Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mistaken Identity on Bourbon Street

      I’m going to move on from the New Orleans stories, because they may be getting boring. But I want to mention a couple of short stories about another one of my friends. Only one of these events occurred at a Super Bowl.  I’ll call this guy “Hunter,” which is not his real name. Hunter tried out for the Raiders, but didn’t make the cut, although he did make the cut in college, gaining a Master Degree from Stanford. He was usually prominently involved in our “social” activities.

            Hunter was one of the original “Animals,” despite being a very smart guy. As an example of his cleverness, I remember an NFL game where Hunter had a game ticket pinned on his hat. This wasn’t at the Super Bowl. I think it was a game at Candlestick Park, but I may be wrong.

There was a major effort to cut down on ticket scalping and the police were determined to put an end to it. But Hunter was even more determined to make a quick buck by selling a game ticket for much more than the face amount. Wearing the ticket on his hat was the bait.

            A police officer in plain clothes came up to Hunter and asked him if he was selling the ticket on his hat. Hunter said, “Yes.”  The officer asked how much Hunter wanted. Hunter replied that he would sell it for the face amount of the ticket, which was legal. The cop quickly said, “I’ll buy it.”  Hunter hesitated and said, “Sorry, but I really can’t sell it.”  The officer asked, “Why not?” Hunter replied, “Well, it’s stuck to my hat and I would have to sell my hat.”

            The cop asked, “Okay. How much do you want for your hat?” Hunter replied, “I would consider selling the hat for $500.00.”  (I don’t remember the amount he actually quoted.)  To which the officer had no response and no reason to arrest Hunter. The hapless cop shuffled away in defeat. There’s no law against selling a hat.

My last blog mentioned our first night in New Orleans during a Super Bowl weekend and an incident at a popular club on Bourbon Street.  Picture the same atmosphere…crowded streets, noise; shoulder to shoulder people moving like river currents running both ways up and down the streets of the French Quarter.

            Several of us were walking down one of the crowded New Orlean streets. Hunter suddenly turned and walked rapidly across the street where a very pretty woman was walking alone. We watched as Hunter put his arm around her and proceeded to get into what appeared to be a very passionate embrace, kissing, fondling and all that stuff.  It was love at first sight.

            Just as suddenly as he left us, he spun around, left the girl standing in bewilderment, and walked very briskly back to us. We asked him what happened, but he wouldn’t talk to us. He wouldn’t even make eye contact. After almost a block of walking without saying a word, he suddenly lurched into an alley and threw up. We didn’t know what his problem was. Bad oysters maybe? He appeared fine before he walked across the street.

            Later he confessed. It was very difficult for him to talk about his experience and he needed some liquid backbone to get started.  It turns out that the “pretty lady” wasn’t a lady at all. She was a “he.” Hunter discovered this at some point in his groping frenzy. You can imagine his shock.

He probably set a world record for falling in and out of love; all within less than two minutes.  Actually more like five minutes, if you add throwing up.

I don’t think Hunter ever got over that hideous moment of discovery.  Fortunately we had a clinical psychologist with us and the Doc got a new patient.  

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  1. Ralph you have finally done it; left me speechless!

  2. Malcolm - My friend "Hunter" was speechless for a while too. I hope the precipitating factor in your speechlessness was different than his.

  3. Ralph, I am busy thinking about Hunter! Are you sure this is not an autobiography?????

    I saw all those guns so I know you are a HUNTER!!!!!

  4. No, Ed. I've never been a hunter.

    That story was autobiographical only in the sense that I was there. The guy I called, "Hunter" doesn't live in the U.S. anymore. I have several stories about him, but I think that he's well past the transvestite trauma after several decades.