An ugly job, but it’s a living

…and stay out of the Waffle House, until you got some damn clothes on!

It may be an urban myth or an old wives’ tale, but I believe that greasy food is a pre-emptive cure for hangovers. There must be something to it, because after 0230 you have a hell of a time finding a seat at most all night restaurants. And on weekends you can forget about getting into Denny’s without a reservation.

From midnight to 0400, every all-night greasy spoon in the country becomes the gathering place for an eclectic group of characters. Most of them in different stages of intoxication, and at least half of them have sat in the backseat of a poh-leece car. Let’s be honest – unless you’ve lived you entire life at the foot of the cross, you know what I’m talking about. In fact, I think I saw you one night – do you still have that Metallica t-shirt?

If you lived in in the South, your memories are of late night/early morning visits to places like Krystal, Whataburger, or the venerable Waffle House. Having spent a goodly many nights of my youth in Waffle Houses, I can testify that the wildlife can be rowdy during the wee hours. Late night people watching at the Waffle House can be a lot of fun. You just have to be careful to not laugh aloud, unless you like fighting four drunk fools at once.

A Duke University student spent a summer cooking at a Waffle House, and wrote about his experiences. He worked the evenings rather than the drunk shift, but some of his observations are funny and on track.

I am living day to day in a world dominated by hashbrowns, and noisy waitresses who can’t stop complaining about their singularly strange lives. Honestly it’s not the cooking and cleaning I mind so much as I mind interacting with those crazy women… some mothers, some divorcees, some drug addicts of one degree or another, all complainers. Complaints are what seem to keep these women going.

You would be correct in assuming that the waitresses at the Waffle House can hold their own against the clientele. There’s not much going on in there that they haven’t seen already. As the Duke student wrote in his blog: “Holy crap! A lot of people that work at the Waffle House have been in jail before.” They handle the rowdy clientele with aplomb and a certain grace – these women of the Waffle House.

You would also be correct if you assumed that they don’t call the police to come down to the WH for just any old thing. No, there has to be some seriously weird or bad shit going down before they call for backup. I’m sure that fact had the Nashville Police a little anxious when they got called to a disturbance at the Charlotte Pike WH the other morning.

They probably sent extra units for backup.

The nature of the description of the disturbance probably had a few other officers move that way just to watch the show.

“So, a naked couple runs into the Waffle House…” – sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn’t it? Just the sound of the call going out over the air would make me want to head over there. The words “Naked, disturbance” and Waffle House”, all in one call, have so much entertainment potential that I would have to go see that for myself.

Larry Boyd and his unidentified female “friend” were chilling at the Super Eight Motel early Friday morning. Larry, as should any good host, had brought some cocaine to supply the necessary social lubricant to ensure he and his guest had a memorable evening. I think it safe to assume that what he had planned, and how the night turned out, were quite different. I do know that he was at least partly successful – Larry’s going to be remembering that night for-ever.

Perhaps Larry overindulged, or perhaps he had some bad dope, but after taking a hit of some white powdery death – Larry began to act a fool, as they say in the common vernacular.

The woman told police, Boyd took a hit of cocaine and started acting crazy, trashing their room and choking her.

She ran, naked, to the Charlotte Pike Waffle House for help and locked herself in the bathroom.

Boyd, also naked, wasn’t far behind.

If you want the reaction of the Waffle House employees, watch the news video from Nashville’s WSMV.

Waffle House has a very strict dress code for its customers – no shoes, no shirt, no service. It must be a problem that comes up frequently, because I’ve noticed the signs are prominently displayed by the entrance. The average Waffle Houser must be used to it by now, and probably few days pass at the average Waffle House without at least one customer being told to come back after putting on a shirt. So, I think that, with absolutely no fear of being wrong, I can make the claim that at some time in the Nashville incident at least one Waffle House employee made a statement along these lines:

Hey Y’ all! You cain’t be nekkid in the damn Waffle House!

Larry’s date refused to leave the bathroom, and hearing sirens in the distance, Larry decided to take his show on the road.

Boyd eventually gave up on her and got into her car just as police arrived.

He then led police on a high speed chase that ended when they spiked his car, twice, on 8th Avenue. Police took him into custody au naturale.

The Waffle House is now back to normal, despite the unexpected exposure.

Boyd was arrested and charged with DUI, felony evading arrest, and other charges. Police said they found one gram of crack cocaine in the car.

None of the news stories I read mentioned if Larry physically resisted arrest after he wrecked the car, but they did manage to get plenty of video of him wearing handcuffs and nothing else.

If the NPD guys had to wrestle ole Larry into a set of cuffs my heart goes out to them. Because among the many things they teach in the police academy, there is one thing they neglect to delve into: How to wrestle a naked man.

One night I got separated from my partner while investigating a burglary, and found myself in a knock-down drag-out fight with a witness turned suspect, who was wearing only a towel. At some point we both went through a sheetrock wall – and the towel came off.

I’ll tell you – it didn’t phase the bad guy, but I distinctly remember saying, “aw shit!”

Ultimately, I got the upper hand long enough to snatch the baggy of cocaine out of the swirling waters. But when his towel fell of there was a moment during which he briefly got an advantage.

I hesitated long enough for him to run into the bathroom and toss the dope into the toilet.

After his towel fell off, my mind got busy considering new tactics. My primary goal had changed from winning the fight to making sure that at no point did any of my flesh touch certain parts of him.

I got over it quickly enough, and a few seconds later I was laying on top of his naked ass while bouncing his head off the tile floor with one hand and sticking my other hand into his toilet to rescue the evidence.

After the fight I remember thinking how nice it would have been if my pre-service training had included a block on dealing with such real world police problems. That slight moment of hesitation, as I encountered a dangerous situation my training had not prepared me for, could have been a bad scene.

I even came up with a name for the class: “Naked Fighting – Tactics for Winning without Unnecessary Penile Contact.”


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