Ever have a day where everything seems to break your way? Where things you never expected could or would happen to you did? Where you thought things couldn’t get better… and they kept doing just that?
Well, this is a story about one of those days… sort of…
It was junior year of college. The weekend morning found me and my crew, a bunch of fairly typical, red-blooded American collegians, groggily waking up after a night of partying. As we traded war stories of the previous evening and pondered what adventures to pursue that day, I remembered a sign I had seen in the next town over. “Hey… you guys want to go to a pancake breakfast? $5… all you can eat.”
After a round of questions about whether I was for real or not and just what sort of trap I was setting for my comrades, we piled into a few cars and were off… equal parts excited and skeptical about an event none of us were familiar with. Compounding the skepticism was that the sign I had seen prior was now gone and, as we approached the school building where the event was supposedly taking place, saw nothing indicating it was actually taking place. But we soldiered on.
Eventually, we arrived and headed into the building… a motley crew of 8-10 hungover 20-somethings wearing the ubiquitous uniform of that era… hoodies, pajama pants, flip flops, facial scruff, bloodshot eyes*, and cynical looks. And it… was… ON!
We were immediately greeted by some old women and young children, eager to greet us and separate us from our hard earned five dollars. We forked over the dough and were pointed towards the cafeteria… “Eat up boys… there is plenty left and we’re almost done for the day.” How… unexpected. Old women? Being nice? TO US?!?! Whatever… we’ll take it… bring on the pancakes.
We hit the cafeteria where we are greeted by smiling fire fighters who were all too excited to fill our trays with food. “Want extra bacon with that, sir?” We fell all over ourselves trying to find exactly which Simpsons quote was most appropriate for this moment**. We now had plates heaping with greasy bacon and syrupy pancakes, served to us by yet another group of people we tended not to have positive interactions with***.
As we sat down to enjoy our feast,we thought about what a great start to the day this was and how we should start perusing Craig’s List for other such events. AND IT GOT BETTER! Next thing we know, a cop in full uniform and regalia sidled up to our table and half-whispered, “You guys want some donuts,” with all the smoothness of a drug pusher from an 80’s PSA. Our minds all went to the same place… it’s a setup… he doesn’t mean donuts… and as soon as we say what our hearts and stomachs are begging us to say, this dream will become a nightmare.
“Whaaaaat?” we respond collectively.
“Do you guys want some donuts? Krispy Kremes?”
“Ummmmm…” we all looked around, silently wishing that no one at the table was holding.
“Well, here ya go…” and just like that, he slid across the table a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, in their original box, and walked away. Apparently, in addition to the pancake breakfast, the organizers were selling Krispy Kremes as part of their fundraiser and this boy-in-blue had bought one box too many and didn’t want to carry it home. And we were the lucky recipients. Not only were we not being arrested, we were now topping off our breakfast with donuts… delicious donuts… delicious free donuts… delicious free donuts a friendly cop gave a bunch of hungover college students! WINNING!
This was it… we had reached the mountain top… the morning could not possibly get any better. We couldn’t believe our luck. We couldn’t believe that pancake breakfasts had somehow alluded our collective experiences. And we certainly couldn’t conceive of yet another amazing turn.
Then we heard it. A voice came over the PA system… “We want to thank everyone for attending today. Your support will make a big difference in our fundraising efforts this year. To celebrate you, we offer the musical stylings of Mr. … Jimmy … PAAAAAAAGE!”
GET. THE. FUCK. OUT!
We’re sitting in a school cafeteria in a suburb of Boston and Jimmy Page… THE Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame… is going to perform. How… why… when… what the fuck?!?!
We whip around in our seats… only to see some octogenarian toddle out onto the stage with an accordion strapped to his chest. Apparently, there is more than one Jimmy Page in the world. And, alas, the one we would be seeing was not the famed English guitarist… but just some local old dude raring to play his squeeze box.
It was still a pretty good day.
* Some of us were hung over. Some of us were stoned. Some of us were both. I was hungover. I was well past my weed stage at this point.
** I went with… “He called me ‘Sir’… without adding ‘…you’re making a scene’.”
*** I should make clear that we did not have an adversarial relationship with fire fighters in any way. But as most of our interactions with them at that point revolved around room inspections and citations for egregious violations like Christmas lights displayed in March or unlit birthday candle in a junk drawer, we were not used to such gregariousness from them.