Tomorrow is the big day. Finally, after years of lurking and then hesitant posting, I’d have a chance to meet some Minnesota Glibs. I’m a little excited, not in a sexual way, but more in “be prepared for a science test in high school” way. So it’s off to bed, hoping to get a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow…somewhere in the darkness I drifted off to sleep, just like Kenny Rogers’ “Gambler.” I’m all prepared, I have my clothes all laid out. I’d ironed my newest bib overalls, using spray starch to get the crisp crease, found my Christmas flannel shirt and I want to look my best so I’m going to wear the bow tie that has the flashing lights. I’ll have to remember to check the batteries to make sure the lights work alternately and will switch to both lights blinking together. As I get ready I decide to use some hair pomade but Dixie Peach is hard to find here so I went with the regular brand. I opened up the can of Bag Balm and it was nearly empty! I was able to use my little finger around the corners of the can and got about a tablespoon, not much but it will have to do. I made a mental note to get the economy size the next time I was in Tractor Supply. I want everything to be perfect, first impressions are important, just as Miss Sawyer said in English class.
For a while I had thought for the occasion I’d wear my white painter’s bibs, the ones that have the Dickie’s logo on the patch in the front, but I couldn’t get enough of pine tar out of the knees from the day I helped my friend Gus unload a truck full of rough sawed pine. Besides, it’s not formal and the fashion magazines all say no white after Labor Day. Boots for the meet up ’cause I want to look manly but I won’t turn the socks down, I don’t want to appear pretentious. I checked my bow tie, making sure the wire to the batteries was hidden inside my shirt, a trick I’d learned from my older brother. I’d better stop and get extra batteries, I don’t want the lights to quit blinking halfway through the meet up. Checked myself in the ceiling mirror in the bedroom and I knew I was ready.
Make the long drive to Minneapolis-actually to a northern suburb-to meet Pope Jimbo, Tundra and A Leap at the Wheel for the very first time. I know these fellas from their witticisms on the Glibertarians site. I don’t really know them, but I mean that’s where I’ve seen their well thought out insights and comedy efforts that always produce either awe or a hearty chuckle. We’re meeting at the Conference Room in Caribou Coffee and I admit to being a little nervous.
I check in with the receptionist, a pert but matronly young lady- I would guess a high school drop out with two kids but studying for her GED ’cause her boyfriend wants her to get into Cosmetology School so she can work when he’s laid off in the winter. Right now she’s senior barista, cashier and table clean up, as well as Glibertarians receptionist.
She directed me down the hall to Conference Room 3, but reminded me to use the Secret Knock. Oh, oh, I wasn’t prepared for that, but she whispers, “Shhh, middle two fingers, rap twice but firmly, wait exactly ten seconds, then flat palm the door, you’ll hear a ‘Come In’. Immediately open the door and enter.”
Nervously, I approach the Conference Room. It had a large brass 3 on the door and below that someone has written “Janitor’s Closet” in magic marker. I use the Secret Knock, wait 10 seconds and follow it up with a flat palm. A voice from inside says, “Come in.” I try the door knob, one, two, three times, then the voice says…“Turn the knob in the other direction.” I do and the door opens. At this point I know I’ve committed a “Folks Pass” as we said in sophomore French Class.
There is a folding leg card table in the middle of the room, four chairs, three men. I quickly survey the faces and try to put a name on each, from my observations of their comments. I recognize the more serious looking one as Leap, the good looking one as Tundra, and the happy one as Pope Jimbo. Now I approach the table and we start with the introductions. Leap stands up and offers his hand and says, “I’m Tundra.” I kiss his ring, noticing that it was the Monopoly Scottie dog. I go to Pope Jimbo, we shake, I kiss his ring which is the top hat and he says, “I’m A Leap at the Wheel, but you can call me Leap.” Now the last one, Tundra, is left and we repeat the formal introduction, his ring is the thimble, super glued in an inverted position, open end up. He says, “And I’m Pope Jimbo, but you can call me Pope or Jimbo or Mr J or Mr P but you don’t have to call me Johnson.” They all laugh.
I start to sit down and I hear, “There are rules, Dude,” whispered from an unknown. I look up and see that sitting down first is Leap, followed by Pope Jimbo, lastly Tundra. Leap waves me into the empty chair. “We’ve been looking over your application and biography and find you’ve had a rather interesting life. The time you pushed the girl out of the way while getting on the school bus makes us believe you are a take charge kind of person.” I nodded, they were seeing things correctly. “And the time you saved your friend Bobby from walking into a puddle without probing the depth first was nothing short of heroic.” I was a little embarrassed at having to acknowledge these personal feats, but I really wanted to be accepted as a Glib.
I looked across the room and saw a shelf with three caps, lined up like marines on parade. These were not knock-offs but genuine Glib merchandise, custom embroidered. From left to right they read:
“Glibs Yesterday” then “Glibs Today” and lastly “Glibs Tomorrow”
I could see a white plastic bag with a red cap in it that said “Glibs Forever” and an empty space on the shelf. I knew that would be mine if all went well today.
Suddenly, the informalities were over and a certain aura fell over the room. Tundra announced that he had copies of the day’s agenda; I could participate in the discussion, but was not allowed to vote. He passed the agendas out and for my benefit explained the rules. There were ten subjects on the agenda that had been submitted and ranked according to their importance. Each person would have 90 seconds to discuss the implications and on to the next person. After everyone had a chance to speak, each person would get 30 seconds to summarize or rebut, then a vote would be taken. Leap would be the moderator, Tundra the time keeper because he had an official Special Olympics stopwatch with the big numbers, and Pope acting as a sort of controller, using a power point pointer (with the light on it) to signify who was in the on deck circle.
So the discussion started. First item, how high should the wall be on the Mexican border that was being discussed nationally? A lively discussion with a lot of emotion, economics and established facts followed. I found it difficult to keep up because of the speed and coherence of the conversation.
It was like this all afternoon, as agenda item after item was dissected and remodeled in a Glibertarian format. At one point someone mentioned MikeS’s idea/opinion and I pointed out that he was not a Minnesota Glib, but I heard the “There are rules, Dude” repeated so I dropped it.
At the conclusion of the agenda discussion Happy Hour commenced and all formalities were dropped, everyone was relaxed, on a first name basis, like Leap, Pope and Tundra because it was hard to shorten up his name but still he didn’t seem to mind. The conversation was generally surly, sarcastic and offensive, much like the daily comments I’d come to enjoy from Glibs. Soon, however, the time had come to say goodbye. I felt I’d made an average to good impression. We all walked out together, laughing, enjoying the Glib camaraderie.
As I got into my truck I noticed the same white plastic bag I’d seen in the conference room. Somehow the receptionist had sneaked that bag into the truck without me noticing. My heart was pounding. I opened up the bag, and there it was. A red hat with Glib embroidered on it and below that was “Forever.” I was in! Hat on, I sped out of the parking lot and was heading for home when I felt something bam-bam-bam in my back. “Uh-uh-uh” was all the sound I could make.
“Wake up! Wake up! You were talking in your sleep again, some crazy thing about the Pope being A Sleep at the Wheel and driving on the Tundra.”
Then it hit me, I’d been dreaming the dream of every novice Glib…