wmthomas-sliderBy William Thomas

When I say I have “known” strange men, I do not mean that in the normal sense or even the biblical sense. When I say I have “known” these men, I mean I wrote about them and then I promptly backed over my computer in the driveway, changed my name and moved twice.

First, there was Miguel Gonzales in California who was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend and sentenced to undergo anger management training. During one of his first sessions, Miguel was beaten to death by his counselor. Seriously, when you provoke your anger management counselor to the point where he strangles you to death with his bare hands, you got a real attitude.

In an early incident of street violence in Toronto, a prominent member of an Asian gang was shot and killed. The man’s name was Chanh Thong Vo, but according to the Globe and Mail, “he was better known on the streets of Chinatown as ‘Tommy’ or ‘No Wang Vo’ because several years earlier he had accidentally shot off part of his wedding tackle with the .45-calibre handgun that he kept stuffed down the front of his baggy blue jeans.” Ah, if it’s a choice, I’ll take “Tommy” any day. And to avoid a truckful of really bad puns, I think we’re all relieved this guy’s name wasn’t Richard.

In Brunswick, Ga., detectives picked up a suspect in a purse snatching minutes after it happened and returned him to the scene of the crime, informing him he was going to have a face-to-face identification with the victim. They hauled him out of the cruiser and positioned him directly in front of the woman. There was a pause and then the suspect said, “Yup, that’s the woman I robbed, all right.” Okay, maybe he’s just new at this.

Over 400 hygiene experts gathered in Hong Kong for four days a few years back to discuss “the Culture of the Toilet.” Said Sachiko Azai of the Japan Toilet Association, “We have to make toilets something we can love.” Well, when it comes to loving toilets, we here in Canada take pride in the thousands and thousands of university students who hug the porcelain almost every weekend.

When a woman at Memorial University in St. John’s was facing nudity charges after being discovered naked with a man in the library study room, school spokesman Peter Morris said, “I’ll be frank: it does have its humorous elements, doesn’t it?” Actually, Peter those elements would be a lot more humorous if it was two defensive linemen from the football team caught naked in the study and they asked you to be Frank.

Added Morris, “We have no desire for people to be nude in the library.” No, but it would sure get those freshmen cracking the books on the first day of school.

A favourite quote of the time came from Albert Kraus of Chicago while he attended the — I’m absolutely not making this up — Living in Leather IX convention in Toronto with 450 other aficionados of sadomasochism. Said Kraus, “Sadomasochism is practiced with the heart and the mind.” Good grief. Whatever happened to whips and sticks and riding crops?

Added Kraus, “Today we are practicing safe sadomasochism.” Safe sadomasochism? Believe me, I’m no expert in the field, but if you do it right, isn’t somebody supposed to get hurt?

But the three guys I most wanted to have beer with were American’s Joseph VanWart, Robert White and Johnny O’Brien.

Some time ago, while travelling west out of New York, these three young men stopped and picked up a dog, later identified as Buddy. Buddy was digging through the trash beside a highway near Central Islip, N.Y., and to keep the dog from being hit, the guys loaded him into their car.

Pleased with their new friendship, the four of them proceeded to travel through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas and finally to their hometown of Fort Collins, Colo.. I can just imagine the fun — wolfing down burgers, all cuddled up and snoring in the back seat, taking a leak beside the road — all the things guys like to do on road trips.

Then came the words that once inspired me to write a book entitled “Guys – Not Real Bright And Damn Proud Of It!” “That’s when we discovered,” said one of the young men from Fort Collins, who wished to remain anonymous, “that Buddy had tags.” That’s right — Buddy was carrying identification, which showed he hails from Central Islip, N.Y., not too far from the heap of garbage he was rooting through.

Look, nobody said we were the smarter of the sexes, but there’s never been any doubt as to who has more fun. To these three heroes (at least in the eyes of a smelly mutt who loves to go for long car rides), I say this: “I love you, Man! But no way, Johnny, you can’t have Buddy.”

Buddy, by the way, has since returned to Central Islip, N.Y., safe albeit somewhat confused. He no longer accepts rides from strangers, but he’s not exactly sure why.

How about we designate 2014 The Year of the Guy? Mission statement: “Men — we have the right to remain stupid, behave badly, own a rubber chicken, and a whoopee cushion and operate them at the same time.”

Warning: Women, do not attempt to match these extraordinary achievements of the stronger sex. You are neither physically nor psychologically equipped for such exploits, plus you could hurt yourself giggling.