Monday, December 18, 2006

All the obvious puns have been taken

As was pointed out to me via email earlier today, I have been "a little off my game" lately. It's true. Even the old familiar sight on the teevy of the SWAT team in action in my home town hasn't perked me up as it should. Although I did enjoy it.

Yeah, I'm talking about Bears defensive thug Tank Johnson's arrest last week in Gurnee on gun charges (six gats, zero FOID). Growing up in Gurnee, I got pretty used to living near various Bears (as well as certain mustachioed ex-head-coaches from certain Super Bowl Dos Equises) so nothing about that incident surprised me particularly much. But it was a nice touch to see helicopter shots of the subdivision across Rte. 132 from my old neighborhood, even if they mostly focused on Mr. Tank's (as Ma Moss is calling him) outsized McMansion wedged into a block mostly full of smallish aging ranch houses and split-levels, most of which did not feature several pit bulls living in the backyard. Although there were some nasty Dobermans around there that I occasionally ran across in the old days.

I said "familiar sight of the SWAT team" back up in the first graf. That's because Gurnee was a little bit more of a lively place in the early to mid 1980s than you might expect from a town of a few thousand brackish Northern Illinois–Southern Wisconsin-type persons. Village Hall called it "The Rural Community of the Future," which apparently was code for "Mayhem Central of Lake County of the Present (if you don't count Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion ... or Round Lake on a bad Friday in July, any July)."

Just to list a couple of the noteworthy examples, in 1984, one of my classmates burned the high school down in a fit of rage, and a year or two before that, a motorcycle gang leader deliberately blew up his house with himself and his old lady inside, after setting a shotgun booby trap at the front gate (which, luckily for the GFD first responders, didn't work). Another classmate was stabbed to death by a Reagan-discharged mental patient at McDonalds (OK, that happened in Waukegan, so maybe that doesn't count).

Best of all was what happened during my sophomore year in high school. Briefly, what happened was that some nutjob living across the street snapped and robbed a drugstore at gunpoint and holed up at home with some weapons and stolen drugs and started telling the cops he was going to do some shooting at the school. So we got to go on the 1982 version of "crisis lockdown" ... which consisted, for me, of sitting around in German class all afternoon, looking out the window, watching the SWAT team assemble in the teachers' parking lot. Which was, I gotta say, as hella cool as it sounds. Long story short, they stormed the house (which I didn't get to see cuz it was around the corner from that classroom), and it turned out the nut had already offed himself. The end.

That's not the only "cops with big guns and body armor" story I have from my high school years, but I think I'll save the other one for some other post, if it ever becomes topically relevant (aka, tangentially related to a current news event).

The moral of the story, though, if there is one: Quit acting so righteously and indignantly shocked, Gurneeians. You can't spell "Gurnee" without GUN, after all.

1 comment:

mr. hankey said...

That's the spirit!