way:
DEPUTY: How did you wind up with the alligator?
SUSPECT: My friend Douglas Ward got it.
DEPUTY: And what is your name?
SUSPECT: Douglas Ward.
DEPUTY: You are an idiot.
SUSPECT: No—just drunk.
Which, allegedly, was true. With admirable restraint, the DPaA noted drily that police “suspected that alcohol played a factor.”
Mr. Ward, it turned out, had a blood-alcohol content of .40, five times the state’s legal limit for drivers. Mr. Sanborn’s BAC—.42—left him in a medically induced coma until recently. Only Mr. Griffith came in at a comparatively paltry .29.
In other words, the potent mix of males, alcohol, and motor vehicles once again trumped common sense and good taste.
Will the male of the species ever be without alcohol-related catastrophe, not to say The Catastrophe? The Saturnine of temperament heave a sigh of mild despair.
Dave Ford is a San Francisco writer whose work has appeared in Spin, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SF Weekly, The Advocate, and a host of other periodicals. He writes the blog Dave Ford, and is a certified yoga instructor who teaches at various venues in his home city.
Illustration by Bion Harrigan. Bion Harrigan keeps his head firmly planted in the clouds and has done so since the earliest days of a youth misspent idly daydreaming, reading Mad magazine, and drawing scary monsters and super creeps. He continues to spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming and drawing at his home in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Other dudes, who, previously, have been “in the news”