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Caddy Smack: I am a public menace

Dexter and the Cadillac

July 3, 2004

2003 Gopher of the Year I belong to a co-ed softball team called the Fearless Flying Anchovies. We, however, are not fearless and we do not fly. In short, we're terrible at softball. Our players range in age from "strapping young buck" to "eligible for legal retirement." Our former first baseman was easily 75. He was forced to call it quits after a line drive fragmented his tibia. Poor old Charlie...he hit the ground like a bag of bricks. I use the term "co-ed" loosely because I am the only biological female to show up on a regular basis. Every week someone is scheduled to bring the beer and partially-hydrogenated snacks. Some of us take this duty very seriously while others toss a bag of Cheetos and sixer of Pabst on the bench and call it good. I don't think there's anything wrong with serving a selection of fine artisan cheeses and olive tapenade at a softball game...especially when one is vying for the "Gopher of the Year" award at the end of the season. My efforts paid off last season when I was ceremoniously presented with a beercan magnet with life-like sounds. Sweet, sweet victory!

Our games are held at a different field in the city every week. It's hard to say why, but last week's game in the Bay View District was sparsely attended. For those of you not familiar with the various SF neighborhoods, Bay View leans on the more ghetto side. If you've got to quench that hankering for Old Grand Dad, a liquor store is never more than a stone's, er softball's, throw away.

This particular field is surrounded by a 30-foot fence. The third base line sits about ten feet from a residential street lined with cars. As is frequently the case in San Francisco, the day is beset with the kind of wind that spills your Pacifico and knocks over the community bag of Trader Joe's Tortilla Chips. In other words, it's a perfect day not to hit softballs really high into the air.

Our league mandates that there must be at least two women and/or nine players for a legal game. This time the Anchovies had neither and we are forced to record a forfeit. Despite this, we borrow a few extra players from the other team and the Game Is On.

I'm what you call a "pull hitter." Sometimes I swing too early and send the ball sailing into left field's foul territory. This does not present a problem at most fields. However, when the street is steps away and you're up against wind so strong that it causes camel toe, a premature swing can be a dangerous handicap.

I connect with the ball and watch as it flies high up into the stratosphere, catches the wind and casually drifts over the fence. I hear a distinct crunching thud.

"What happened?"

"Oh nothing much, you just took out the back window of a Cadillac."


Not only had I hit a Cadillac, but I'd hit Dexter's Cadillac...and this, I was soon to discover, spelled trouble. But first I had to deal with Debra, Angry Wife of Dexter. A woman dressed in a pink leopard-print vinyl jacket was approaching the fence. This had to be her.

1987 Cadillac "Whar's the lady that hit that ball? I need yo' in-fo-ma-tion. You better have ID and insurance. I already call the cops and they on their way."

She actually dialed 911 (emergency!) with the intent to file a crime report. I was pretty frightened since I know most states consider these incidents to be felonies. Would the cops beat me about the face and neck with their clubs once they had me down at the station? A life behind bars flashed before my eyes. Now I'd never know the taste of foie gras! Debra glowered from outside the fence, never taking her eyes off me. I'll admit that I'm a flight risk. I also hit below the waist and am not above taking hostages.

When the cruiser pulls up, I watch Debra point at me and gesture angrily. The two cops look somewhat bemused. She repeatedly tells them that "I wouldn't talk to her until they got here." I would have been happy to speak to her and give her my "in-fo-ma-tion." However, since she was so adamant about involving the po-po, I figured I may as well do all my talking in one fell swoop.

Cop #1: Hey there, lil' lady. Now, did you hit a ball that fell on her car?

Me: Yeah.

Debra: I want to file a police report!

Cop #1: Well...I wouldn't really call this a crime, per se...we don't really file reports on foul softballs.

Debra: I want her insurance information!

Cop #2: Her insurance doesn't have anything to do with this as her car wasn't involved. You'll just have to get each other's contact numbers and work things out.

Debra: I want your names and badge numbers!

Someone please give this woman justice!

Meanwhile, DJ, our Fearless Flying Anchovy coach and team sponsor, presents Debra with his business card and assures her that we will help offset the cost for repairs. She seems somewhat placated and leaves, still muttering under her breath. I can only imagine the various plagues wished upon me. However, if I'm going to suffer, I hope it will at least be an interesting affliction -- like swarming, man-eating locusts or a bathtub full of boar's blood. I'll endure anything as long as it translates into a party-worthy anecdote.

Holy Divah It's only after the game that I am able to really examine the damage. I wanted to pose in the picture, but I feared Debra's reaction if she saw me making the Sign of the Devil next to her car. Ronnie James Dio will never forgive me for missing such an opportunity.

The next day, work is pretty hectic and I've essentially forgotten about everything. That is, until Dexter calls. And calls. And calls some more.

Dexter, Husband of Debra, informs me that the estimated damage to his car is $916. Wait...what? I thought I hit the window?

Apparently I was somewhat slow and Dexter was forced to spell it out for me. "Because it's a Cadillac and I bought it when it was brand new. And the window is heated. The estimate doesn't even include the tinting...so you'll have to pay for that too."

Heating? Tinting? This is one bitchin' ride.

Be afraid I have a hard time believing that a 1987 white hooptie with heating strips stuck on the glass warrants $916 worth of anything. I look up the Kelly Blue Book price and discover that the entire vehicle is worth $900. Maybe he's using this as his chance to get that extra cash in order to put some flame detailing on the side. A Fear This sticker would be so money paired with the galloping cheetah specialty hood ornament already on the car. Thinking back, the hood ornament nicely complimented Debra's leopard-print jacket.

1987 Cadillac After conferring with Coach, we agree to offer Dexter $500 to cover his insurance deductible. Dexter will have none of this. He wants the entire $916 right now and "because he is a minister, it would be wrong not to pay." He refuses to call his insurance company because his "rates will go up." Since he is so close to Jesus, I would expect him to recognize this is an Act of God and not an evil plot to undermine the integrity of this particular Cadillac Seville. Praise be, hallelujah.

It is soon clear that I am the cause of all his problems. I've ruined his vacation, it will be my fault when his car is broken into and his kids aren't going to be able to eat (I'm not sure of the correlation, but I'm telling you that he made it). I've got my chance for redemption if I would only "act like an adult" and give him the money...right now.

Rustified When the morality arguments prove fruitless, Dexter lectured about how it's "people like me" who are tying up this country's court systems. In other words, he threatened to sue over money he can easily collect from his insurance company. I guess I'm supposed to quiver with fear at the thought of being taken to small claims court (In cuffs and a jumpsuit? I hope. That would be so hot.). In light of this, all I can think about is how I'd love to give a big hug to Judge Wapner and Celebrity Bailiff Rusty. He served on the Manson trial after all. (Yes, I know that Rusty is dead... it's the thought that counts.)

After I've again deferred Dexter to Coach DJ, I am hopeful that he will cease phoning me every 20 minutes. No love. His badgering continues with demands that I tell him why DJ is not returning his calls, that it's a conspiracy against him and that we are not good Christians. Indeed. I'm getting really tired of this freak. Dexter, I'm truly sorry that your window was broken, however I fail to grasp how this translates into a metaphor for the world's bevy of social injustices.

After much whining, complaining and threats of hellfire and damnation, Dexter finally agrees to sign a release and accept a check made out to the mechanic for $500. ("But why can't you just make it out to me?" Give up, for fuck's sake!) It is my fervent prayer that this will be the final chapter. Dexter has my address and I don't fancy finding the blood of a sacrificial virgin smeared on my stoop.

At least I know Jesus will watch over the repairs.

Jesus and the working man

God bless.

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