Trump Card

Greetings BFD readers!  My name is PK and this is the first of many articles I intend to share in BFD’s Advice for Living.  I have been hassled for some time now by Joey Z, because I have done little to support the BFD community and their efforts to enlighten the world of web surfers.  Although I go way back with many of the the site’s contributors, I have been in a creative slump for a good long while.  I want to take a quick moment to thank some of those who have inspired recent work and revived me from a dormant state of mind.  I was deeply moved by Roscoe’s submission, Horsefingers: The Edwin Freiberger Story.  There may not have been much to the man but a tragic story, but the monster within him left us a legacy of music we will laud and revere for ages to come.  I’d also like to recognize the NFL Round Up series by TeeCoZee.  The NFL was once archaic to me, a sport I vaguely remember from childhood thanksgivings in Northern Michigan (God Damn you Lions!).  Yet, TeeCoZee provides all of us with a series of NFL updates that is informative as much as it is entertaining.  Keep us posted TeeCoZee, I’m watching the Bears get pummeled as I write this.  Finally, I’d like to thank Joey Z for unveiling the Clay Aiken conspiracy.  Although his recent write-up has attracted some critical and controversial responses from readers, let us keep in mind one thing… that video is fucking hilarious!

Now without further delay, PK’s Advice for Living: Trump Card.

The Apprentice Season 3For the last month I have been working as a utility PA for the reality TV show, Celebrity Apprentice.  Everyday I brave the busy streets of New York City in order to shuttle and deliver camera crews to various designated locations throughout the island of Manhattan.  It should be said that the Big Apple is certainly a place where trouble finds you.  I’ve lived in this fickle city for over a year now, and I know first hand the kind of trouble one may find around any corner.  The city threw another curve ball at me last week, and I learned a valuable lesson.  The morning began innocently enough.  I picked up Cam Crew T and raced down Park Avenue to Lower Midtown.  Typically there is a good amount of down time for me to read, sketch, mosh pit, or steal awkward glances from unsuspecting New Yorkers.  Not this day.  The celebrity contestants had to run a few ‘errands’ and, of course, Cam Crew T was assigned to following them.  This entails following the cast van around to odd locations, standing, and waiting wherever we can find street parking.  I had no permits for my vehicle, and so I was not legally allowed to stand in commercial parking spots like the cast vans do.  I dare say that commercial parking zones take up, roughly, 97.8% of midtown.  So by this point in the day, I had already broken more traffic laws than I could count with my fingers and toes.  I had a couple of close-calls with meter-maids, construction foremen, and cranky business owners.  One can only get lucky for so long, before luck runs out.

Finally, trouble found me.  The cast van got ahead of us by a few blocks and we needed to catch up.  I was hindered by our camera PA, who was busy handing out clearances to a dozen nameless faces, all of them attracted to the cameras like mindless flies to a bright light.  They squirmed their way into the frame and now needed to sign a bunch of paper work.  At last she entered the van and we shot up 36th street toward 5th avenue.  I didn’t know it then, but we were on a Thru Street, which means you cannot make any turns between 10am – 6pm.  I turned right onto 5th ave an hour shy of it being a legal turn, and we were met by the NYPD standing in the far right lane, waving and whistling at us like a game referee.  It’s a sad day when you are pulled over by an officer that doesn’t even have a vehicle.  He was all business from the start, greeting me with, “License and Registration.”  I gave him my driver’s license and he immediately smirked at the Michigan seal.  It should be known that all Utility PA’s on the shoot were responsible for any moving violations, while parking tickets were paid for by the production company.  I’m sure this copper wanted nothing more than to teach me, an out-of-state-driver, an expensive lesson.  God damnit, I thought.  Son of a bitch.  Who knows how expensive this moving violations will be, right?

The assistant camera man and I looked diligently for the registration, but could not locate it for the life of us.  “Is this a rental van?”, he impatiently asked.  We told him that it was and that we were working on the Celebrity Apprentice show.

“The what?” he asked.

“Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice.”  A friendly smile showed underneath his thick mustache (which was probably issued to him along with his badge).

“Donald Trump, eh?  He’s a good man, does a lot for this city.”  My fingers crossed.  I held my breath.  Suddenly he gave back my license, offered us some city driving advice, and sent us on our way with only a warning.

Lesson learned?  Play that Trump Card!  Play that get-out-of-jail-free card.  It’s amazing to me that a man I had never met or seen in person got me out of a jam.  And it goes to show that in a city like New York it is not what you know, but who you know.  So when you find yourself in a tight spot, especially in the Big Apple, try playing that Trump Card.  Had we not dropped his name, that officer might have given us a ticket.  Hell, he might have held us long enough to discover the messy bodies of three pedestrians I mulled over on 42nd street earlier that day (Chrysler’s Town and Country van has some savvy storage spaces) .  The pedestrian traffic light system is not rocket science, yet many tourists fail to appreciate its practical and necessary function in the city.  But that’s advice on living for another day.