Thursday, November 02, 2006

Jaguars Vs. Jets


Since I last emailed, I have also worked two times in my
security-guarding role. The first involved me spending an entire
Friday sitting in a chair at Alltel Stadium, while essentially nothing
happened. I was assiged to guard the East Club entrance gate on a day
when there was an event in the West Club, which, as you might
guess from the name, is located on the side of the stadium opposite to
where I was posted. Over the course of the day (from 8 a.m. to 5:30
p.m.), MAYBE fifteen people came by. Accordingly, the hardest work I
did all day was moving my chair occasionally so that I'd stay out of
the sun.

Ideally, I would have spent that time thinking deep thoughts, making
complex plans, etc. But after about fifteen minutes, the only thing I
could think about was how f-----g bored I was. So that's what I
thought about. For the next eight hours and fifteen minutes.

At the very end of my shift, I did finally have the opportunity to do
something. My post was right near the office for the Gator Bowl
Committee, and at the end of the day, a guy came out of that office
carrying a few bulky wooden shelving units. I thought to myself,
"Great! I can finally be useful!", and I offered to help him get them
to his car. He politely declined. It was only after he drove off
that I thought to myself, "Maybe, as a security guard, I ought to be
STOPPING people from carrying off pieces of the stadium."

Then, last Sunday, I worked the Jaguars/Jets game. I was assigned to
the same post I had last game, which was to start out at the media
gate, then move on to doing searches at Gate 1, and then around
halftime move into the stadium and take a position in the expensive

That's not a bad assignment, but it's not where I want to be. I am
willing -- nay, EAGER -- to do whatever it takes to get back on the
field. I feel I owe it to the Roar, who I'm sure have missed me.

Anyway, soon I headed on out to the media gate. I had a great time
talking with the usual guard at the media gate, "Lucky." Lucky is an
older guy, and he's worked the media gate for so long that all of the
media people know him by name. I was enjoying talking with Lucky, but
was shocked to discover that he's 79 years old, and served as a guard
at the Nuremburg Trials. (see That dude's in great
shape for 79. I seriously have no doubt whatsoever that he could
still kick my weenie ass.

The media gate was pretty quiet. I did, however, get to frisk network
tv analyst and former pro football star Randy Cross (see

Then, it was on to gate 1, and again frisking a couple thousand guys.
Fortunately, it was a little bit cooler than the last game, so people
weren't nearly as sweaty as the last time I was there. Thank God.
Things moved pretty smoothly, and I think I did alright. I was
particularly pleased to successfully find and interdict a pair of fake
binoculars that were filled with whiskey. (I thought I was pretty
slick for catching that.)

Unlike the Cowboys and the Steelers, the Jets fans didn't turn out in
huge numbers for the game. It was not hard to identify those who did,
though. Most of them really did sound like stereotypical New Yorkers.
In fact, if I had a dollar for every "Howyadoin'" I heard, I'd have
more than enough money to invest it and never have to frisk another
couple of thousand guys. Anyway, the Jets fans were pleasant enough,
and only one gave me a hard time. Although he didn't try to stop me
from patting him down, one guy angrily shouted "Hey, this is f----n'
illegal! You can't search me! I know my rights." I thought, "Sure,
stand up for those rights, pal. You're a real f-----g Rosa Parks." I
should have seized the opportunity to give him a purple nurple (see, but I'm far too
professional for that, I guess.

Once everyone was in the stadium, a bunch of us got redeployed inside
the stadium to augment the security in the expensive seats. While we
were waiting to be reposted under the bleachers, some important dude
called us all to gather around him. He was either the head security
guy for Alltell Stadium, or an NFL official. Regardless, he was
obviously running the show. He informed us that this was a rough
crowd, and that Jets fans were notoriously difficult. He said he'd
seen them set fires to their seats at other games, and that was when
their team was WINNING. Here, they were losing. He also said that
there had been problems today with drunkenness, general rowdiness, and
(get this), fans in the seating area jumping up and grabbing bottles
of liquor off of the sills of the luxury boxes above them. He told us
not to put up with any shit.

Thus inspired, we were sent out into the lion's den. I got put up
near the top of the uber-expensive club seats. Over the next hour and
a half, there were actually several occasions when I had to step in
and take control of situations. (Curiously, not one of them involved an untuly Jets fan.)
I stopped a couple of young guys fromhopping the fence separating the club seats from the regular seats,
and gave a very stern talking to a dude who threw a wadded up napkin,
among others. However, there were no situations that I didn't resolve
merely by being stern, and nothing that required the assistance of the
cops, thank God. I got to watch some of the game, which was only
remarkable for how big a beat-down the Jags administered to the Jets.
(For game recap, see

This week, the Jags are off, and then they're on the road next week.
They return to action the week after that, hosting the Titans. I'll
do my best to get on tv so you all can see me up there, but if I
don't, you can at least know that whenever they show a crowd shot,
it's likely that I will have frisked at least some of the guys in the

Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy Birthday, Rich!

I can be something of a misanthrope.

But even those of us who tend to dwell on the negative occasionally find people walking amongst us who are eminently worthy of respect and affection. I think it entirely appropriate to recognize one of them here, publicly, on the occasion of his birthday.

Happy birthday, Rich. You're a good man.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Non-NFL Security Guarding

Wherein I protect the ladies of the Bethel Baptist Institutional Church. Another email to Pablo from a little while back. Fear not, brave readers -- pretty soon I'll be caught up, writing about things right after they happen, and actually expanding my efforts into realms beyond my work as a part-time security guard.

Last night, I had my first non-pro-football security guarding
experience, as I worked the Bethel Baptist Institutional Church's
Eighth Annual "Ladies Night Out" at the Veterans' Memorial Auditorium.
A good time was had by all.

And, as a licensed and highly-trained security guard, I believe I can
largely take credit for the fact that none of the several thousand
Baptist ladies in attendance were knifed or engaged in fisticuffs.
Damn, I'm good.

The sponsor for the event was Jacksonville's oldest and largest
African-American congregation, which has well over 10,000 members (see The leader of the church is Reverend
Rudolph McKissack, Sr., who has been the pastor for 40 years. His son,
the Rev. Rudolph McKissack, Jr., (known as "Reverend Junior") is
second in charge, and others members of the family also serve as
members of the clergy there (e.g., Reverend Junior's sister Jasmine,
known as "Reverend Jazz").

My involvement did not get off to an auspicious beginning. First,
being still pretty new to town, I got lost on the way to the venue.
This caused me to (a) arrive late for my scheduled reporting time of
2:30; and (b) wind up parking in the wrong parking lot. As soon as I
got in, I was bragging to my co-workers how even though I was late,
I'd managed to snag a primo parking spot right in front of the loading
dock. Their eyes got wide, and they informed me in no uncertain terms
that "they gonna tow your white ass." So, armed with directions from
my co-workers, I hustled my white ass back to the loading dock and
moved my car two blocks away, where we were supposed to park. Then,
as soon as I'd walked all the way back, I realized I'd left my
security guard license in the car. Because the state conducts spot
checks and fines guards $500 if they are caught without their license
on them (which is more than I'm likely to net from working all
football season), I had to hike the two blocks back to my car to get
it, then those same two blocks back to the auditorium. By then, my
white ass was safe from being towed, but kind of tired.

I was angry at myself for being so clueless and now so very, very
late, but when I got back inside the auditorium, my co-workers were
even angrier. It turned out that the event planners had changed the
time we were requested to report and informed someone at CSC, but that
CSC person had never passed the news on to us lowly workers. As a
result, our actual reporting time was set for 4:15, instead of 2:30,
which is what we;d been told when we were scheduled to work. My
fellow workers were furious that they'd thus reported nearly two hours
early, which meant two hours of sitting around without being paid.
The staff was in open revolt, to such an extent thatthe on-site CSC
supervisor had essentially locked himself in the CSC satellite
office at the auditorium, and was not coming out. Thus,
ironically, the greatest threat of violence of the entire evening's
event would originate within the security guards.

After about half an hour of bitching and moaning (and occasional
pounding on the CSC office door), one of the CSC higher-ups from the
main office showed up, apologized to us profusely, and told us we'd be
paid from 3:00 onward. This mollified the workers somewhat, but just
to be sure, an even higher-up from the main office also came by and
apologized. The knowledge that we were at least getting paid didn't
make the next hour and a half of sitting around doing nothing go by
any faster, but it did keep everyone from any additional assaults on
the office door as the event supervisors arrived.

Finally, at about 4:30, it was actually time for us to get suited up
and do our jobs. I was pleased that the main supervisor at the event
was "Big John," who is also the guy who supervises the on-field CSC
security team at Alltel, and to whom I decided to desperately suck up,
in order to get back on the field for future Jags games.

Just before our deployment throughout the building, Big John gave us his
version of a pre-event pep talk. Evidently aware of the earlier
dissension in the ranks, he kept it short and sweet and specific to
this event, saying something like: "Alright everybody -- you're going to get
paid from 3, even though you haven't done any work yet. Now tonight's crowd is a
nice crowd. This is a nice church. This arena is going to be full of
classy Christian ladies. And if I hear any b-----t from any of you
motherf------s, I will send your f-----g ass straight home! Got that?"

Yes, sir!

Then we were all split up amongst the supervisors ranking below Big
John. I was assigned to a team led by Roger, a tall later-middle-aged
white guy who looked around alot and appeared as if he were something of an ex-surfer dude. Roger pulled his team
aside, and told us very frankly that it wasn't really clear what we were supposed to do, so he would find a
spot for each of us to "hang out."

I was then dispatched with one other woman to the door reserved for
use by the preachers. There, we stood with a woman from the church,
who's job it was to greet the preachers and direct them to the room
where they were going for pre-event prayers. The woman from the
church was exceptionally sweet, and also exceptionally short. Even in
very high stilleto heels, she only came up about to my shoulders. I
instantly took a liking to her because she was so vivacious, but she
did have one somewhat annoying speaking habit. I know I'm risking
being consigned straightaway to eternal damnation upon my death for
complaining about this, but here goes...

She said "Amen" way too much.

That is, where other people might say "ummm," or "you know," she said
"Amen." As in, "Amen, when all the preachers get here, Amen, we're
going to have prayers before we, Amen, have a light meal and start the
program, Amen." Now although I found that verbal affectation to be
mildly irritating, I have to respect the discipline it must have taken
to condition herself to say that every time, instead of saying
something like "umm" or "you know." It made me ponder whether I could
train myself to say some sort of word like that in place of just
saying "umm" all the time as I formulate sentences out loud. (I've
settled on using the word "scrump-dilly-icious" -- listen for it next
time you talk with me).

Anyway, I figured I'd get bored just "hanging out" as per my
instructions, so I tried to make myself useful by opening the door for
and greeting everyone who came in. I found that job to be perfectly
acceptable, and everyone coming in was very, very nice.

After about 20 minutes, Roger reappeared and said he had a post for
us. He took the woman I was with and posted her at one entrance to
the backstage area, and me at the entrance to the other side. That is
to say, we were guarding the access to the dressing rooms and
backstage areas. Ordinarily, that would be a somewhat challenging
job, involving checking credentials to ensure only those truly
permitted to could enter the backstage area. However, at this event,
there were no credentials issued, and we were never told who was
permitted to go backstage and who wasn't. As a result, there was no
real "guarding" to be done. So, my supervisor Roger told me to just
"hang out... and... ummmm... (I thought -- "scrump-dilly-icious")...
observe the situation."

For the next five or six hours, I did just that. To make myself
useful, I took it upon myself to serve as the doorman for all of the
people going in and out of the backstage area. They were all very
nice and gracious, as I tried to smile and be helpful and charming
without being too obsequious. I gave innumerable women directions to
the ladies' room, the concession stands, and the water fountain. I
spent several minutes blocking people from entering the family
restroom when the toilet in it got blocked up. And, I went into the
men's room at one point to check on a little boy whose grandmother
became worried when he took a very, very long time.

I did get to deal regularly with the church staff and volunteers as
they passed in and out of the backstage area. They were uniformly
wonderful people, so great in fact, that I would say they were
wonderful even if the church chef didn't come out periodically and
offer me food and drink from the backstage catering (which I declined
-- eating and drinking is prohibited on duty). My favorite was
"Deacon Lou," a short, older, hyperkinetic black guy who appeared to
be in charge of the volunteers. Much of his running around seemed to
be directed at finding the volunteers, who perhaps because he was so
hyper, must have been constantly running away from him. Periodically,
Deacon Lou would whiz by me, saying things I couldn't quite
understand. I'd open the door, and he'd thank me and mumble something
like "(mumble mumble mumble mumble) ...boy must have been
Shanghai'd.. (mumble mumble)."

During slow periods (and there were many), I was pleased that Big John
and Roger would come and hang out with me. They got a kick out of
learning that I was a lawyer. In turn, I learned that Big John had
retired after spending 30 years as a Navy Seal, and Roger was an
electrician who'd been working concert and event security for over 30
years. Big John had some good Seal stories, and surprised me by
responding to my "what should we do about Iraq" question by saying
"get the hell out of there." Roger had some great stories about his
past security guarding experiences, which included lifting up Elvis
and pushing him out a bathroom window to help him surreptitiously get
out of an arena away from the mobs of fans looking for him after a
1970's concert. (Yes, Pablo, that means I shook a hand that had
actually touched Elvis's ass.) Anyway, we had a great time talking
and joking, which I hope Big John will remember when he puts together
the on-field team for the next Jaguars game.

From my station, I could see a little portion of the arena and hear
most of what was going on, so I had my first exposure to an
African-American evangelical stadium religious service. It was quite
a show, with several thousand black women in attendance. It was part
tent-revival and part Christian rock concert. The music was
outstanding, with the featured performer being a guy named Tye
Tribbett (see

Needless to say, this represented quite a different sort of religious
experience than I am used to. The preaching all borrowed heavily from
the hip-hop vernacular. I specifically heard exhortations to "make
your haters into your elevators," and to avoid "fakin' frontin' and
stuntin'." I can't say I've ever heard theological concepts expressed
quite that way in any of my previous church experiences.

I do, however, think it would be great to try to bring some of that
into more WASPy traditions, and Pablo, I desperately want you to try to
arrange an opportunity for me to introduce your father-in-law at some
church event. If I ever do get such an opportunity, I promise to copy
last night's introduction of the main preacher, essentially verbatim. I look
forward to introducing your father-in-law by shouting, "NOW SISTAHS,
WITH JESUS, REVEREND T-- S------!!!!!" (The thumping bass riff
accompaniment will be optional, however.)

Pastor Junior was announced that way last night, then preached for
well over an hour, and really was great. His message tied a gospel
reading on Christ's transformation together with the need for personal
transformations in all of our lives. I'm not in the least bit ashamed
to admit that his message resonated with me.

And then, it was over. The crowd streamed out, we cleared the arena,
an then it was a two block walk and ten minute drive back to my
hacienda, where I flopped into bed a bit after midnight. All in all,
a reasonably fun and intersting night.

I don't know when I'll guard next. The Jags don't play at home again
until October 8, when they meet the New York Jets. It's possible I
won't guard anything again until then. However, I will have some warm
feelings to carry me through to that point. A few days back, while
looking at a Jaguars blog, I came across a thread devoted to fans'
experiences entering the Monday Night Football game against the
Steelers. As you may recall, I was doing pat-downs at Gate 1, and for
most of the time, I was the only guy there. With that in mind, check
out the thread, and particularly the posts of the guy named "Patriots
Fan," located here --

In all likelihood, I am the "pat-down guy" that Patriots Fan refers to
in his second post. Ahhhh, when you're me, you've got to cling
tenaciously to whatever little scraps of praise fall from the table of
life onto the floor.

Or something like that.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jaguars Versus Steelers (and Suzy Kolber vs. Michelle Tafoya)

Below, another email to Pablo about my experiences as part of the extravaganza that is Monday Night Football...

Dear Pablo --

It's Monday Night Football, baby! The pomp. The pageantry. The
athleticism. The hordes of drunken n'er-do-wells. And in the middle
of it all -- the "Me."

MNF is a big damn deal, and it was fun to be even a small part of it.

The local media has been all over the game for days, as has the
national media. The big pre-game story line from a national
perspective was the return to the field of Steelers' ace quarterback
Ben Roethlisberger (,
after an offseason motorcycle accident and having his appendix removed
two weeks ago. Most national pundits and prognisticators picked
Pittsburgh (say that 5 times fast), which isn't exceptionally
surprising, given that they are the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Jags got very little attention.

Locally, though, the week leading up to the game was all Jags, all the
time. The Mayor declared yesterday to be "Teal Day," because the Jags
wear teal uniforms. Stores in the metro Jacksonville area reported
selling out of anything and everything teal. Somehow, the Sparky family
managed to make it through the week without buying
anything teal, although to honor the Mayor's request, I allowed some
old vanilla yogurt to fester in our refrigerator, where it did
eventually take on sort of a teal-ish hue.

Other than the non-stop media barrage, the first physical sign of the
approaching big game from my perspective occurred on Sunday. I was
lounging on the back porch, when I heard what sounded like a large,
loud cross between a mosquito and a helicopter in the sky. I looked
up, and the Goodyear Blimp flew right over our house at a surprisingly
low altitude. Not to brag on Jacksonville, but the closest thing I
ever saw to that in Hopkinsville was once when P---- M------ drove by
my house.

Now, that was uncalled for. I don't know P---- all that well, and
making fun of her weight is way out of bounds. Please forgive me for
that, because: (a) I was up very late last night, and I'm very tired
and thus not exercising the best judgment right now; and (b) P---- is
really fat.

Anyway, I urgently summoned the kids to the back porch to see the
blimp. Both seemed to like it, but Little Miss Sparky was most enthralled. In
fact, as soon as it was out of sight, she looked up at me and said
matter-of-factly, "Daddy -- I want to see another one." Thank you,
Veruca Salt. (

Monday dawned bright and sunshiny. I decided to have a big lunch to
fuel myself for the evening's work, so I drove off to find an
appropriate game-day smorgasbord. On the way, I saw a shirtless guy
with both his body and his mohawk painted teal, driving a red Vespa.
I noted to myself that at the time, it was still seven hours before
kickoff, and the guy was eight miles from the stadium and heading in
the opposite direction from it. Silently, to myself, I snickered at
him for being so low class. Then I pulled into Waffle House.

You know, I had almost reached the conclusion that Florida, with its
temperate climate congenial to sunbathing and outdoor activities, its
emphasis on fitness, and the pressure one feels to look good while
wearing shorts and t-shirts, was full only of beautiful, toned young
people. My sojourn to Waffle House violently disabused me of that
notion. Although there were about eight other people in the
restaurant, I am sure that my entrance was enough to lower the average
weight of the clientele by about 30%, and increase the average number
of teeth by about 50%. My waitress appeared to be utterly toothless,
but with several candy corns stuck in her gums. Not an appetizing
place, but I did manage to scarf down three scrambled eggs and a
bucket of hash browns, and I was on my way.

I arrived at Alltel at about 4 p.m. (4 and a half hours before
kickoff), and was immediately posted at the media gate, where I
frisked reporters and examined their bags and camera equipment. ESPN,
as the national network showing the game, had a ton of people there.
I patted down at least one guy I recognized from ESPN, a sports
analyst, but I can't for the life of me remember his name. But I can
tell you that he had firm abs.
I also patted down John Dockery
(, whom I have also seen on
TV before. ESPN personality Michael Wilbon
( and his kids stood next to
me for several minutes, but I did not get to frisk him. I'll try to,
next time.

Then, about three hours before gametime, I was posted at Gate 1, which
is right next to the media entrance, and which is one of four
entrances the general public uses to get into the stadium. It's right
next to some huge parking lots that were filled with tailgate parties,
and the sweet smell of grilling meat wafted over to me for the next
several hours, while I was powerless to do anything about it.

Fans started congregating outside the gate long before it opened.
Most seemed to be wearing Pittsburgh gear. They certainly had a much
more blue-collar feel to them than last week's Dallas fans, and their
connection to their team seemed more motivated by fun and good times
than the Dallas fans' more emotional, religious bent.

For a long time, I just stood behind the locked gate, chatting with
the fans. It was a nice, loose, fun atmosphere. Boomer Esiason
( walked by me, which was
kind of exciting. Boomer is a very, very big man. But I guess you
would have to be, if your name was "Boomer."

All was fun and good until the skies just opened up and poured down
rain. That was okay for me, because the gate has a little bitty roof
over it, where I was able to cower. The fans waiting, however, were
getting soaked. I did my best to keep them entertained. At one
particularly drenching point, when the drops were just pounding down
on all the fans, I loudly announced to the crowd, in the most cheery
voice I could muster, "Don't worry folks, I think this is all going to
burn off!" As a sign of how much everyone had had to drink, they all
thought that was hilarious. Then, a little while later, I spotted one
of the CSC bosses driving by in his golf cart. I hollered over to
him, "Hey Richard! I need some rain gear!" He drove over, and gave
me a rain poncho. I then turned to the waiting crowd, and loudly
shouted, "What will you all give me for this fine rain poncho?"
Again, much drunken laughter. I was eating it up -- I was part of
the show, baby!

Then, two hours before game time, it was time to open the gate. Then,
for me at least, things became less fun. That was because the other
male supposed to be stationed at that gate was late, and as a result,
I was the only guy there to pat down all the men entering through Gate
1. As I said, there are only 4 gates into the stadium, and the
stadium's 68,000 seats were sold out. And the majority of people who
come to NFL games are male. Which is to say, that by my rough
estimate, I single-handedly (well, actually, I used both hands) patted
down about 5,000 men in the next two and a half hours.

What, you might ask, did I learn about men and/or myself from this?
I'm glad you asked. I learned several things:

1. I don't really like frisking 5,000 men.

2. In any given group of 5,000 men, it is likely that the vast
majority won't really like being patted down.

3. Men sweat. A lot.

4. We're a pretty fat gender.

5. Roughly 70% of men going to an NFL game wear baseball hats. When,
as required by our security rules, you ask them to look under their
hat, roughly 70% of those men will comment on their hair, or lack

6. Older guys and younger guys take the frisking in stride, and are
uniformly courteous. If someone's going to be a jerk about it,
virtually every single time it will be a middle-aged (e.g. 30-45 year
old) guy.

7. African-American guys are generally much more courteous and
accepting of being patted down than white guys.

8. Most people who get wasted at football games don't get wasted once
they get in the stadium -- they ARRIVE wasted, and only modestly
supplement their inebriation from the concession stands.

9. Did I say we're fat, and sweat a lot?

10. I do not understand how in the world women find us, as a gender,

11. Roughly 10% of men being frisked will try to make some sort of
joke either stating or implying that either they or the frisker is
getting some sort of sexual thrill out of it. One hundred percent of
those making such jokes will seem to think that they're the first guy
who ever thought of that, and that they are hi-frickin'-larious.

12. If you frisk 5,000 men, three will hug you. (Or at least, three
hugged me. You might get a lot more than that, sweet cheeks).

The good news is that I got to wear latex gloves for most of that
frisking. The bad news is that about three quarters of the way
through everyone, my gloves were rotting off my hands. So I had to
barehand the last several hundred. I have to say, last night was the
first time I felt it essential to wash my hands BEFORE I went to the

Anyway, only one person seriously balked at being patted down. In a
rather haughty voice, he asked me what would happen if he refused to
be frisked. I told him if he refused, he was not going into the
stadium. He stood aside for awhile considering that, then evidently
decided that it wasn't worth wasting about $125 on a ticket just
because he wanted to preserve whatever sort of dignity he felt would
be violated by my frisking him. So he got back into line, and came
through. (I gave him a huge wedgie, and told him it was required by
the Patriot Act.)

The frisking, though, wasn't as bad as having to stop people from
bringing prohibited stuff into the stadium. And believe me, lots of
stuff is prohibited. People did not like being told that they
couldn't take their footballs, posters, flags, umbrellas, seat
cushions, food and drink, etc. into the game. Several got downright
ugly about it. All eventually relented, but still, I hated making the
kids, especially, ditch stuff in the trash. And I hated it even more
that I wasn't able to keep any of the stuff.

Anyway, we eventually got everyone in, and then I was re-posted inside
the bowl of the stadium. Ahhh, Nirvana! I got put in the West Club
section, which is where rich people and season ticketholders sit in
areas gated off from the riff-raff and commoners. My role there was,
to put it mildly, not particularly well-defined. In fact, the
supervisor of that section, on those rare occasions when I could find
him, had no idea what to do with me. So he told me, "roam around,"
which I did, while looking stern and guard-like. Periodically, I'd
ask people to move from whever they were loitering. One fan was
thrilled when I got some chick who was standing there talking on a
cellphone to get out of his way. For a few minutes, I was that dude's

Otherwise, I pretty much got to watch the game. It was AWESOME. The crowd was
all fired up, the game was close, and the hitting on the field was
incredible. The crowd was loud and boisterous, but essentially

I was at the top of the first section of seats behind the Jags' bench,
which meant I was maybe 30 rows from the field. I had a good view of
the action on the field, and very little to do. However, whenever
there was a big play, I'd make sure that I turned my back on the field
and scanned the crowd. That's because at those times, when people's
emotions are most aroused, and they're jumping around, spilling beer
on each other, waving their arms and inadvertantly smacking their
neighbors, etc., is when there's most likely going to be trouble.
Plus, I didn't want to be seen in the post-game CSC video reviews to
be absorbed in the game instead of doing something.

I did have a few occasions to actually do my job, but the biggest two
actually occurred while I was on break. I helped one woman by getting
someone to come and clean up a place in her section where someone had
puked, and I helped an out of town couple of Pittsburgh fans find
their way around. Both of those folks were very, very thankful. I
felt all warm and tingly.

By far my best moment of fan response was while I was pacing back and
forth between the first and second sections, consciously trying to
scan the crowd with my "I'm a security guard, don't f--- with me"
face. I overheard one fan say to another, "Geez, that security guy
looks serious." Heh heh heh. If only they knew that inside I was
laughing, thinking "I'm getting PAID to watch the game from a section
where your seats cost you over $200 each!"

Eventually, my supervisor figured out what to do with me, and he used
me to relieve some other guards who were posted along the bottom of
the club sections. That meant I got to be right up next to (but not
actually on) the field behind the Jags' bench. I spent most of my
time in front of the section where the players' families and friends
sat. That section sort of stood out from the rest of the club seats,
because it was the only one with significant numbers of black people
in it. They were all very, very nice, and watched the game quite
differently from the others in the club seats. They were more sedate,
and I didn't really see any alcohol being consumed. Really, the
players' families and friends seemed to almost have an air of concern
about them, which, given the tremendously hard-hitting and violent
nature of football in general and this game in particular, seemed
perfectly justified to me.

From my perch right next to the field, I was granted a dream come true
-- that is, a close-up view of ESPN sideline babe Suzy Kolber
( She spent significant
portions of the second half no more than 30 feet from me. I felt we
bonded. (She might disagree with that assessment.) In any event, you
may possibly be wondering if she's as cute as she appears to be on TV
or in her photos online. Well, is she?


She is WAY hotter. Evidently, I was not the only one who thought so,
because the fans were constantly screaming for her. She, ever the
professional, ignored them. Still, every time she'd come anywhere
near the stands, fans would be screaming "SUZY, WE LOVE YOU!" Then,
when ESPN's other sideline reporter, Michelle Tafoya
( would come nearby, the
fans would also yell "SUZY, WE LOVE YOU!" Now Tafoya's a cutie, so I
frankly felt kind of bad for her, what with fans chanting for Kolber
whenever she came around. I thought she could use some comforting.
And believe me, I knew the man for the job. (She might disagree with
my assessment). Well, maybe next time, after I get done frisking
Michael Wilbon...

When the game ended, I was moved over to the visiting team tunnel.
You may recall from last week's game that I was posted on the field
right by there. This time, I was in the bottom of the stands at that
point, where I was responsible for making sure nobody threw anything
at the Steelers or otherwise caused trouble. I again put on my "don't
f--- with me" face.

Here, I noticed an intriguing difference between the Steelers fans and
the Cowboys fans I watched at nearly the same spot last week. After
the Cowboys lost, many of their fans congregated around the tunnel and
applauded or otherwise showed some love to their defeated team.
However, this week, there were absolutely no Steelers fans hanging
around to cheer for their defeated team. This time, the area was full
of Jags fans, who were mercilessly taunting the departing Steelers.
Roethlisburger and Pittsburgh Coach Bill Cowher
( attracted particularly vigorous
abuse. They passed within ten feet of me, but I felt I had to watch
the crowd in case things got ugly, so I didn't actually see them. I
did, however, get to see defensive and tonsorial standout Troy
Polamalu ( and last year's
Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward ( up
close. In fact, I could have reached out and touched them, but I
decided not to because (a) I was there to prevent precisely that sort
of thing from happening to them, and (b) I thought I'd touched more
than enough men for one day.

Shortly thereafter, Michelle Tafoya came up the tunnel just a few feet
from me, thus prompting more scattered chants of "WE LOVE YOU, SUZY!"
from the remaining fans.

After the fans were gone, I started scanning the stands for my
supervisor. I never actually saw him again. They say that leadership
abhors a vacuum, and I guess I proved that to be true. In the absence
of any direction from above, I elected myself to be my own supervisor,
and eventually I just decided that my work there was done and I'd go
home. So I did, rolling back home at about 2 a.m.

All in all, a GREAT football game and a good experience. It was the
lowest scoring Monday Night Football game ever, but I think it was
plenty exciting. It also marked the first time in 25 years that a
Super Bowl champion has been held scoreless in a game during the
season after it won the championship. It was a stellar performance by
Jacksonville, which now has to be considered among the elite teams in
the NFL this season. You can read about the game here -- Or, if you
prefer, you can see more pictures of Suzy Kolber here --

The Jags have away games the next two weeks, and I doubt that I'll be
willing to travel to Miami to cover the Dolphins' games or to Atlanta
to cover the Falcons' games, nor do I expect to agree to cover any of
the Florida games, which would require traveling to Gainesville for a

However, all will not necessarily be quiet in security-guard-land for
me. I was offered the opportunity to be bussed to West Palm or
somewhere like that to work a Korn concert this week, but I do not
want to die. However, I did accept a gig to work at a special event
being held at a downtown Jacksonville arena this Friday night. It is
the Bethel Baptist Church "Ladies Night Out," which you can read about
here -- (scroll down a
little ways).

I have no clue as to what kind of security issues will be confront me
at a large gathering of evangelical Baptist African-American women,
but know this, Pablo -- I WILL BE READY.

I am not a man to be trifled with.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My On-field Security Debut

Another email to my friend, Pablo, from a few weeks back...

Pablo --

By now, you may have noticed the lack of new reports indicating that
there were any security problems at this Sundays's Jacksonville
Jaguars game against the Dallas Cowboys. I like to think that the
lack of any riots or other mayhem is directly attributable to my
stellar performance as a Florida Class D Licensed Security Officer.

There was excitement in the air all weekend. Or maybe that was just
the burritos I ate Friday... but in any event, the people of
Jacksonville were all keyed up. The Fox network had chosen the
Jags/Cowboys game as their feature game for the weekend, which meant
that their entire Sunday NFL programming was based in Jacksonville,
and we were the game broadcast to 90% of the country. I knew I'd have
to bring my "A" game -- as well as a rain poncho, some Gatorade,
Mentos, and a pack of smokes -- all of which I crammed into my
uber-masculine fanny-pack.

And while I did remember to pack my "A" game, I unfortunately forgot
to pack my CSC ID card and security officer's license. So, just before
I reached the parking lot, I had to turn around and head home to
retrieve it. Me, my "A" game, and my fanny pack thus clocked in late.
I had to do a little begging to retain my scheduled on-field post,
but I guess I looked pitiful enough so that the supervisors let me go
on as scheduled.

My first responsibility was to join with about 15 co-workers to guard
the visiting team entrance. By the time I was posted there, the
Cowboys' defensive players and coaching staff had already arrived, and
the loading dock was blocked off from the general public by rows of
those metal barriers that look like bike racks. There were many, many
Dallas fans loitering around to try to catch a glimpse of the players.
The Dallas fans were an interesting bunch (in a vaguely pathetic,
maniacal sort of way). Most were dressed head to toe in official
Cowboys regalia, all of which (like all officially licensed NFL gear)
is ridiculously expensive. Anyway, I saw at least three women dressed
up as 1970's Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. Two of them had to be at
least 40 years old, and were probably older. I thought, "Damn, here's
somebody's GRANDMA wearing a fringed bustier and white leather go-go
boots." They just don't make grandma's like they used to.

Anyway, I stood around trying to look nonchalant yet tough. (Note --
I was neither, but I tried hard to have the look, at least.) Before
long, we heard the police escort coming, so we cleared a swath through
the crowd, and the Cowboys' offense's bus pulled in. The crowd of
Dallas fans went absolutely NUTS. I was about 20 feet from the bus,
and thus got close up looks at Cowboys owner and billionaire Jerry
Jones (see, then pro sports'
ultimate bad boy, wide receiver Terrel Owens (see -- both of whom turned and
waved graciously to acknowledge the fans, and quarterback Drew Bledsoe
(see, who didn't turn and
acknowledge shit.

Then, with about an hour and a half to gametime, those of us who were
to be on-field security guards (about 8 of us, with others having
responsibility for following around the on-field tv camera crews),
went through the tunnel onto the field. I was honestly very, very

My position was at one corner of the visiting team's tunnel onto the
field, which was at about the 20 to 15 yard line, about 15 yards from
the end of the Jaguars' bench. I stood about six feet in from the
sideline. I had several responsibilities there: (1) keep the on-field
media behind certain painted lines; (2) keep people from congregating
around the Cowboys' tunnel, so they could get in and out of there
easily; (3) watch about 4 sections of the stadium seats to see if
there were any fights, medical emergencies, people throwing things
onto the field, etc., and report them to the cops if I saw anything;
(4) in the event the Jaguars challenged an official's ruling, standing
at the shoulder of and protecting the ref while he went under the
replay monitor hood; and (5) tackling and beating the shit out of
anybody who tried to run onto the field.

Of those tasks, I must say that it was the last one that scared me the
most, for several reasons. First, and most obviously, I am skilled
neither in tackling, nor in beating the shit out of anybody. (In
fact, I concluded that the only way I was likely to prevent any
particularly-determined miscreant from getting onto the field if he
really wanted to would be if my small intestine somehow got wrapped
around his ankles after he disemboweled me, and that tripped him up.)
Secondly, my employer (CSC), the Jaguars, and the NFL all have a
"thing" about people getting onto the field of play during games.
Every inch of every stadium is contantly being monitored via
closed-ciruit cameras, and everything is recorded. So if somebody
DOES manage to get onto the field, CSC, the team, and the NFL all will
review the tapes and watch to see how the security officer screwed up.
The higher-ups have whole seminars and meetings on this topic. I did
not want video of me f-----g up being watched by outraged NFL
executives, so I was determined not to let anybody get by me...

From the time I got there, there were a few players on the field
warming up, and several hangers-on and spectators with friends in high
places watching. All of the players seemed big and athletic, but
Terrell Owens stood out. I have never, ever seen a person who was in
that kind of physical condition. He had the body of a comic book
superhero. A human being could not possibly be in better physical
condition than T.O. is.

I had a nice time talking with the spectators on the sidelines. They
were all thrilled to be there (e.g. -- "This is the greatest day of my
life!"), and because I had the appearance of some authority, and
people assumed I was more experienced at this on-field thing than I
actually was, many were happy to chat me up. One guy turned out to be
from the small town where both my parents grew up and where my
grandmother lived until just a few years ago. Nice guy. I also got
asked several questions about the stadium by a Cowboy's team media
person, and I surprised myself by actually knowing the answers. I
also got a disproportionate amount of pleasure at one point when a
practice punt went out of bounds and bounced into my leg. I picked it
up and tossed it to a coach. I tried to be cool about it, and I think
I was on the outside, but on the inside I was giggling like a little

The few players warming up went back into the lockers to suit up and
the stadium filled with about 68,000 fans as gametime approached.
About 20 minutes before kickoff, we got the signal that the teams were
coming out, and I then had to hold a rope to clear the path from the
Cowboys' tunnel to the field. The Cowboys came out, and I was no more
than 10 feet from Bledsoe, Owens, Terry Glenn (see, Head Coach Bill Parcells
(see, and owner Jerry
Jones. Jones shook hands with all the fans along my line, at one
point reaching over my shoulder to do so. I could have turned my head
and bit his arm. (Note -- I did not do so -- I assumed that would
violate some sort of security guard's code.)

A marine band played some nice patriotic music, a woman sang a great
national anthem, and there was an awesome flyover by four F-15's (way
cool), and the game was on. I took my position at about the fifteen
yard line, right along the sidelines. As my job requires, I had my
back to the playing field, facing the stands.

That position has the advantage of allowing the security guard to
monitor the crowd, but the disadvantage of essentially keeping him
from watching more than little bits and pieces of the game. I was
comfortable with that and knew that would be the case, because it
would be impossible to do the job while watching the game. However,
because you can't really see what's going on out on the field, and
because you are so close to the sidelines, getting creamed by players
going out of bounds is a very real threat. I was told to cast
occasional sidelong glances at the jumbotron to see if a play was
coming my way, and also to run if the photographers near me started

The Jacksonville cheerleaders (called "The Roar") then took the field.
They divided themselves into four groups, one of which was located
directly in front of me, between me and the stands. I was so close to
them that on a few occasions during the game, I was actually brushed
by their pompoms. (Unfortunately, I am not here using the word
"pompoms" as a euphemism.) Anyway, oooohhhhhhhh, those cheerleaders!
I must say, I was in such fear over missing something in the stands or
letting some numbnuts scamper onto the field that I didn't watch them
all that much. (I had visions of the film review by CSC, the Jags and
the NFL, and the powers-that-be exclaiming " So that's how that drunk
naked guy got on the field -- the security officer was staring at that
cheerleader!") Anyway, what I did see of the Roar was that they
are a lithe, pixiesh group of smiling lasses. Very, VERY cute. .

Please note that I use the phrase "close to me" solely to refer to
physical proximity on the field, and not in any way to imply that
there was any other sort of "closeness," or indeed, any sort of
conversation at all. Indeed, the members of the Roar not only failed
to communicate with me at all, but actually gave no sign whatsoever
that my existence on this planet registered with them in the
slightest, much less my existence within 3 feet of some of them.

Of course, had any of the cheerleaders made eye contact or otherwise
acknowledged my presence, I would have turned on that patented "Sparky" charm and I'm sure they would have been lovely to talk with,
at least until the Sheriff's Deputy arrived with the restraining
order, but as it stood, there was absolutely no interaction. But they
do dance extremely well, and all are MUCH better looking in person
than in their photos on the website.

A little ways into the first quarter, it started to rain. I wasn't
sure which would make me look dorkier -- the cheap plastic rain
poncho, or getting soaked. As the rain intensified, I remembered that
I look dorky in any circumstances, and opted for the poncho and being

The game started poorly for the Jags, and the Cowboys jumped out to a
10 to nothing lead. The Jags fans were not happy campers. There was
a vocal minority of Cowboys fans in the crowd, and I started to fret
that this was a recipe for drunken fights in the stands as the Dallas
fans grew more pumped and the Jags fans got more pissed. However, the
Jags starting playing better and crawling back into the game, and
there appeared to be no trouble.

The only time I had to dodge any players was on one occasion when
Dallas was punting from about their own 10 yard line. Being where I
was, the line of scrimmage was very near where I was standing. The
Dallas wide coverage guy on my side of the field got blocked out of
bounds right next to me, and I had to take a few steps away from the
field to avoid him. As he took off down the field, I was absolutely
shocked to see how fast the guy was. Un-frickin'-believable.

Anyway, I was scanning the crowd constantly and keeping the media
back, and catching occasional glimpses of the game and cheerleaders.
It was all quite the spectacle. And I've got to say, that even though
I've attended two pro football games and sat in the stands, and
watched hundreds more on TV, it is a whole other level of noise
actually out there on the field when you are standing there and every
scream, cheer, and shout from nearly 70,000 people is launched in your
direction. Damn, it gets loud down there. It's quite a rush --
almost as big a rush as getting a "Pablo" email.

Halftime featured a live performance by the band Sister Hazel. I'm
not a big Sister Hazel fan, but I like them well enough, and they
sounded really good. I ended up feeling kind of bad for them, though,
for two reasons. First, there is a noticeable delay between the sound
on the field and the sound that comes out of the stadium speakers --
about a half second. I thus gained a new appreciation for how tough
it is for a band to play in a big stadium. Nevertheless, they really did
great, and I'm mystified as to how they managed to keep time. But
then, when the halftime reaches a predetermined point where the teams
are ready to come out for the second half warmups, the powers-that-be
declare the halftime show OVER. Which is to say, Sister Hazel was in
mid-song when all of a sudden their mikes and amps got turned off, and
instantly scores of workers started rolling away their set and stage.
So much for the big finish. For the band, I'm sure it was
disconcerting. (Note my clever pun.)

In the third quarter, I actually got to do something significant,
beyond merely keeping the media from creeping beyond their lines, and
keeping the way clear for the Cowboys to enter and exit the field. I
was scanning the crowd, when I noticed people starting to stand up in
one section and call for the ushers. I ran to a cop, led him over to
the field in front of that section, and pointed out that there was
some issue up in the the stands. He radio-ed it in, and in a few
moments, a ton of cops, et al. made their way there. I don't know
what was going on, but it didn't seem to be a fight, so I suspect it
was either someone passing out or having a heart attack. In any
event, I think I was the first official person to spot it, and I did
my part in getting help there quickly, so I was pretty pleased with my

Meanwhile, the Jags were clawing their way back into the game, taking
the lead, and shutting down the Cowboys. In the fourth quarter, the
Jags scored a touchdown on my end of the field, and the post-touchdown
celebration occurred between me and the stands, about 10 feet away
from me. All the Jags' stars, including quarterback Byron Leftwich,
brushed by me to join the hugging, cheering mass of players. Even the
head coach, Jack Del Rio, whizzed by me. At one point, one of the
jubilant linemen was headed straight at me, which gave me the momentay
sensation that I was about to be run over by a large, black, sweaty,
grinning semi.

Also in the Fourth quarter, a guy came over and stood next to me and we
struck up a brief conversation. It was Dallas Head Coach Bill
Parcells' brother.

The Jags closed out the game (an important and impressive win for
them), and my on-field work was done. (you can read a recap of the
game here --

Once the fans cleared the stadium, I was shifted back to the Cowboys'
busses, where I stood between the barricades holding back a few
hundred Cowboys fans and autograph seekers and the busses. We waited
quite a while for all the team to emerge from the lockerroom, and in
the interim, I enjoyed watching the crowd and occasionally chatting up
the fans. It was fun. At least two fans specifically took my
picture, thus giving them perhaps the lamest keepsake EVER taken home
from a professional sporting event.

Thus ended my night. I received decent reviews for my work at the game,
so I hope to return to an on-field position on September 18, when the
Jags play the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night

I gotta say, I love this job. I love my fellow CSC employees, and the
work itself is interesting. I seriously, honestly want to do my part
to help people safely enjoy the game. It may be ridiculous and
pathetic to feel that way and be so excited to do this, but dude, I'm
WAY into it. And I'm accustomed to being ridiculous and pathetic.

Granted, the night was not as thrilling and fun as my wedding, the
births of my children, any of a number of romantic rendesvous, high
school or college hijinks, and the like, but unlike all of those other
experiences, I actually get paid for doing this, and that's

Friday, October 06, 2006

My Early Adventures As A Security Guard

This first section, below, is a compendium of excerpts from several
emails I originally sent to my friend, "Pablo", which I recently
compiled and sent to my brother, "Steve." Further sections will follow in the days ahead.

Think of this as sort of a college literary anthology, only without the high quality writing.


Yo, Steve-a-reno!

Good videoconferencing with you tonight. The kids were all fired up,
as was I. Mrs. Sparky was so fired up that she slept through the whole

Anyway, as promised, here are excerpts from my previous security
experiences, as related to Pablo. Please note that these are
the unexpurgated versions. These contain adult language and
situations, and thus are not suitable for children, or our parents.

Plus, they kind of make me sound like an asshole.

July 16, 2006 -- The Saga Begins:

And so, when I picked up a copy of Jacksonville's weekly alternative
newspaper last week just after we arrived (and after getting over the
shock of realizing that we're now living somewhere that actually has
an alternative newspaper), when I saw an ad for some part-time jobs
that sounded like they'd be pretty entertaining, I seized the
opportunity, even though it's the sort of thing I never would have
considered doing before.

So, yesterday I drove out to a job fair at Alltel Stadium, and
successfully obtained a part-time job working for the Contemporary
Services Corporation. Assuming I successfully complete orientation
this Thursday night and then undergo a weekend of training, I will
become a Florida Class D Licensed Security Guard, and will work doing
"crowd management" at Jacksonville Jaguars pro football games. I'd
really wanted to go to the games but I was unwilling to pay to do it,
so now not only will I get to go to any games I want to, but I will
also be paid the princely sum of $7.50 an hour to do so. Woohoo!

Of course, I will also have the option to work other events (concerts,
the Gator Bowl, a local PGA tournament, and a local women's pro tennis
tournament), and they occasionally offer employees the option to be
bussed in to work at other venues and events, such as Falcons games in
Atlanta, Dolphins games in Miami, Florida Gators games in Gainesville,
and big events in Orlando. I will always have the option to work or
not work at any event, as I choose. And I will get to wear a bright
yellow shirt and/or jacket with "EVENT STAFF" emblazoned on it.

I could be wrong, but I think this is perhaps the most ridiculous and
fun job I've ever pursued. Free football games and shows! I can't
wait to be the guy in the yellow shirt hassling people at a Cher

July 24, 2006 -- The Excitement Builds

Meanwhile, I continue to progress towards obtaining my Florida Class D
Security Guard's License, which will enable me to work at Alltel
Stadium for the Jaguars games, etc. Pablo, don't be alarmed if someone
from the "Contemporary Services Corporation" or the Florida Division
of Licensure calls you -- I listed you as a personal reference. In
fact, I will be alarmed if you don't get called -- what kind of world
do we live in if they don't check references for security guards?!?

Anyway, I am hopeful that my first assignment will be working a
Melissa Ethridge concert in downtown Jacksonville. Not too shabby...
I may have to blatantly violate the company's "no fraternizing with
the stars" rule.

(Note to Steve -- I did not get to work the Etheridge concert. She
only needed three people from CSC -- the managers told me that she
preferred her own team. I thought, "How true..." And, in case you
were wondering, nobody from the Florida Department of Licensing ever
checked my references.)

August 22, 2006 -- Preseason home Game Number 1, Jags vs. Panthers,
Wherein Our Fearless Security Guard Does.. Well... Not Much Of

I am employed, if you count my Jaguars Security Guard gig. I did that
for the first time this past Saturday, and it was quite the
experience. The managers seem to like me, which is theoretically
good, but they responded to that by sending me in a direction I didn't
quite intend upon. You see, I got picked from the throngs of
fellow-guards to be stationed at the Jaguar's players' gate and
parking lot. That's considered by most to be a primo assignment,
because it is ridiculously easy. I shit you not -- this was what I
was supposed to do -- stay near the players' entrance and parking lot
with the police officers, and if they have to go elsewhere to quell a
riot, I watch the players' entrance and cars. It's considered a great
assignment because, as you can probably guess, there tend not to be
any riots to quell, so you get to hang out with the cops, do nothing
at all, and get paid. That, plus you get to chat a little bit with
the players and their wives and/or girlfriends, and you don't have to
deal with drunken, obnoxious people. The Jags and their families were
uniformly charming and friendly. The wives/girlfriends were uniformly
thin and gorgeous. The Jags' cars were uniformly expensive and
impressive, to the point where I think you would have been in heaven.
But I was bored out of my f-----g mind, and it didn't help that my
area supervisor was a new person who had no idea that one of her
duties was to send someone over to relieve me and my fellow rent-a-cop
at the next lot over. So we stood out in the 90 degree heat for SIX
F------G HOURS without so much as a water or bathroom break. And, of
course, we couldn't see the game.

Be that as it may, I did have fun rapping with one of the cops at my
station, who is a senior DUI officer, as we watched the
fans leaving near the end of the game. We played "point out the
drunk." I got to be pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, despite the general pleasure of getting paid for doing
essentially nothing, and the opportunity to gaze at some fine
football-player-wife types, I've requested a different position for the
next game. Accordingly, this Saturday, I will be a "floater," which
means I'll be going around all through the stadium doing a little bit
of everything so the others can take their breaks.

August 29, 2006 -- Home Preseason Game 2 -- Jags v. Bucs, Wherein Our
Fearless Security Guard Again Does Not Make It Into The Stadium

I worked my second preseason pro football game last weekend, and
pulled a thirteen and a half hour shift. Take it from me, that's a
long time of standing around and looking tough. Yet somehow, I
managed. I had a rotating position, so I started out at the interior
employee checkpoint, moved on to the media gate, then to the media
concourse (where all the satellite trucks and directors' spots are),
then to the players' entrance, and then finished up at the employee
entrance. Disappointingly, I yet again did not get to actually be
inside the stadium during any part of the football game. I did,
however, get to frisk one of the Jaguars at the players' gate. (which
seemed to make Mrs. Sparky a little jealous -- but I'm not sure whether she was
jealous of me or of the guy I frisked.) From that, I've decided that
"frisking the Jaguar" would be a great euphemism, but I haven't
decided for what.

Working the employee gate was fun, because I got to see all my friends,
and because very few of the employees show up rude or drunk. That is
decidedly not the case for the fans' entrances, so it was pretty easy
duty that I had. The rules require that everyone entering the stadium
be frisked. That would not necessarily make my position unpleasant,
but for the all-important second part of that rule, which strictly
prohibits frisking members of the opposite sex. So basically, I spent
the evening patting down roughly 500 men. All the employees expect
that and deal with it pretty nonchalantly. But one guy did offer me a
"reach around."

This Saturday, I could have worked my first college game (the "Gateway
Classic" between Bethune Cookman and Southern, two historically black
colleges -- I would have loved the halftime show), but we are going to
have a family day instead.

The Sunday after that, the Jaguars regular season starts. The
scheduling supervisor told me I've been doing a great job, and so as
the Jags face the Cowboys, I will make my on-field debut. That's
right, Pablo -- I will be on the frickin' field for the next game.
My primary tasks will be to watch for items thrown from the stands,
and tackle and beat the shit out of anybody who tries to get on the
field. My secondary task will be to avoid being run over by the
occasional player who goes out of bounds. This can pose a challenge,
as our primary job requires us to be facing AWAY from the action on
the field. Although I'd prefer not to be grievously injured, I have
to confess that I find the idea of appearing in the video highlights
on Sportscenter ("Watch how Byron Leftwich LEVELS this unsuspecting
security guard as he's forced out of bounds!") somewhat compelling.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Latest Self-Indulgence

I have become a cliche.

I am now a blogger.

This new exercise in self-indulgence roughly coincides with my relocation from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to Jacksonville, Florida. It is a time to try new things, have new experiences, and write about them to a potential audience of millions, and an actual audience of... well... probably less than that.

But what the hell?

In the coming days, months, years, and decades, watch this space for my contrarian views on life, politics, my full-time work as a financial representative (or whatever else I end up doing), my part-time work as a security guard at Jacksonville Jaguars games and other events in Jacksonville, the law, Jacksonville from a newcomer's perspective, Hopkinsville from the perspective of someone who fled, family, and politics.