Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967 Posted November 30, 2022 Share Posted November 30, 2022 The Streak Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Four and Five were interesting years. History has recorded a number of mildly interesting events, such as the official end of the Vietnam War, the President of the United States resigning; Rubik’s Cube and Pet Rocks being all the rage, and the Australopithecus Aferensis skeleton named “Lucy” was discovered in Ethiopia. However, nothing would equal the phenomenon that peaked in 1974 and 1975: Streaking. Now, Streaking was not new; indeed, the activity had been observed throughout history – and even before, as noted in my own family history, dating (actually, NOT dated) back to the family lore tale of our ancestor Ugh “Goosebumps” Chaney, who had bolted from his cave buck nekkid one winter evening to leap screaming into a nearby pond, evidently in an attempt to put out the flames that had taken root in his beard and hair. It is said that he’d gotten a mite too close to his cave fire in the hope of melting away them chill-induced goosebumps. But 1974 saw Streaking reach a new pinnacle of popularity. Long fashionable on the campuses of college and universities worldwide, this year saw it move from isolated incidents to the league of mass Streaks – shockingly, in some cases, co-ed even. I shudder to think of the activities that would lead up to such displays; and will not even dare to consider follow-up behaviors or actions, barring arrests. Several times a week, some incident or t’other would be reported in the media, ranging from the stodgiest of daily newspapers to even the six o’clock news. Shocking, I say! And of course we made light and fun of the happenings. Naturally, hard to resist. In spite of the spate of occurrences, my own observations were limited to a mere two. Relatively minor events in the grand scheme o’ things, but nonetheless memorable. The second (I’m going to save the first for last) was a Saturday in June of 1975. My work buddy, Paul Weiser, and I had somehow come up with a pair of decent tickets to the Giants game. It looked to be a promising game, with the Mets’ Tom Seaver pitching against the Giants’ Tommy Toms and Jim Barr. Well, the home team lost; Seaver was magnificent and the final score was 5 – 0. But the game was fun. Interesting, actually. At one point about the third inning, the announcer broke from calling the game to blurt out the PSA “To the owner of the yellow Volkswagen, License 264-HKH, your lights are on!” Gee, folks were much more caring back then – nowadays, people would just look at it and laugh about some poor slob pushing his ride home. But everyone in the stands DID laugh. I groaned, muttered a bad word or two, set my beer in the holder and got up. “Off to the loo?” Paul asked. “Nope,” I replied. “Off to turn off my lights.” Paul looked at me with surprise. The surprise expression quickly turned to one of sadistic delight. “That was YOU?” he literally bellowed. “All my life I’ve heard such announcements, but NEVER actually KNEW someone who left their lights on and here I am, in Candlestick Park, and my buddy is the one! Har har har…!” I made my way to the gate, arranged my re-entry, eventually found Otto, my li’l ’73 Super Beetle, and shut off the lights. I crossed my fingers, and managed to get the engine started. After letting it run for a few minutes to re-charge the battery, I returned to my seat. Sure ‘nuff, I had to put up with some more good-natured but sadistic ribbing from Paul before turning my attention back to the game. Hullo… what’s this? My gaze focused on Seaver, on the mound. But this just wasn’t right – he had his back to the plate. His arms were crossed, and he seemed to have an eye-lock on the second baseman, Felix Millan. How odd! VERY unusual indeed! Then Paul blurted “Look!” and pointed, and there was the reason for Tom’s apparent disgust. Down on the field, running the bases, was a streaker! Just like in Ray Stevens’ song, The Streak! There he was, clad only in sneakers, racing flat out and rounding second with a whole cadre of security personnel in hot pursuit! Needless to say, the streaker was traveling much more lightly than his chasers, like a rabbit escaping a pack of overfed and under-exercised hounds. He actually did a couple of running pirouettes, either to check on their progress or to taunt them. Or both. At any rate, they ultimately did catch the gentleman (assigning the term loosely, of course) – but only because he ran out of bases and seemed a tad reluctant to dive into the dugouts. That was kind of amusing in itself; once they had the culprit cornered, there appeared to be confusion over what they should do – handcuff him? Wrap ‘im in a blankie? Lend him a long coat? Tie him with a long rope and lead him out on a leash? Obviously, no one wanted to touch the dude – and I surely don’t blame ‘em! Somehow they finally surrounded him, and the entire scrum made its way out of the arena without anyone else’s eyes being scorched. Mets won – five to zero. Okay, back to Episode One: December of 1974, the week between Christmas and the New Year, on a very cold, drizzly, foggy Pacifica day. Bill “Wynuts” Wyant and I were at home in our shared apartment just off Skyline Boulevard. Ed “Lurch” Darnell was visiting, and we were enjoying the warm indoors with Irish coffees, snacks, and playing with my new Christmas toy – a TEAC cassette tape recording deck. That was a ton o’ fun, copying music on LP’s to tapes we could enjoy in our automobiles – both in album format and mixing songs in a manner disparagingly described by some wag at work as “Canned F M Radio.” So there we were, mellowing out with coffee and Jack Daniels’ whiskey and good tunes, when Lurch suddenly leaped to his feet and announced “I wanna streak the strip mall!” “Well hell, Ed. If ya wanna go streak the strip mall, go for it. We’re just fine staying right here.” Next thing we new, there was a somewhat drunken Lurch, wearing nothing but sneakers and a grin, headed out the front door. We gave it not a second thought, focused on that black-labeled bottle and the stack of records. About an hour and a half later, there came a subdued knock at the door. Now, who in’ell could that be? I stood, then walked to the door and opened it wide – no one was there. I glanced about a bit and then, just as I was shutting it, a head leaned out from around the corner. Lurch! “Oh My Gawd!” he managed to get out between chattering teeth and bluish lips. “Thank the Lord I finally found the right apartment!” Evidently, he had somehow managed to get himself lost in the frigid London-thick fog and drizzle that typically enveloped the highlands of Pacifica. And, in pursuit of a safe return to the warmth of his buddies home, had knocked on several wrong doors. Eeek! At this late date, I don’t recall if the “Eeeks” were Ed’s or the residents of the numerous “wrong knock” doors or a syncopated medley. We got Ed indoors, and both Bill and I noted that his entire hide had taken on a bluish tinge matching that of his lips. We steered him to a hot shower, and when we were satisfied that he was safely thawed and dressed, we gave him a warming drink or two and a snack. And when he returned to his normal pink color, we sent him off home to his sweetie, with a promise that he would remain there for the rest of the weekend. Oh… and by the way, unmistakably, “shrinkage” is an observable fact. To my knowledge, although he had many other adventures, that was the extent of Lurch’s streaking career. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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