Moment of Zen
When I was a teenager I used to love to go watch baseball games at the Houston Astrodome, but I had little money. After a time I invented a way to get the best seats in the stadium for fifty cents. The park charged 50 cents for people under twelve. My brother, who was under twelve, would go buy these tickets for my friends and I while we held back out of sight. We would enter the stadium and walk over to a metal mesh fence which hung about fifteen feet high, suspended from the ceiling. Next to the fence was an opening to enter and a no nonsense guard in a suit and tie who checked everyone’s ticket as you walked past (to make sure that you were not some proletariat trying to sneak into the good seats).
There was a bathroom next to this guard that attached to a bathroom on the expensive side of the stadium. The bathroom walls only went up about seven or eight feet and the rest of the separation between the two men’s rooms was made up of metal chains which reached to the bathroom ceiling. If you stood on top of the toilet in the last stall in one bathroom, you could hand a ticket through the chains to someone standing at the toilet in the bathroom on the other side.
I had once sat in some very expensive seats at this stadium (purchased by an Uncle) and had kept the ticket stub. I would give the stub to my brother who would flash it to the guard at the fence and walk through (the guard never checked dates, just ticket colors and Clay looked too young to be pulling a scam).My brother would then enter the bathroom on the expensive side of the stadium, stand up on the last toilet and pass the stub over to me standing on the toilet on the other side. I would take the ticket, leave the bathroom, walk past the guard flashing the ticket, and walk into the bathroom to join my brother to repeat the process until we were all in.
We would then take the escalators to whatever level we desired, once to the press box, the holy of holies, where the TV and newspaper guys worked and ate their free food provided by the ballclub. There were several press level luxury boxes there and once we managed to sneak into a vacant one, grabbing some free hot dogs and locking the door behind us. After awhile, my friend Dan Harrison tripped over a folding chair, the noise of which seemed to echo throughout the stadium. Within seconds there was loud knocking and a demand that we “open the door”, which we did. A very short .very young usher, dressed in a polyester blue blazer and holding a walkie talkie stood before us. “”Tickets please ? “ she asked. I handed her my fifty cent ticket. She looked at it, a hint of a sarcastic smile on her face and said, “OK” and walked off.