Friday, May 6, 2011

My past with the GTO "Goat" and it's owner

I think we've all had enough of the serious side of life this week and after all its Friday. So let's take it easy, get ready for a party this weekend.

This is a tale about some of my experiences around a GTO that a "friend" of mine named, John had. I heard it mentioned somewhere this week about GTOs and how they were once called "Goats" but now they call them "The Judge". I thought that odd. It got me thinking. And I decided to write this down.

John got his cars in High School. Then I ran into him just after we graduated. I started hanging out with him. I knew him during High School, but only in passing. But I knew just about everybody. Everyone seemed to know me. I once told my cousin if she ever came to my High School, just stop anyone and ask where I am, and they will know. I was kidding but when her and a girlfriend visited with her from Washington High School (I went to Lincoln HS), they stopped a guy and asked him about me and he said, "Oh, yeah, I just saw him in the lounge, but I think he headed off campus for a few minutes." And so I missed them, but then, my reputation was set.

Anyway, in the beginning, John and I had a good time, but things eventually got pretty complicated and dire. Ugly really. Leading to infidelities an end to our friendship and nearly a murder.

Just for specs, my car was a 1967 SS/RS Camaro, the first Camaro built, the delux show model. The top photo has the right color shade for mine and mine also had the chrome faux spoke wheels. Anyway....

John had two cars. A Chevy Impala was his first car (my first model of car too, only his was far nicer) and a Pontiac GTO "Goat", what they apparently now call, for no reason I can fathom, a "Judge".
 1970 Pontiac Firebird

My parents said they were going to get me a Pontiac Firebird, a hot little car, but they were afraid I'd kill myself (probably would have too), so they got me a 67 Impala "boat" with "three on the tree" shifting, standard transmission, 283cu. in. POS engine. But, it was huge inside, it turned out to be my friends and my party car. We took it everywhere and we could fit like eight people in it if we had too and a keg of beer or two in the trunk (which we also did). I got my back window shot out once out on the Ft. Lewis Army Training Base reserve, but that's another story (we also got chased by an Army helicopter out there, but again, that's another story).
John's first Impala
My first Impala

Anyway, I don't know where that name "The Judge" popped up along the way from then to here and now but to me, it sounds pretty silly. Okay, maybe more current owners now a days were just trying to sound cooler than, "Goat"? I guess now that's understandable.

We called it a "Goat" because when pronounced, "GTO" came out "goat" to us (it was either that or "GehTo" and that really sounded stupid and a bit too "urban" if you see what I mean). Plus, it was one of those things where you call someone/something, the opposite of what everyone knows some one or thing to be and is obvious to see, like calling someone smart, stupid, or handsome, ugly. So "Goat" indicated a slow stupid creature, when we all had great respect for the GTO.

But calling it a "Goat" back then, had plenty of cool about it. It's only in a vast span of years that it has lost that coolness.

His "Goat"

His "Goat" looked something like this, except his was "Fuzzed" (thus no shiny areas), with raised paisley patterns. Actually both his cars had the purple fuzz. I remember one time we drove through Spanaway Park and the people near the lake by the club house all wanted to touch it and ooed and awed about it.

The "fuzz" was created by spraying a glue over the car, then powdering it with some kind of crystals or something, then using a template to add patterns, finally running an electric charge through the vehicle chassis which burst the powders into the raised velor kind of texture.

It was actually pretty cool although I always wondered how it would hold up over the ensuing years. All he did to wash his car was hose it down. I assumed that over the years, it would lose the glue part and start to peel off but I have no idea what happened as we lost touch, and for good reason.

Especially, I don't know what happened to his cars, because he eventually crashed them both into telephone poles, falling asleep while coming home in the early A.M. from work. He had a physically strenuous job so I suppose that was reasonable. I believe he got the cars fixed up, but  then I went into the Air Force and lost touch with him.

After my wife told me one night, shortly after we were married, that while I was in Basic Training, she went out with him drinking one night, along with his fiancee (she met him through her and I met her through him, through his fiancee who she was living with for a time at her family's house, a block from my first apartment); he dropped off his fiancee at home first that night, then didn't drop my fiancee off, rather took her to the woods for some slap and tickle.

But nothing much happened. After we married, when she told me, feeling rather guilty no longer able to keep it from me, it all came out while we lied in bed one night. We later found out she was very hypoglycemic. It seemed, and I saw this repeatedly, that if she drank alcohol, she simply became someone else, all inhibitions dropped. So she stopped drinking and got healthy, even turning vegetarian. We both got healthier actually.

And as for that night, she said it was like she "woke up" to find herself making out with him in his car. It scared her as she didn't know how she got there, the alcohol must have worn off enough by then. She was afraid of turning him down by then so she told him, how about we get a motel room which he responded to very well. Then she said, take me home so I can get my car and meet you there. He agreed. When she got out at her parent's house, she said she said, "Thank you and good night." She closed the door and went in the house and never saw him again. He was probably afraid she would tell his fiancee and he didn't bother her.

Lying in bed listening to this that night, I was 20 at the time, so was she, I nearly got up, grabbed my .357 magnum from under the bed, drove the 300 miles from Spokane to Tacoma, and ended him. We lived in a scary apartment building with doors you could breathe on to blow open and she was scared being there alone, soon after this would finally moved into our leased perfect house, liittle white house with the park like yard sans the tiny white picket fence. So I kept the gun loaded under the bed where she knew she could easily get to it.

I swore I would end him, next time I ever met him. Needless to say, I never wanted to see him again. I finally did see him again once, at the Tacoma Mall. I was with my next girlfriend after getting a divorce (for other reasons) and had a dilemma as if he talked to me, I knew I was beat the hell out of him. But in the end, I decided that was stupid too, so I walked out of Hallmark that day and walked off, he didn't see me. That was best for both of us at the time.

The next I heard of him, he'd found Jesus. Whatever.

He was admittedly good looking, women loved his look anyway, but he was also a pretty vain guy and had an odd home life at his parents. None of my friends understood why I hung out with him. But I felt sorry for him and he had cool cars. And a piranha. So I thought maybe he was kind of cool but no one could see it.

Basically though, he was a nice guy, flawed, but more or less okay once you got to know him; as long as he wasn't around women, because he'd sleep with anything that moved, as they say. Which lead one night to my telling him, I remember it clearly, sitting in his car somewhere, some Friday night, looking for something to do, someplace to get into trouble, I told him back in those youthful eighteen year old cruising around days, that I knew what he was like, and if he ever tried anything with any woman I was with, I'd kill him. He needed that kind of clarity to understand your feelings. I made them clear. Those were our High School days, post High School, really. That first year after, actually, when you're still hanging with your friends from school.

He said he understood. But apparently, when you are in Basic Training in the military, all bets are off. But how messed up is that? To hit on your friend's fiancee while he is suffering through Basic. I couldn't be more miserable down there in San Antonio, and there he was hitting on the one woman in my universe that I did nothing but think about every minute of the day and night, quoting passages out of Kahlil Gibran's published book of love letters to his lady, that I had found in the small library int he barracks one lonely night.

But then, that guy wasn't that bright either. I remember one time, we had the "Goat" out on a Friday night. We stopped on a dark street running along side the I-5 freeway. I didn't know what he was going to do. He revved the engine up, then dropped it into drive from neutral and... blew the rear gears. Friday night and we're sitting there in the dark in a car with a powerful engine and no drive train.

Eventually the police showed up. He asked them for a ride to a phone or gas station. But they treated us like slime. They wouldn't even help us push it off the road, they just said, get it taken care of. What jerks.So, we pushed the car off to the road side. I offered to make a call while he stayed with the car. I had to jump the cyclone fence protecting the freeway, I ripped my upper arm a bit as I came down on the other side, no stitches, but a bit of blood. I made it to a gas station on the other side of the freeway, made the tow truck call, then came back.

Someone recently told me that later models were changed so that wouldn't happen, so many others must have blown their gears too.

There are other stories about that guy, like how he ran off with my girlfriend, but that was something I set up with him, so that I didn't have to break up with her, again. I felt that if I was going to break up with her, after starting things up with her yet again, I deserved whatever she dished out, just so she didn't feel bad in getting dumped and letting her think she dumped me. That was a noble gesture until I realized she wouldn't let it go and berated me every chance she got until he finally had to tell her, one fine summer day in my apartment, to knock it off.

Ah, youth....

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