The Great Antenna Topper Heist Of Y2K



‘Nuff said, right?


For as many years as I can remember at my current job, I’ve always tried to take some time off right around my birthday.  The benefit here is that my birthday usually falls in the same week as Memorial Day, so I can usually turn a 5 day vacation into a 4 day hit on my vacation bank, with number 5 being absorbed by holiday pay.


That’s part of the magic of working in the financial services industry where my holidays are tied to the federal holidays.


Last year at this time, I found myself in the Rockies visiting the northern branch of the organization.  Aside from the plethora of household chores thrust upon me by the moose pajama clad manager, I also managed to go see a rock or two, a football stadium, and Casa Bonita.

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The birthday vacation this year is a little different.


It started with a Memorial Day get together with the extended family where for the fourth or fifth year in a row, they “surprised” me with a birthday celebration.


I’m not much for celebrating my birthday, and would really rather people just say “Happy Birthday” and do absolutely nothing else.


No gifts.


No singing.


No exerted effort whatsoever.


A Facebook post is acceptable too.


I was once told that the celebration was for the benefit of my nephews who seem to appreciate the old school noogies and rug burns I dole out with great frequency.


Now, a few days later, I’m here alone with the dogs wondering what I’m going to buy on Amazon with the gift cards while eating leftover brownies.


Authors note, post composition:   I’ve ordered a docking station for my laptop.


In a few hours, I will embark upon the first of three appointments I’ve set up for this week.  The dentist is going to prepare my lower left 12 year molar for a crown.  Attempts to fill a cavity at the gum line have been unsuccessful, so extreme measures are about to be taken.  Hopefully, that work doesn’t render me moot for the rest of the day.  I’ve got tickets to go see Raising Arizona at the Alamo Drafthouse tonight, and the thought of being miserable while watching H.I. being chased by gun wielding convenience store clerks and a pack of dogs depresses me.


Authors note, post composition:  I took my dental care like an man and was good to eat a pretzel and fire off a cap gun in the theater during the gun play scenes.


Tomorrow, I’m slated to go to the eye doctor.  As a far sighted individual with a couple of eyes which perceive things at different rates, I will spend the better part of thirty minutes making life changing decisions between which is better between one or two.


“Again please?”


Authors note, post composition: Two is always better than one.


At the end of the week, on the day after my birthday, I’m going for a physical where I’ll be poked, prodded, cupped, and probed.


Whereas I don’t mind saying “Again please?” at the eye doctor, I won’t be using that phrase on Friday.


Yay, vacation.


So I told you all of that to lay down some groundwork for the real reason I’ve beckoned you here today.


The year was 2000.  It was the end of May and beginning of June, and I had gone on vacation.


We’ve established this.


I don’t remember exactly what I did that year in my time off.  The kids would have been 5 and 3 at the time, so I’m guessing we stayed around the compound dreaming of future things to come like dogs named Faith and Hope who don’t get along.


TharpSter.Org wouldn’t be along for another nine years, so it’s not like I was knocking out dispatches to the internet via my narcissistic vehicle of choice.


Who knows what I was doing?


At the same time, I can tell you what my colleagues at the cubicle farm were doing.


They were stealing Puffy.


*pause for effect*


Pretty unnerving, huh?


Go ahead and ask.  I know you want to.


Puffy was an antenna topper which came with my VHS copy of “There’s Something About Mary”.  That particular movie featured a dog named Puffy who endured some abuse and a full body cast.  When I obtained a copy of the movie, I rightfully put the topper on display in my cubicle at work.  God forbid you put that thing on a car antenna where it could be stolen.


For what it’s worth, I tend to display movie crap at my cubicle.  Today, you will find a few Star Wars items, a key chain representing the leg lamp from “A Christmas Story”, a book mark featuring the hotel from “The Shining”, a few coconut shells (my Monty Python starter kit), and the new coversheet for the TPS reports.


Yes I got the memo about the new coversheets.  Stop asking.


When I came back from vacation during June of 2000, I found that Puffy was gone.


Upon realizing that Puffy was gone, I sent a note out to the team.  “Hey, can anyone tell me where Puffy went?”


The answer to that ill-advised question would be drip-fed to me over the next three months as members of that team, their families, and other known associations took their vacations that summer in preparation for a tumultuous election season scheduled for later in the year.


It started with a few Polaroids being delivered anonymously via inner-office mail.  The pictures revealed Puffy going downstairs into the parking garage, commandeering a golf cart from Security, and taking off.


Over the summer, I would get pictures on a weekly basis featuring Puffy in the Caribbean, on an Alaskan cruise, at Enron Field in Houston, in Washington DC, and who knows where else.


In all honesty, the whole process started to unnerve me.  I couldn’t figure out who was behind all of these shenanigans.   I had set my sights on one particular person who was behind it all, but was totally wrong.


One of the pictures featured a Secret Service agent holding their weapon to Puffy.  That one didn’t really set well with Wifey.


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I started planning revenge upon the individual who I thought was behind it.


And then……


Upon arriving to work one morning, I was met at the stairs by a teammate.  She was just standing there, leaning against the stair rail.


I found that odd, because she usually arrived to work after me.  She moved to her left to reveal the hand rail she was leaning against.  On that rail was Puffy.




Not the original Puffy.


It seem the original Puffy’s spongy white coat had succumbed to a Margarita while posing for another menacing photo.  It was a new Puffy who stood there on the handrail.


Over the next few hours, I would learn that it took a whole buncha people to pull one over on he who would eventually become TharpSter.


All these years later, I’m still planning my revenge.  I have all of the pictures….


However, I don’t know where all of them are.


Retrieving them would involve doing some cleaning out of various storage boxes and bins squirreled away in the garage.


Lord knows I don’t want to be spending any of my precious vacation time cleaning that thing out.







Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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