Did you notice me? To the right of Mr. Blonde? You can juuuust see my left foot between his legs. That’s the story of my life: always cropped out of the picture. But hey, I’m not complaining.
See, for a while there I was the Seventh Dog. The fellas needed a backup getaway driver, Joe knew me from back in the day, and I couldn’t say no to that big, lovable lug. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t in it for the money—I just liked being part of the crew. They were all super cool. Just look at them! For a dork like me to get to ride around in 1970s cars with these guys, chit-chat in raunchy language about pop culture over breakfast, get briefed on capers in an abandoned warehouse? It was a dream come true.
But, here’s what I get for being the nerd of the bunch: the day of the robbery, I’m sitting there greasing my hair and ironing my white shirt, when Nice Guy Eddie phones me up. He says, “Mr. Teal, you should probably stay at home today. You might be coming down with a cold.” And just like that, I was left out of the whole thing. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt me when he said it. I tried to keep myself busy that day, but the whole time, I kept thinking about what fun the Dogs were having with their jewel heist. I guess you could say I was “blue” with sadness and “green” with jealousy, haha!
Of course, when I heard what had happened to the boys, I felt more lucky than envious. That could have been mebleeding to death on the dirty floor of an abandoned warehouse! Talk about a wake-up call. I took a long, hard look at my life and realized that being “cool” wasn’t worth it. I would accept and embrace the softer side of my personality, the side I always tried to hide when I rolled around with the posse. I drove to Goodwill and dropped off my fitted black suit, my pencil tie, my plastic sunglasses. I stopped listening to K-Billy radio. I went back to school and got my degree—heck, I went for a PhD.
Twenty-five years later, how do I feel about my decision? Well, I may not be some extremely hip gangster type, spouting zippy one-liners over the barrel of a 9 mm gun pointed at an undercover
cop in an abandoned warehouse. But I’m working professional now, I run a successful small business, and we’re starting to branch out into national distribution. In a way, you could say I’ve pulled off the ultimate caper—successfully, too! And while I never got to burst into a jewelry store, yelling for everyone to get the fuck down on the floor and not move a muscle or else, while I never got to participate in a Mexican standoff, or torture a captured cop tied to a chair in an abandoned warehouse, I guess that in my own, small way, I still consider myself one of the Dogs. The quiet one, the thoughtful one. That’s me,