Caddy Smack: I am a public menace
Dexter and the Cadillac
July 3, 2004
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.
"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.
"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?
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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.