|July 1, 1999
GRAND RAPIDS - July is the
month in which we as Americans celebrate freedom, and Mike, being as red blooded as they
come, is no exception. As I am sure all of you who know him can attest, Mike has
always prided himself on doing things in a manner which displays that freedom to its
If it happens that this expression crosses some lines, all the better for him! Only
in retrospect does it sometimes occur to him that perhaps the lines that have been crossed
were better left intact, or in this case at least undocumented.
It was with the best of intentions that Mike set out to express his right to dress in the
fashion (such as it is) of his choosing.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
It really started in High School, right before the prom. Mike's date got sick at the
last minute, and since the rules stated "Couples Only", Mike was in a
He didn't want all the money he had already spent to go to waste, but that rule (which he
felt was discriminatory anyway) seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle to his going to
the prom and having a good time. After all, he had already paid for it, he ought to
be able to get an exception approved for illness, right??
Well, that was not to be.
He called the principal, who called the board, who said "No exeptions, and no
refunds". This made Mike very upset, because he knew that it was
Now, for those of you who do not know Mike, this type of situation really sets him
So he began to think about what he could possibly do about it, and when he called me with
the following solution I immediately found an excuse not to participate. (Actually,
I was in the process of hanging up on him when I thought of my own ideas as to how I could
throw some accelerant into the fire he was building).
So I told him that I knew a guy named Gary who would be more than happy to help out with
the plan. I gave him a call and he agreed, as he was always free on prom night for
too many reasons to go into here. I will just leave it at this- adding Gary to this
situation was like adding vinegar to baking soda. (Way too good to miss!)
Before I go into the details of the evening I must throw in a disclaimer. For those
of you younger folks reading this, you should know that at the time he did this, you
couldn't get expelled for it. Today, you can not only get expelled, but it is almost
assured that some sort of court proceedings will follow. In addition,
depending on what part of the country you are from, you may be stalked, ridiculed,
tarred-and-feathered, or beaten up and left for dead. So DO NOT TRY
THIS AT HOME!!!
That being said, what Mike decided to do was go to the prom, with a date, in accordance
with the rules, but at the same time send a message that he was not in support of those
rules by showing them to be ridiculous.
A reductio ad absurdum in Mike's own wonderful style.
And yes dear friends, the couple was to be Mike and Gary.
I snapped the below photo before they left the house, and they are just as they appeared
as they walked in to the prom, hand in hand.
Not being one to miss something like this, I left in advance of the soon to
be king and queen of the dance, and snuck in the back kitchen entrance (which Mike should
have done in the first place) thus gaining entrance to the festivities with neither date
nor ticket. (Additionally, this is a great way to determine what might be safe to
eat later, and what to avoid. Bringing the kitchen staff some refreshments will also
go a long way).
It was not long before my best friend and his date arrived, and it was even better than I
had anticipated. The place just went dumb-ass quiet. I don't know if they just
didn't recognize him at first or what, but it felt like 5 minutes before the screaming
Everyone in any sort of position to raise an objection did so, the principal was called
(again), as was the board, but since Mike had not broken a single rule he was allowed to
stay and participate. Of course he had a wonderful time, as did Gary who had never
seen this type of social activity in person before.
Needless to say, the fallout which followed this escapade was swift and severe. The
"Couples Only" rule was turned from two words into two paragraphs defining
exactly what constituted a couple, the location of future proms was to be kept secret to
all but approved couples, and all entrances to the building were to be kept locked.
(Yeah, right. That'll stop me. Ha!)
In addition, Mike's original date vanished without a trace and has yet to be heard from
since. Her family even denies that such a person ever existed.
So this July, when you are out celebrating the freedoms which we all take for granted most
of the year, remember those patriotic people who have throughout history taken whatever
steps became necessary to fight for, defend, and uphold the rights of the
individual--George Washington, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, (that
ought to get this site on a couple search engines!) and of course, our own Mike.
Next...Mike and Ted's Excellent Adventure!