The incident about the kid with the clock that was mistaken for bomb by an uninformed and ignorant school teacher brought this to mind:
So I was travelling to a class in Chicago…this was in, IIRC, the then Sears Tower. Long elevator rides…
I’m travelling with a buddy: we had carpooled to the city to save on gas and parking and such. He was pretty smart, and even more importantly to this story, quick on the uptake.
Now, realize, this was pre-9-11…a more relaxed, more sane age, less psychosis when it came to “security” and less unrealistic fears.
So you also have to realize that this was before cell phone service (and phone technology) was at the level that it is today. I was carrying a Star Tac phone by Motorola…Which was, while in it’s time,a real whiz bang device, (not so much today) it had a battery life measured in 10’s of minutes….So I was also carrying a pager….I would keep the phone off, and turn it on and call the number displayed on my nifty Numeric Pager….(See, kids, this is how we had to do it before the new cell services that you take for granted today was built)
My pager was a nifty device too. It had a user selectable set of something like 15 or 20 tones….not just the Beep-Beep-Beep that most pagers used. My choice (so it would wake me up no matter what) was a very raspy and strident alarm that one might hear in a nuclear power plant just before a soft voiced woman announced “Core Breach Imminent, please evacuate” or some other words of doom….
So anyway….Here we are, in an elevator in the Sears Tower..(I don’t recall if it was still the tallest building in the world then, but were going to somewhere fairly near the top, so it was long ride) The elevator car was fairly full….And we were somewhere close to the middle of the herd…Something like 30 buttons were lit, and we were near the end, so we were going to have to wait through numerous stops….
And here, even in an elevator my magic Pager goes off with it’s strident “the end is near”alarm…in my backpack. And I didn’t remember which of the multiple pockets I had placed said pager….
Everyone looked at me and or mumbled expressions of displeasure…I had disturbed their serenity or something.
I looked at Jack and said “Oh shit, I think it activated”…..
Quick on the uptake, he said “Fuck, find it quick! you only have 30 seconds”.
Amazingly enough, the once crowded elevator car was now instantly uncrowded, as all the other occupants were pressed tightly against the outside walls, staring at the two of us with wide eyes.
I took the pack off and began rooting in the pockets to find the offending pager….He took it from me and held it “Here, let me hold it… you don’t have much time…c’mon, hurry dude…”
After about 25 seconds, the door opened and the entire car with the exception of the two of us emptied out. As the door were closing, I yelled “Got it!”. We laughed heartily at the joke that only we knew….
We continued on our upward journey, but were met farther up by two security guards….who held us (after removing the backpack from me, and relieving Jack of his briefcase) until the Chicago Police arrived.
They were, well, not amused, but professional. Didn’t think it was very funny (at least officially, but they were both smiling broadly as they told us to behave better) and they let us go with a stern warning after searching us (I did ask about a warrant, but didn’t push it as I had started the fun..).
We were late for the class.
Today, in the paranoid world we live in, we’d likely be shot…or at least incarcerated. But then, it was fun.
Don’t try this at home kids.