"St. Pete or Bust! 2000" story # 14

St. Petersburg, Florida           November 28, 2000

I LOOOOOOOOVE the name, "Johnny." Any excuse I get, I give people the nickname, "Johnny," even though they, personally, may hate that name.
     Jonathon "Johnny" Cole got his nickname for evident reasons, Yanis "Johnny" Loizides got his because he's a foreigner with a weird name I can't pronounce, and Greggoi "Johnny" got his because he told me one time, "Call me what you want." Obviously, I wanted to call him "Johnny." For various reasons, there's also John "Johnny" Mazzone, Otto "Johnny" Johnston, Ryan "Johnny" Peseckas, Purav "Johnny" Bhatia, Doug "Johnny5", Nathalie "Johnny Tequila" Guilloud, and my personal favorite, Lester Kelvin Joseph "Fu" "Octopus" "The Sultan of Swing" "The Material Girl" "Johnny" Chang Foung, and many others.
     It's a great name, don't you think? But the result is chaos. I'll be telling a hillarious story, saying something like: "And then Johnny told Johnny, 'Don't touch that pufferfish,' when all of the sudden Johnny comes in, pets Johnny on the head, and pushes Johnny into the aquarium! Ha, ha!!! Is that a hillarious story or what, Johnny?" And the person looks at me completely dumb-founded, not getting my joke at all. A lot of times, he doesn't even realize I'm talking to him.
     Life with the "Johnny's" ain't easy. Just ask my roommate, "Johnny", who also calls me "Johnny." The other day, we were trying to figure out who a cup in our apartment belonged to. Johnny said, "Why don't you just write 'Johnny' on it so we know whose it is." I said, "Yeah, and you can write 'Johnny' on your cup and we'll be able to avoid all confusion."
     Life with the "Johnny's" - it ain't easy, it's confusing as hell. I like it.

For yet another week, I went date-less between Monday and Saturday. All Sunday, I called and harrassed girls in desperate date-seeking desperation. I went through about 13 girls, who said things like "I've got five essays to write," and "I've got a fifteen-page paper to do," and "I hate you." No. None of them actually said, "I hate you," but after all those rejections I was feeling pretty low.
     It doesn't say much for my attractiveness that girls consider writing five essays in a night preferable to going out with me. I had to leave my apartment and go on a date-finding mission.
     Johnny and I headed for campus, walking a secluded street in a bad neighborhood. Suddenly, a small gray car sped alongside us and slammed on its brakes. Three young, black guys got out, yelling, "What's up now!?" and "Give it up! Give it up!!"
     Johnny and I, though 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-3-inches tall, were being mugged. But I could tell these guys weren't professional muggers when they left their car in Drive and had to jump back in before it rolled away.
     Two guys jumped around in my face, wearing backwards baseball caps and tanktops. "Give it up!" they said. A "Silent Ninja" stood in back with a bandana wrapped around his face.
     Johnny hid back, pretty scared, but I wasn't very intimidated by these scrawny, sixteen-year old punks. I tried to look tough and said, "I ain't giving you shit. Get back in your car, assholes!"
     They responded by making fake punching motions.
     I said, "First of all, I don't even have any money..."
     And they said, "C'mon, man! You atleast got a cigarette. Give it up! Give up your cigarette!"
     These twerps were trying to mug us for a cigarette? This was getting ridiculous. The driver of the car said, "I didn't wanna have to do this, but I'm gonna have to go under my seat."
     He got in his car and felt around for something. Did he have a knife? A gun?
     He came out with an empty oil can, and he pump-faked to throw it at me from close range. I ducked here, expecting pain. He walked to his car and threw it at me, missing by several feet. And then they got in their car and drove away. We'd survived the mugging.
     Johnny said his heart was beating pretty fast. My legs were a little wobbly from excitement, but as muggings go this was a pretty enjoyable one. As Johnny said, "Those kids were kind of cute."
     Johnny said I'd handled it bravely, but it also could've been stupid had the muggers had a gun. I rather liked the rush of adrenaline the situation gave. Our friend, Johnny Chang Foung, told us we should've overpowered the kids and stolen their car.
     But my greatest fear remained whether or not I could keep the magical "Date of the Week" program alive. I promptly asked out three girls. Their responses: no...no...no.
     This left hardly any girls at my school who I hadn't been rejected by on the night. What could I do? Who would save the day?
     Enter... my roommate, Ewan "Johnny" Smith. I may be the Modern Oddyseus - brave (or stupid) in the face of danger, but Johnny's a modern Jesus Christ - able to save the "Date of the Week" program with a single dose of his charm and quick wit.
     Johnny went to work outside an unknown girls' dorm room, talking loudly and joking about the decorations they had on their door. Soon, one of the pretty girls, Dora - tall, blonde, and a nice smile, was talking to us. Johnny took advantage of the opened door and shot inside with the excuse of "petting their pet chinchilla." Amy layed on the bed, with short brown hair and a funny, but often x-rated, sense of humor.
     We introduced ourselves. "Johnny and Johnny," we said. Fifteen minutes later, we were laughing it up with our new friends, but the clock showed 10:34 pm. 86 minutes left in the week, and I didn't have a date.
     "So, what are you girls up to tonight?" I said.
     Johnny and I waited anxiously for their response. Amy was hungry, but would they go out to eat with us? Could the "Date of the Week" program be saved, or was it (sniff, sniff) all over?
     The girls responded.
     "If you're paying."
     Woohoo! "Date of the Week" lives on!!! Oh, glorious day! Praised be Johnny - 1-for-1 as "Date of the Week" savior.
     Dora wore a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, and Amy threw on tight jeans with blue-outlined pockets. For "Date of the Week" XII, we went to a pizza place on the beach. On the way there, Amy heard something she didn't believe and shouted, "You're fu*king me!" Johnny and I were taken aback by this substitution for the phrase, "You're kidding me!" but we dismissed it.
     At the restaurant, Johnny let me in on the bad financial news of our high apartment bills, and I said, "OK, girls, you can't order anything over $5." Over dinner, we entertained ourselves by doing bad impressions of the Scottish, Australians, and Indians. Amy said, "Holy cow," with an Indian accent so well you could taste the curry.
     The only blemish on the dinner was that Amy blew bubbles in her lemonade, a direct violation of MODERN ODDYSEUS' DATING ADVICE # 11 - Don't blow bubbles in your lemonade.
     Nevertheless, it didn't stop Johnny and I from trying to convince the girls to stop by our place afterwards to hang out. My date, Dora, wanted to visit with us, but Amy was tired.
     Johnny said, "C'mon, Amy, Dora's down with Johnny-squared!"
     He continued the persuasion. "C'mon, Amy, you can meet my cats. I've got cats."
     Apparently, Amy really loves cats because she yelled again, "You're fuc*ing me!"
     Johnny joked playfully, "I hope so."
     The girls drove us home, and thank god for that. While Johnny and I didn't even get kisses, atleast the girls saved us from the scary prospect of walking home and getting mugged by cute, laughing unarmed kids half our size.

So ends another danger-filled day in the life...
of Modern "Johnny" Oddyseus

"Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies
Be-Bop-A-Lua, Baby What I Say
Here comes Johnny singing I Gotta Woman
Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay"
- Dire Straits (Walk of Life)

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