Thursday, March 07, 2013

Stompin' Tom

I originally posted this in July of 2009. Its my Stompin' Tom story. With his passing yesterday it only makes sense to post it now.

As a guy who enjoyed many many Sudbury Saturday Nights I have to say it's a sad day.

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When Stomping Tom was a boy, phones were black and they had a dial on them. They didn't have anything fancy about them.


There was no display window of any sort on the device that would show you any information at all, including an incoming number. There was no such thing as Call Display back in the day, kids, and as a result you had many who practiced the now lost art of prank phone calls. You don't have to go that far back. Stomping Tom came to my hometown in the late 80s and the phones were simple and so were we and the results were astoundingly awesome.

I have a very good friend who I have spoken of before here quite a bit. Frank’s parents’ house was our gathering place for many summers back in the day. The juvenile pranks and needling that occurred during those years are legendary in our circles and Frank was usually the lead trickster fox.

The jokes range from the very simple yet still hilarious to the complicated stings that ensnared everyone in his web.

A sampling.

- he called my wife one evening at 2am after we had been drinking for a dozen hours and woke her out of a dead sleep (she had to work a 12 hours shift early that morning) and pretended to be a DJ from Vancouver telling her she won a prize. Luckily for me I was at his house and not our house when this went down.

- he sent an alumni magazine that was doing profiles on graduates a mock profile in a buddy’s name, going so far as to create an email address to send it from. Said profile included references to gymnastics, interpretive dance and the joys of living alone, except for one’s cats

- our local paper had a contest when Stomping Tom Connors came to town – people who submitted the best verses for Sudbury Saturday Night could win a myriad of prizes including concert tickets to go see the legend his own self. I woke up one Saturday morning, hauled my sorry 21 year old ass out of bed and opened our hometown rag to find that not only had nearly everyone I knew sent in entries for the contest but so had I. It went something like this:

On Saturday nights

We go to City Lights

That’s our dancing heaven

We like to dance and dance and dance

And then we like to prance

On A Sudbury Saturday Night

Quality.

Of course there were repercussions. Live by the sword, well, you know. He answered the phone one drunken night and was told to come into work immediately. He laughed and hung up. The phone rang again. Once again he was told to come in. This time he told the caller (whom he figured was a friend Nick, another noted prankster) to eat it. The third time the phone rang was when he realized that he shared his given name with his Dad.

Nick himself was humbled, at least briefly, when Frank had a girlfriend’s cousin who happened to be a cop call him and ask him to come into the station to discuss complaints about prank calls. Again there was the disbelief and then the realization that he was actually talking to a real police officer. When he called the station and was told that yes there was an officer so and so there, he shaved, put on a shirt and tie and was heading out the door, shitting his pants, when the phone rang to call off the dogs.

Yes I grew up in the company of asses. I was one of the lead donkeys. No need to say anything. I understand.

So one evening a long long time ago (1994) the phone rang and I picked it up. On the other end was a girl.

Is Pat there?

This is him.

Hey, how are you?

And from there she talked about how she had seen me in the video store and she thought I was a pretty funny guy and that I seemed nice and she was wondering if I would like to go out for coffee to get to know each other better. Now I have no idea who she is and she's flirting like mad and its making me crazy. I ask her her name and she tells me that she wants to surprise me but that I will definitely recognize her when we meet. So I'm going nuts and finally we agree to meet and just as I am about to hang up she says:

Oh, one more thing.

Yeah?

Is it true that you have enormous balls?

A roar of laughter in the background and I would have loved to have seen the look on my face as I realized that I had truly been had by Frank and his accomplice, his girlfriend out in BC.

FRANKKKKKK!

By the way I do have enormous balls. For our wedding Frank flew into the Island from California and got up to speak before the gathered mob and proceeded to read "Ten Things You Don't Know About Pat". Going against all speaking etiquette he read ten concise mysterious phrases (I still have the list somewhere) which left everyone scratching their heads except all of my assembled buddies who were killing themselves as I squirmed as my bride's eyebrow raised with each statement. One of those, the one that my friend the Communist said made him shit his pants, was "The Longest Ball".



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