His confession made me reflect on how my own stupidity cost me some great opportunities too. But rather than dwell on them forever, I choose to make them into...hopefully...funny stories.
The finer details of the following summer of 1977 event are so clear that if I woke up tomorrow and found out I was in a time warp...and it was still 1977...I'd believe it.
My friend Z and I (both twenty-two) were allowed to use the summer home, (in a large bungalow colony) of a mutual friend, (actually his parents). The allure of this road trip near Monticello New York included the usual yaddy, yada like: canoeing, hiking and swimming. But the real reason we went up there was the expectation of "meeting" girls.
We arrived in the early evening of the Friday. By 11:PM, we were in a watering hole (one of the few for miles around) called, "BEND AN ELBOW." Two hours later, we accepted that we weren't getting "met." We lingered a little longer...just in case...and left empty-handed at 1:30 AM.
Z was familiar with the area and drove, (in his world famous Z-Mobile), to a tiny (closed for the night) municipal airport. We continued behind the only building (other than the flight tower), along an obscure, unlit, unpaved access road, beyond its only runway. I don't know what Z was thinking but we wound up at the local "Lover's Lane."
|TOO BAD THIS SIGN WASN'T IN THE FIELD WHERE WE PARKED.|
Under the romantic starlit night, I was glad nobody else was around. Still, I insisted that we sat on the hood of his car during our long heart-to-heart conversion. Included were projections for our next day's activities, as well as planning a big Saturday night destination...other than Bend An Elbow.
We got back after four and watched a TV movie until sunrise. Somehow, we slept the afternoon away. At six, we occupied our self by walking around the complex. That's when we realized that all the kids up there...WERE KIDS!
At the basketball court, two perky girls (around sixteen), challenged us to a game. I realized that even if the eyes of a hundred busybodies weren't on us, there was NO WAY this could end well. But before I could say; no, Z innocently said, "Okay."
I understood that we were playing with children. But foreign-born, nonathletic Z was enthusiastic. So I made a game within the game by making everyone laugh at his spastic style while setting him up to awkwardly score all our points, in a hard fought, Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Generals-like victory.
We were parting ways when one of the girls mentioned that the "casino" was open after dark and that it was their big hangout. Again Z agreed to come by before I could poo-poo the idea. Afterwards I explained the ramifications of socializing with teenie-boppers. I actually saw the little light bulb over his head turn on when he saw my point.
At around 10:30PM, we were about to leave for Roark's Tavern in Monticello when Z said, "Let's at least see what the casino is all about." I was whining my doubts when he added, "C'mon, what harm can it be, to just look."
Z had the car keys, so I had no choice but to follow him on a path, two-hundred feet beyond the treeline. In the dark forest, we heard raucous rock-n-roll music before we found the isolated, stilted pavilion. Up a short flight of steps, against the grain of screaming adolescent boys, we entered the casino.
All eyes turned to us. The ping-pong game stopped, as did the Foosball, board games, darts, card games and conversations. We were "adults" invading a kiddie stronghold, I felt creepy. I wanted to leave immediately but our basketball foes, in a swarm of giggling young girls around a boom-box, saw us and called us over.
|THE GAME DIDN'T SEEM CHILDISH. WE FORGOT ABOUT DRINKING AND PLAYED FOR A LONG WHILE.|
|"A MINUTE TO LEARN, A LIFETIME TO MASTER." OTHELLO, INVENTED IN ENGLAND (1883), IS A GAME OF STRATEGY, TACTICS AND OBSERVATION. THE SHAKESPEAREAN NAME IS DERIVED FROM THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE MOOR OTHELLO AND IAGO, (THE SELF-DESCRIBED TWO-FACE). SOME PEOPLE SUGGEST THAT THE GAME'S PIECES, REPRESENT OTHELLO (A BLACK MAN) AND DESDEMONA (WHITE). ALSO THE BOARD WAS INSPIRED BY THE GRASSY BATTLEFIELD THAT GENERAL OTHELLO LED HIS TROOPS ON. GREEN ALSO SYMBOLIZES THE MAIN THEME OF THE PLAY, JEALOUSY (ENVY).|
The girls stop playing and were tidying up. The shortest one called out, "I have to shut the lights." When they approached, Z and I could see that they were about our age. The middle-sized girl continued out and left. The spokesman, (April, the short girl) said, "It's midnight, I have to lock-up." We went down the steps with the taller girl as April fumbled with a huge keyring.
|GRAND MARNIER LIQUEUR, SINCE 1880, IS A BLEND OF COGNAC BRANDY, DISTILLED ESSENCE OF BITTER ORANGE AND SUGAR.|
|POPULAR ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES IN THE 1970's, THIS GRANDDADDY OF ALL MIDNIGHT MOVIES STARRED ACTUAL DEFORMED CARNIVAL PERFORMERS. IT REMAINED NUMBER ONE IN THIS UNIQUE GENRE UNTIL THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW ASSERTED ITS DOMINANCE.|
|MANHATTAN'S WAVERLY THEATER, (323 SIXTH AVENUE, AT WEST 3rd STREET), WAS BOARDED-UP IN 2001 AND LAID DORMANT FOR YEARS. IT WAS FINALLY CONVERTED INTO AN ART MOVIE HOUSE AND TODAY IS CALLED, THE IFC CENTER (INDEPENDENT FILM CHANNEL).|
|THE BEST SONG (AND DANCE) PERFORMED (above), IS "THE TIME WARP." OTHER GREAT SONGS WERE; "SCIENCE FICTION/DOUBLE FEATURE," "DAMMIT JANET," "OVER AT THE FRANKENSTEIN PLACE" AND "SWEET TRANSVESTITE."|