Ok guys, I've been a jerk. I'm free and clear from any sort of job but I work just as much as ever and haven't been writing here often enough. At least the adsense is gone! Now the only ad is my book. I hope that I make up for it here, because I think this is one of my best stories to date. Enjoy:
Austin, Dan, and I go to play pitch and putt golf. Pitch and putt golf is golf for people like me who are bad at golf. You have two clubs: a putter and a wedge, and that's all you need. The holes are short.
We walk up to the counter to rent our clubs and buy some balls and I notice a check taped to the glass counter. It's for $32 and has a note attached to it.
"We accept checks, but not from John Smith, because he writes bad checks."
Fair enough. I'm intrigued by the check for some reason.
We play our golf and as we do so I think about how cool it is that we can publicly shame people by posting their checks if they don't honor them. Name, address, and bank account numbers are in full view. I imagine that some day soon our increasingly sanitized society won't stand for this sort of humiliation and checks will no longer be shown in public.
I attempt to negotiate a tricky hole with a pond in the middle and manage to get two balls into the woods and one in the pond. I told you I was a bad golfer. I think about how there's no point in posting these checks if consequences aren't doled out because of the posting. I wonder if John Smith even knows that his check is posted.
I decide to play the part of Karma today.
After an abysmal yet thrilling 9 holes we return to the small shop and give back the clubs we rented.
"I'm going to go get your money," I declare. I tell the lady about my thoughts on bad checks. She thinks I'm crazy, but is amused. We write down the address on the check and head out.
Dan doesn't want any part in the madness, but Austin's ready to roll. I'm glad to have him there. I want to do the talking, but if muscle is needed, he brings that to the table.
I think about what's going to happen and what I'll say. Am I about to get beaten up? I already know that I'm going to be smug and cocky, which could result in some violence thrown in my general vicinity.
He lives close by. We park a few houses down and walk up the house. It's a small ordinary house. A window is open and the play by play of a football game makes its way through the screen. Someone's home.
We ascend the few steps and I ring the doorbell. I'm nervous.
A 30 year old man answers. He's bigger than me but doesn't look like he's inclined to beat me up.
"Hi. My name is Tynan and I just came from the pitch and putt down the street..."
I pause to see if he's going to punch me or react in any way. He doesn't.
"... and I couldn't help but notice that you wrote a bad check. I came here to see what happened with that check."
"Oh... really? For how much?" He replies. He knows.
I've caught him off guard. When he doesn't kick me in the groin I realize that there's no way he's going to get violent. Time to step it up a notch.
"Yep. Thirty two dollars."
"Oh... ok. What do you want me to do?"
"Well," I reply, "I'd really love it if we could settle this today. If you can give me thirty two dollars, I'll bring it down to the lady."
"I don't know if I have thirty two dollars."
"Mmm, well... you'd better check."
As I say these words I realize that he will never write a bad check again. He's a deer in the headlights and couldn't possibly feel more awkward. I'm having the time of my life.
He comes back with a handful of bills.
"I only have twenty eight. I can bring the rest by tomorrow."
"Ok, that would be great." I take his money. He hasn't once asked who I am or why I'm here.
Austin can no longer remain silent, "Wow man. You've been really cool about this!"
I had been thinking the same thing. If someone came to my door demanding money, they'd probably be met with less manners and more gun barrels. Then again, I wouldn't defraud a golf course.
John shrugs and mumbles something incoherent. Elated, we drive back to the golf course.
I can't help but think at what an adventure I'd just had. That small spark of curiosity that I followed beyond my comfort zone has now led me to having a great story. The value of the unusual is brilliantly highlighted.
When we get into the shop the lady looks at us. The look in her eye suspects that we left our credit card here by accident or something. When I pull out the bundle of small bills she smiles suddenly.
"I thought you were kidding!"
I hand her the money, but she won't take it.
"You can keep it as a collection fee. I'm just glad you went and talked to him."
"No, we really can't. We'd love to take a picture, though."
I saw this article about Bounty Hunting for profit on wikihow
Seems like something that might fit in with Life Nomadic.
Nice work, as usual.
I've thought about doing that before, but it was in The Bronx so I decided it was a bad idea.
Wow man you got some guts. As you said, if someone showed up at my door for no reason and demanded money Id be not only pissed but Id pause only long enough to ask "WTF?" Ever thought about going in the professional bounty hunter business?
That's what was neat about it. We were two guys arriving unannounced at his home. We weren't big guys, we weren't intimidating in any way or acting in any official capacity, and we offered no explanation of why we were there. We said hi, and we asked him for $32. And he unquestioningly just gave it to us (or most of it, anyhaps).
That's the power of surprise, I guess.
I'm surprised the bad-check writer didn't consider you might keep the money for yourself.. great story, as always - cute friend too :)
I know! I still have tons to do for the book, so I guess I'm postponing those updates for a bit. I have a bunch of products I'm ready to write about.
Ahh, I didn't know you were such a good samaritan Tynan. Well, now I do. If only you would update www.bestintheland.com I would have absolutely nothing but love for you.
Wearing two different colors is ok. Actually that jacket looks fine to me with any jeans. I have another denim jacket that looks awful with all jeans. Really I just wear clothes that I like wearing, though.
I'm not in the game anymore, and haven't really been in it for a while. If I'm in a nightclub it's because I'm singing karaoke, and as soon as the line gets too long, I'm gone. I've been in relationships ten times as much as I've been single since leaving LA, which means that the only real "sets" I do are the once or twice yearly opens to blow someone's mind.
The standard question I get from any girl I talk to is, "are you doing it to me?"
The answer is, "yeah, probably."
March 10, 2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Late morning.
I pulled on my swim trunks, trainers, and a tank top and walked out of my little guesthouse room, sliding through the cramped restaurant strewn with tables, and out into the hot, dusty air of Phnom Penh. It's a hot day. It'll be good to swim after lifting weights.
I said, "No no, thank you" to the tuk-tuk drivers offering to take me somewhere in the city, pushed through the little crowd, and out onto the street. The streets in Cambodia more resemble alleyways than streets, and I navigate around people and vehicles.
I went down to the end of the street, turned left, and skirted along close to the local restaurants, half-tent half-storefront type places to get food. I stepped into the crosswalk, the Hotel Cambodiana rising in front of me. I check right and then left, and I watch left as I cross, watching for oncoming traffic.
A loud scream rings out. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.