My heroic confrontation with The Man


We were talking about dealing with the police. And how it can help if you can look at it from the police’s perspective. If only to keep one step ahead of the police. Now Berkeley isn’t the easiest town for the police to work in. I’ll give you an example.

Back in the day I used to store all my vending stuff in this City building across the street from where I set up my vending table. I started storing my stuff there when I got hired by the City to do this art project. And when the project ended, I just kept storing my stuff there because nobody noticed that the project had ended. And it was great, it was so convenient having all my stuff stashed right across the street from where I set up. And they had this big, locked gate in front of the building so nobody could get at my stuff.

So anyway, one night around midnight I was drunk and stoned out of my mind, like I often was back then, and I wisely figured it was time to pack up all my crap and get the hell out of there. So I carry my vending stuff over to the City building, climb over the gate, jump down on the other side, and stash my stuff in this outdoor garage area where I kept it. And I grabbed this big bag of other stuff that i also stashed there to take with me.

But as I was jumping back over the gate to the sidewalk — and this was almost a scene right out of a classic comedy — I happened to land right in front of these two cops who just happened to be casually walking down the sidewalk.

Now naturally the cops were startled when this dark and shadowy figure came jumping over the gate of a locked City building, after midnight, carrying a big bag of stuff, most likely drunk and stoned out of his mind, and landing practically right on top of them. So the police had every right to ask me a few questions. Like, what the fuck are you doing, boy?? So I had some ‘splaining to do.

But then, these other people, who also happened to be walking by, saw me getting rousted by the cops (The Man!!). And they immediately surrounded the cops and began angrily pestering the cops with questions. Like: “Why the hell are you fucking cops hassling this poor innocent guy, man!!” They’re doing the righteous Berkeley activist “Fuck The Police” shtick that was popular in certain Berkeley circles back then. But fortunately, right before one of them was about to voice the dreaded P-word and REALLY escalate the situation, I was able to calm the situation down.

“No, no, everything’s cool,” I said. “The police are just asking me a few questions.” And, under the circumstances, they had every right to do exactly that.

And I managed to explain the situation to the cops. And we all managed to live happily ever after without anybody getting beaten or tased or locked up in a little cage. THE END



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