A Brief Review of the 1988 Miami Leadership Seminar
See it Like a Native
by John Johnson and Raman Pfaff
Reprinted from V5N1, August 1991
The night was humid, as most of the nights are in Miami. It had started as a
typical night for a bunch of us PPSA members. John and I (Raman) had gone down
to the sunny south to witness the wedding of another esteemed member, Eric
Hoffman. However, before a wedding it is necessary to party for a least a few
days. This is necessary since you'll be married for the rest of your life for
Christ's sake! Anyway, lets not get too deeply into this marriage thing.
As we arrived at the bar (try a Duffy dog at Duffy's if you're ever in town)
there was limited parking available due to the holiday atmosphere pervading
the city. It was as festive as a squirrel with a king size nut. We proceeded to
park at the liquor store across the parking lot and as we entered the drinking
establishment I repeatedly told John to move the car. I did not want the rental
car towed and billed to John's Gold Card. That would have made John as happy as
a dog in a thunderstorm with fleas. Shortly thereafter a legal parking space opened
and John went to move our car. Eric did not. We did not see his
car again for four of the longest hours of our young lives. Upon leaving
the bar Eric said, "Oh #$%#@, I've been towed." The adventure had begun.
We immediately wrote down the
address of the fine towing establishment and proceeded to look for it.
Eric and I had both lived in Miami for a substantial part of our lives
and did not think that it would be difficult to find, even though it was in
Northwest Miami where neither of us had
As the journey began, we were still feeling the effects of many imported beers
and had some problems trying to navigate around the airport. At one point we
were driving down what we thought was the road, until we saw an airplane drive
past us on it's way to the great blue yonder. I'd never realized that planes
were so large before. Eventually, like molasses through a sieve, we found our
way to the northern side of town. Once there we began to look for the
appropriate street address. This was not as easy as we had hoped since our
headlights were pointing under the front bumper. Also we had entered an area of
town where the streets have no name. During this entire time Metro-Dade's finest
men in blue were constantly driving by at about a hundred miles per hour. I
don't know where they were going but they certainly didn't seem to want to stop
to help some poor tourist looking for a street. We finally thought we had found
the right street and we turned down it. Oh my, what a mistake. As the street got
smaller we could see ghostly figures moving about
in the distance. From out
of nowhere five hounds from hell appeared silently and
started pacing the car. As we approached the slowly moving figures ahead we
could see that they were people walking the night in their bedclothes in search
or whatever the night had to offer. We turned around immediately and the hounds
from hell chose this moment to attack again. As we were driving away we thought
we were going to hit one of them but they disappeared as quickly as they had
shown themselves. You know how it is with those creatures of the devil.
Well, we'd had enough of that so we decided that we would try to find a phone
and ask for directions. Shortly thereafter we found what seemed to be a
quiet enough pay phone. With our last quarter in hand (we'd used all the rest
playing foosball) we stopped the car. All of a sudden about four young gentlemen stepped out
of the bushes and proceeded to wash our window. We didn't bother to tell them that
we couldn't see anyway with our headlight situation (recall that the headlights were pointing
under the car). We persuaded the men to leave by giving them our last quarter.
They also tried to give us directions, but we'd already been there and we knew
they knew not about what they spoke.
The adventure continued. After driving past the open crack table (one of the
most prominent landmarks in the area) we found another pay phone which looked as
lonely as a cactus in Siberia. We scouted the area and decided it looked as safe
as we could expect in the area. Eric got out of the car and proceeded to make
his call. John decided he needed to rid himself (in the biblical sense) of some
of the evening's beer. Walking around the corner he proceeded to unsheathe
himself and suddenly noticed that God's Gift was about to be exposed to about
the largest doberman he had ever seen (sorry Biff, but it made you look like a
sick poodle). Needless to say, he crept back to the car as quietly as a
Christmas mouse. Meanwhile, Eric was on the phone trying in vain to get the towing company
to forgive his mistake and not charge him the $115 dollars they customarily do. Not
a chance. It turned out that the address had been incorrect in the phone book
and we were in fact many miles from the actual location. In the meantime a brand new
black Thunderbird had pulled up. This car was loaded with all the extras. The window
smoothly rolled down with an electric
whir and a voice came from the darkened car.
guys lookin' for Alamo?" He had obviously seen our rental car sticker.
him we needed no help and we thought he would leave. He stayed for a few minutes
and John noticed that the gentleman was speaking into a microphone. He went over
to the car and was informed that the nice man was an undercover police officer
and a shootout was about to occur in the area. We were instructed to leave as
soon as possible. I had no problem with that suggestion. John forcefully took
the phone from Eric (mindful of the killing machine nearby) and extracted the address from
the company. We climbed back into the Cavvy machine (ah, our lovely Chevrolet
Cavalier) and continued our journey into the unknown. We felt a lot like Sinbad
exploring the edge of the world.
Needless to say I (John now, this is kind of like tag team typing) wanted to be
a live explorer by the end of the night. So I got behind the wheel and peeled
outa that lot, and headed north, dodging bullets as I drove. Atter that stopping
at about 5 all-nite gas stations to get instructions for the "correct" address.
Half of these looked like they were about to be robbed and the rest had
attendants who looked like they would rob us. Anyhow, stopping to ask
instructions without speaking Cuban is pretty useless. So I went on my well
documented intuition. Even with that handicap we found the notorious Galactic
Towing by about 3:00 A.M. -- only three hours and about 100 miles atter leaving
Duffy's. After another hour we convinced Eric to shut up and pay the money. We
found a Publix (shopping center) and Eric got the money. We headed back to
Galactic and almost got run off the road by some very impatient police, but we
got the car un-impounded. Then, on our way to the main highway (see, we still
had to drive back to Eric's house in southwest Miami!) we saw a whole group of
police cars below and around us as we passed over a bridge. I was busy keeping
the Cavvy on the road, but Raman said they were pulling a body out of the river.
Pfaff claims it was Jimmy Hoffa but I think that is stretching it a bit. Of
course, we had to return to Eric's via Coconut Grove - thus rounding out our
mileage for the night to about 180 miles! We definately saw Miami like natives!
There were other eventful times too! Like the next night - Thanksgiving. You may
ask, "Didn't you partake in the national pastime of eating turkey with relatives
and watching football?" Well, yes and no. We ate a nice dinner at Eric's
parent's house and watched some football... but Jim and Gary (the Bot-master)
had other plans. Atter a couple of hours of cards and stag films, we had had
enough - this was not only Thanksgiving, but Batchelor Party night!! We let our
fingers do the walking and located the Pink Pussycat Lounge, near the airport.
They were open until 5 A.M., and we intended to close them. Memories of the
evening include $3.00 beers and polite wholesome waitresses. And nothing is more
wholesome than an nice young lady named "Goldie" dancing nude on your table. I
looked upon this as an educational experience. Goldie taught me the true meaning
of tan lines. [Grin] I have to give you some inclination of how one tips such a
nice young lady... You have to tightly roll fifty dollar bills (well, we didn't
have many of those, so we used ones, but it's the thought that counts right? -
anyhow, Gary brought enough to keep us in garters til close) and then you insert
the bills in the garter of a waitress. In fact, every girl will come to your
table and beg after she dances on stage. That may sound sexist, but you aint'
heard nothin' yet! So, when you are inclined to make a donation, you have to
"stick it" in her garter - but make sure that the garter is high enough. Jim was
quite loopy and started us saying "a little higher".... They loved us there!
Also, it you are good with origami you could get creative and maybe impress
someone. Needless to say, we did close the place at 5:00, and we made it back to
Eric's in one piece.
The rest of the "Leadership
Conference" was pretty good, too. Jim, Gary and I went to Key Biscayne on
Friday. We even tried to wind surf. Ha! That was a funy sight alright Gary
actually did fairly well, but Jim and I were lucky to walk away! Later on we met
up with Paul Schafer from "Late Nite". He was trying to pick up babes. Although
Jim was as obnoxious as ever ("Are you really Paul Schafer??") We had a good
time with him (I explained that Jim hadn't ever gotten over the Viet Nam War).
We had to leave though to make the reception dinner at Eric's parent's house, so
we left Paul with some tips on what hot Miami babes wanted in guys (he kept
insisting he was just a naive Canadian musician, but we told him to flaunt his
Eric's wedding was great! Raman was best man, and I MC'd his reception. The
reception was the best part of the whole wedding. You can keep that long
Catholic ceremony, I'll take the open bar any day! We all danced and partied and
DRANK!! And Raman and I thought that would be it... we forgot that we were with
Jim (Tequila!). So we decided, we can stop for a drink, eh? We did and Jim found
a companion. Raman had to return home for medical reasons (I must admit
I've never seen Eric's driveway so colorful.) I returned to Hoolihan's, and Jim
and Gary and Jim's friend and I decided to head to Miami Beach. Between Jim's
liking to grab the parking brake, and his waving his fingers in my face, saying
"Smell this!", I'd guess I should consider myself lucky that I lived through it
all. Modesty doesn't allow me to say much more than, "I'm glad it was ME behind
wheel of the Cavvy!"
Things calmed down after that. Raman and I returned to Michigan Tuesday via
Northwest Deathlink. We did almost die once though. No, not while I was
driving! It we had gotten to Alamo to return the Cavvy any earlier, we would
have been on the Alamo shuttle bus that was involved in a big accident. Being
God Emperors has its advantage I guess. All-in-all, it was pretty difficult
having to endure those 80 degree sunny days, while it was snowing in Michigan.
But then, being a God Emperor means making sacrifices for others. We'll get over
the trauma, but the world will be a better place because of us.
humble reporters, Raman & John
[Remember that leadership seminars (aka: Road Trips) are an integral part of PPSA
life. In February 1989, Ray is attending a seminar in New Orleans over Mardi Gras. We
hope to hear from him. -Ed.]
Last Updated 04/13/95.© 1996 PPSA