Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Does Jack Dempsey Have To Do With Bibles on the Blue Line?

Oh, I'll tell you.  But let me set this up a bit.

Every year for the past three years my friends and I have gone and seen the Dropkick Murphys around St. Patricks Day.  (Oh, and yes - three years officially makes it a tradition.)  So last night was when they were in town so we went to see them.  It was decided that since we are too old to stand in line and then watch an opening act we would hit up a place for dinner before going to the show.

So being the economically strapped people that we are we decided to hop on Chicago's Blue Line and head up to the Bucktown area.  We had no sooner descended into the depths of the subway station when my ever alert friend Kate noticed that there were a couple men standing on the platform with bibles, so she wisely instructed us to stay away from them because we were not in the mood for a religious lecture.  (Did I mention that I have known all these friends since high school?  A Catholic high school?  Yeah, we are all religioned up.)

One of the men was a quiet Black man who we would later come to find out was named Ronnie.  The other man reminded me of Brendan Gleason from such movies as 28 Days Later and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  Mr. Gleason was decked out in a tweed trench coat which will come into play later in this novella.

So a few moments go by and the platform is relatively quiet when Mr. Gleason starts in on his little spiel.  A spiel that started with the following statement:

Folks, Ronnie and I would like to tell you about the word of Jesus Christ.

It was at this moment that I started to twitch.  See, when I go out to concerts and clubs I forgo the purse and just stash my wallet in my pocket.  Which means that I had ventured out into the city without any paper or pencils to record this wonderful event on.  Luckily, Kate had pretty pink PostIt notes and a pen so I could document the whole scene.

Well Mr. Gleason, with an occasional chime in from Ronnie, goes all Holy Ghost on the train platform.  He is really getting into his speech, gesticulating with his bible in hand and proclaiming the word of the Lord and Savior, JC.  I was doing my best to control my giggling and glances because I didn't want to embaress the poor man when he was only trying to share his knowledge with the world.

But I was drawn to look at him when I noticed he went a little quiet on us.  A young man with a backpack had appreached him, and while I didn't hear the question asked I heard the answer which was:

"I know, isn't this tweed jacket wonderful?"

Mr. Gleason then launched into the story of his tweed jacket.  Turns out, that before he became a Subway Saint Mr. Gleason had a career as an auctioneer.  And one day, he was auctioning off all the possesions owned by some guy (why I didn't hear the reason) when he spotted the jacket amongst the stuff.  He told the guy he would sell all his stuff but that jacket, which he would buy himself.  Well, the seller told him how his dad used to be the sparing partner of Jack Dempsey at some boxing gym in Indiana and the great Jack Dempsey had literally given his father the jacket off his back.

This story impressed myself, the guy with the backpack, and my friends Stubbs and Kate.

Perhaps not the guy standing next to us though who had what Kate described as "delicious" looking smoothie.

As the train finally pulled into the station I head Mr. Gleason ask the guy with the backpack if he was an athiest.  But sadly, the Blue Line waits for no woman and I was forced to miss the end of the conversation.

But the weirdness that was my Saturday night did not end there.  Here's a recap:

- As soon as we got to the pizza place an octogenarian hit on Kate and was shut down by his grandson.

- I rode to and from the concert in the back of an amazingly clean Suburu Forrester, crouched down so no cops would see me and pull us over.  When we got to the concert we backed in and couldn't open the back hatch, so the escape from the car I had to launch myself over the back seats.  It was very graceful.

- Heard a woman use "cocksucker" on the phone with her boyfriend while we were buying Shamrock Shakes.

- My friends threatened to leave me in the back of the car at McDonalds so I retorted with the threat to eat all the leftover pizza before they got back.  Sure, I would have puked but it would have been worth it.

- While waiting in line for the bathroom I saw a chick that had to be 6 foot tall and like 300 lbs.  The woman behind me and I were in complete and utter awe.

- I almost got into a fight over Jim Thome.

- Fell asleep to the dulcet tones of what I thought was the soundtrack to Backdraft 2.  Seriously, I thought the Great Chicago Fire had started all over again.

So I guess all in all it was a pretty fun Saturday night.  Good thing there's another one next weekend...

~The Office Scribe

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