Not long after the Arnie episode, another grad-school friend of mine needed me to be his straight friend. Let's call him Glenn. He was a really smart guy, but for some reason he didn't pass the graduate qualifying exam. He was going to be bumped out of the program, so he planned to drive back to his home state, which I think was one of the Carolinas.
Glenn, though still young, was already nearly bald. What hair he he had was stringy and blond and hung down all around his head. H looked like a tonsured monk who'd let himself go to seed. He also had a scraggly little beard, and he wasn't a guy who was into diet and exercise. His vehicle for personal transportation was an old rusty hearse.
Maybe none of this would have mattered if Glenn hadn't recently been to see Easy Rider. The route back to his home state led through the American South, and Glenn was sure that he and his wife going to meet the fate of Captain America and Billy in some southern backwater town. He became convinced that the only charm that would ward off that fate was a George Wallace bumper sticker for his hearse, so he went to Wallace headquarters in Austin to get one. They took one look at him and told him to leave. They refused to give him a bumper sticker.
You've probably guessed that this is where I come into the story. Glenn needed a straight friend he could sent to Wallace headquarters for a bumper sticker, so of course he came to me. The folks at the headquarters were happy to see me come through the door. They didn't question for a second that I was one of them, and I walked out with the bumper sticker.
That's not the end of this story, but I've gone on longer than I intended. Stay tuned.