I just want to capture in one place all the stupid stuff that happens to Dave and Leigh, it seems so much stupid stuff happens around me that I start to forget it all.
Dave sinks his car in the river: my all time favorite stupid thing. The river through Ledges State Park in Boone used to flood over the road all the time, and the park ranger would just leave the "Water over lower Ledges" sign up all spring even if it wasn't necessarily flooded today. So I go driving around all the signs and get down to the river driving about 35 mph. I start to slow down when I see a sheet of water over the road, but then I notice on each side the square shapes of the curbs sticking up out of the water. Being a bit of a thrill seeker I kicked the speed up in the short time before hitting the shallow water, I wanted to spray some water around. Imagine my shock when the car started sinking. I had no idea why the laws of physics had suddenly been suspended, as far as I knew I was heading for China. I had the seat belt off and was preparing to climb onto the roof when the car suddenly stops sinking just after the level of the water reaches my lap. Now that sinking to China no longer appears to be a possibility, I open the door and wade over to one of the "curbs". They were the tops of square guard rails just barely sticking out of the flood water.
Dave and Leigh attempt to activate the emergency broadcast system: So Leigh is working as a DJ at this radio station in Ames, and of course he recruites me to pull records for him. I'm pretty bored most of the time, looking for something to do. I pull the "Emergency Broadcast System" folder off the wall and start leafing through it. Most of it's pretty boring stuff, but I got to one section that I just fell in love with. It was an entire page long and started off with "This is the emergency broadcast system, this IS NOT A DRILL, we interupt this station at the request of the President" and after several paragraphs ends up with "This is not a drill, stay tuned to this station for emergency informatin from your president". Oh it was priceless, so I hand it to Leigh and tell him to read it over the air. First we go dicking around with buttons and switches trying to initiate that ugly buzzing sound, but after five minutes with no success we gave that up and just read the statement over the air. Turns out if we had known how to initiate the signal, the station we were transmitting from was the root station for the state of Iowa, all other stations would have automatically linked to it and we would have been transmitting on every radio station across Iowa. I suppose it's for the best that we didn't ever get the activation signal to go, our lives would probably have been drastically different than what they are today if we had succeeded in that. As it was, our listening public was royally pissed with us anyway.
Dave teaches his three year old a new trick: Kids, they never listen and never remember anything for more than 5 minutes. My wife had left for the weekend and I had Sarah all to myself. It's during that growing stage where she has speaking in sentences down pretty well but we still spend lots of time teaching her to say things. We are watching one of the Aladdin movies for about the 50th time and I call her over and teach her to say "Jasmine has nice tits", thinking that if we practiced that a few times she might be able to repeat it once for mommy when she got home. She was so darned proud of learning it that it stuck in her little brain like super-glue. For the next three months she would repeat that phrase to anyone who would listen. My wife, my sisters, my mom, my church leaders, day care providers, absolutely everyone.
Dave accidentally wins the state machine gun championship: How can someone accidentally win the state machine gun championship? It's a twisted tale of stupidity and gender discrimination. I was in the C-334th Medical Battalion of the Iowa Army National Guard out of Camp Dodge. Me and a female medic were assigned to provide medical support to 2nd mech. We arrived in an army ambulance, intending to live out of it for the duration of the support mission. That meant we had housing, we could eat in the chow line, and the gentlemen could certainly be asked to vacate one of the latrines when necessary. But nooo, the commander of 2nd Mech was outside our station loudly complaining that they wouldn't be supported by a woman and that they wanted our unit to take us back and send out "real medics". He was more diplomatic when on the line with our commander, he suggested since they were an all male combat unit they didn't have facilities to adequately support the female medic. Bullshit, we were completely self sufficient. So in the dead of night, by the light of those cat-eye headlights that give off all the glow of a firefly, we made our way back home while our two Y-chromosome replacements headed out. So the next morning our commander is trying to figure out what to do with us he decides to send us out on day missions to support the M60 machine gun range. The golden rule of having medical support is to keep the medics happy, without medics you don't do much of anything, you certainly don't operate weapons ranges without them, and so they pretty much get to shoot all the cool weapons all day long, and today's cool weapon of choice was 23 pounds of machine gun (last week it was a whole day of M203 grenade launchers!). You start the range at 600 yards out, and you get lots of points for every little bullet that hits at that range. What nobody expected was that we tore the hell out of the targets at 600 yards. It didn't matter what we did after that, we had blasted away enough points in one round to take home the machine gun championship for the state of Iowa for that year. And my favorite part of this story - the very pissed off 2nd mech who had to accept second place and stay home while we went on to the national competition (not that they took it laying down, they tried like heck to get us disqualified - after all, you can't send a girl on to national competition). Thanks 2nd mech, we love you too!
Dave shoots his own car: Hey, college kids do irresponsible things and they drive really crappy cars. This is often a bad combination. My car was about dead, but the body was still in great shape. My buddy Leigh and I buy a warm case of He-Haw (sort of like mountain dew) and take an AK-47 out to the range. Well, we weren't too detail oriented back then, we bought the he-haw because it was cheap and we were broke, but neither of us noticed that the case we picked up was DIET he-haw. Now warm he-haw was bad, but warm diet he-haw was something that not even college kids would drink. At 50 yards the individual full cans of pop explode impressively when hit by a round from an AK-47. But alas there were only 24 cans. "Gee Leigh, that was fun, but what can we shoot now" says Dave while leaning against his car. I guess I was thinking about all those fake bullet hole stickers that were the fad back then and thought that real ones would be way cooler. To this day Leigh insists I would have fired through the doors with the windows down, but the truth is that while I was sighting down the barrel we both realized the error at the same time. We did not, however, realize all the other crap buried in a car door. The locks never worked after that day (actually one lock turned to shrapnel and went through the opposite door) but at least the windows still went up and down.
Leigh shoots a military Hummer: Ok, anyone who has been on a military heavy weapons range knows they park derelict vehicles down range to use as targets. These things are very obviously not good for much else at that point. So you can imagine Leigh's surprise one morning when he looks down his semi-private range to see someone has parked a Hummer there. Seeing as this Hummer still had all it's tires in tack and no massive holes blasted in it, perhaps Leigh should have made a quick phone call asking for permission before blasting the hell out of it with his 6 foot long 50 Caliber sniper rifle. I don't know exactly how many rounds he got off before the M-16 range master next door called for "Emergency Cease Fire", but I do know they charged him several thousand dollars for the damage done. As a side note, the M-16 range had previously banned Leigh and his sniper rifle because of his tendency to shoot out the bolts that hold up the targets.
Dave's sister blasts a hole in the concrete of the M-16 range: Why is it that a lot of the stupid stuff surrounding Dave, Dave's friends, and Dave's family seem to involve military weaponry? So my Sister Jen, who is in the Air National Guard ("what do you mean the air conditioning is broken, how can we deploy without air conditioning?"). They are firing in a standing position at the M-16 range at Camp Dodge (Army sure doesn't fire standing up, we aren't afraid to get the uniform dirty and we come dressed for the occasion). In this standing position, the soldier to Jen's left fires and the hot brass cartridge ejects and falls down the back of Jen's shirt. Jen jumps when the hot brass presses into her back, lets go of the weapon with her left hand, the weapon falls toward the ground but she still has her finger on the trigger. As the barrel of the weapon points ground ward, the weight pulls the trigger, and BLASTO, just inches from her foot, the now infamous bullet hole in the concrete walkway of the firing range came to be. Some years later she was back on that range and the range instructors were talking about the bullet hole and the "crazed Air Guardsman who went blasting away" a few years ago. Jen just bit her tongue.
Dave tries to fly model airplanes - backwards: Ok, I love model airplanes, but I'm not the kind of person who sits on his hands wishing someone would teach him to fly. I spent a few hundred hours and more than a few hundred dollars building an easy to fly trainer. I say "easy", but apparently not easy enough. Every time I sent that plane up, it would start to slowly drift left or right, and I would gently apply correction, and the problem would only get worse until very shortly after launch the plane would always make a spectacular crash. Six times I pasted it back together, six times I plowed it into the ground at high speed. In the end the nose, with it's engine and prop, was held on by four paint stirrers bolted to the sides with large bolts, there was no body left there. Determined to fly this thing, I bring it to a Guard social at Saylorville. When I pulled it out of my car I found one of the other guys, Ruben Camacho, was an R/C pilot. I immediately asked if he would fly the plane and show me how. We line the plane up on the road and Ruben goes through a pre-flight check. I'm just about to tell him to hurry up, we aren't launching the shuttle here, when he says "Dave, did you know the ailerons are backwards?". By "backwards" he meant they moved in the opposite direction than intended, moving the control stick left caused the ailerons to make the plane turn right. That's why I always crashed so badly. I would "correct" for the plane drifting off in one direction only to have the plane bank further and further in that direction as I pulled harder and harder in the "other" direction.
Dave and Leigh try to steal a parking meter: Did I mention that my mom always considered Leigh to be a bad influence on me? So one day while parking at one of the ISU buildings I bumped into a parking meter. It was leaning precariously and so Leigh and I tried to pry it out of the concrete. No luck. Every week or so after that we would stop by that building and park in that spot and "accidentally" hit the parking meter with the car a little more. We never did take home that parking meter, those things are bolted down tenaciously.
Leigh picks up girls at a family reunion: So my buddy Leigh parks outside this nice big historic place where they are having a family reunion. He meets this really cute girl in the parking lot. After chatting her up for a while, Leigh invites her back to his car for a quick tête-à-tête and she agrees. How is it that neither of them realized that they were in the parking lot for a family reunion? Leigh may claim I do some stupid things from time to time, but he shuts up pretty quick when I bring up this story.
Leigh escapes from prison: During his time in the military Leigh had an extremely high stress job. When he got out of the military, his commander, in a typical military "cover your ass" thing decides not to release him until he has been signed off by the psychiatrist. They put him in the psych unit of the Fort Leavenworth prison for routine temporary evaluation. Mind you, Leigh hasn't done anything wrong and is being pretty cooperative about the whole thing. Unfortunately prison rules forbid him from receiving cigarettes and candy. He could smoke what he had but they weren't giving him any more. So one day Leigh asks if he can go to church. I forget what bizarre church he came up with but it was one they didn't have services for in the Fort. Next Sunday he and two armed guards go to church, he sits up front, the guards cover the back exits. Halfway through the service Leigh gets up, walks to the front of the church, past the preacher, and out a side door. One guard takes off after him, the other goes outside to cut him off. Leigh walked partway around the building and came back in another side door. Both guards are now outside looking for him and he just sits through the rest of the church service. When church lets out Leigh goes to the movie theater and sees some new movies. Then he goes to the store and loads up on candy and cigarettes. A short while later he shows back up at front gate of the prison, shows the guards his bracelet and tells them he belongs inside and asks if he can go back to his room now. Next Sunday he asks if he can go to church. "Nope". But wait, now for a classic example of military bureaucracy. Leigh is pronounced fit as a fiddle and released. When he checked in he signed all his stuff in, including a very large and expensive military weapon. When he checks out he signs out all his stuff. He assumes they aren't just going to give him the massive gun to carry back to his unit and that it is locked safely away in the armory. The gun is never seen again and Leigh is made to pay three thousands of dollars for loosing it. Mind you he never had possession of it and it was stolen from a military armory. Got to love the military, they were more worried about who was going to pay for the weapon than they were worried about where the weapon was.
Trust me, there is more, there is much, much more. I do, however, have to consider that friends, family, law enforcement officers and numerous government entities might occasionally browse through my web site. So unless I think of (or do) something else tame enough to print, that's all for now!
Memo to Dave - things not to print: nothing about Dave/Leigh and the ISU steam tunnels, nothing about Dave/Leigh and the ISU power plant, nothing about Leigh ever having been to Vegas, nothing about Leigh ever having been out of the country, nothing about Leigh and Janet Jackson, nothing about Leigh and Heidi, oh hell let's just leave Leigh out of it from now on, and absolutly nothing about Leigh + Dave + a gallon jug of gas + model rocket engines + not quite enough electrical wire. Oh wait, I have one, remember the shopping carts? I told you they wouldn't bounce up and go through the windshield! Did we really get up to 60 mph in a Target parking lot?
Return to Dave's planet!