THE WEREWOLF MASK
18 February 2005
"Pat brought by the tickets for the concert," I told Walt, speaking of the upcoming benefit concert for Citizens Who Care, which we will be attending this weekend. "They're in an envelope on the kitchen counter."
"OK--I'll put them in the werewolf mask," he responded.
This was a normal conversation for us that needed no interpretation, though it might sound strange to someone else.
Years and years ago, when we were first becoming Lamplighter groupies, and when The Lamplighters were looking to increase their attendance, they offered a 2 for 1 deal. I think it was that for every two tickets you bought you got one free. I can't remember now. Anyway, we ended up getting free tickets and over the next couple of years, every time we had a free ticket, we'd bring a new friend and we'd all go in a group. The friends always enjoyed the shows and so they would get their own free tickets and would bring someone else. At our peak, we had about 20 people in the group, all going to see Gilbert & Sullivan at this run-down theatre in San Francisco.
Walt and I always ordered the tickets for the group and would give them out to everyone the night of the performance. Then came the fateful night when we had 20 people all meeting for a very fancy dinner before going to the show and we lost the tickets. It never occurred to me that it would be blatantly obvious to The Lamplighters when there was a block of 20 tickets and 20 ticketless people showing up that their story about losing the tickets was true.
I also never knew at that time that The Lamplighters kept a record of all the tickets purchased for just such an occasion, so that when you showed up without your ticket, even in the pre-computer days, they could pull up your account and give you substitute tickets.
All I knew was that I had 20 people who expected to see a show, that we were responsible for giving them all tickets, and that we had torn the house apart and could not find the tickets.
I felt miserable through dinner. We ate at this British place on Lombard Street and, though the Brits are not noted for their "cuisine," this place served a delicious meal and we were all seated at this long table together upstairs in our own private dining room. Everyone was laughing and chatting and I was sitting there dying because I didn't know what would happen when dinner was over.
At 7 p.m., when I knew the box office was open, I snuck off and called and explained my situation.
"No problem," box office manager Jess Brown told me. "We have a record of your order here. Just show up and we'll let you in."
After that, I was able to relax and enjoy the meal--and confess to our friends that we'd lost the tickets, but that all was well.
It was some time later when Walt was cleaning out his dresser drawer (a rare occurrence). At some point--I can't remember why now--he had acquired a werewolf mask. We didn't usually attend costume parties, so I can't remember if he bought the mask or if someone gave it to him as a joke. However he happened to get it, it ended up being stored in the top drawer of his dresser.
Anyway, he picked up the werewolf mask and out of it fell the envelope of tickets to The Lamplighters.
That's when he remembered that he had put the tickets in the mask so that if someone were to break into the house, they wouldn't find our expensive tickets. Not that there are a lot of thieves around who would be interested in Gilbert & Sullivan, but the total cost of 20 tickets was not cheap and he was being good about guarding them.
Ever since then, the werewolf mask became the place to put tickets so they wouldn't get lost. We always knew where to find tickets. They were always in the werewolf mask.
Over the years, the werewolf mask began to get old and sticky or disintegrate or something--whatever cheap rubber masks do. Walt eventually threw it away, but he replaced it with a manila envelope which has "werewolf mask" and a drawing of a werewolf on it, and to this date, we still keep all of our theatre tickets in the werewolf mask.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Sorry I didn't have enough candles for you!