The other day, I walked past Goodwood Avenue on my way to a friend’s place. Mike Curran used to live on Goodwood Avenue. Mike Curran used to live on the planet. He left on September 10, 2015.
I met Mike at Oakwood Collegiate, our high school. He was older than I was, but we shared an interest in entertainment and comedy. We worked together, with other students, on having Oakwood’s first variety show. There had been music nights and drama nights, but never a variety show with music, drama and comedy.
To say that Mike was resourceful understates how resourceful he was. Mike was super-super-super resourceful. You would want him on your side in a war. To give an example of just how resourceful Mike was, he had a list of teachers’ addresses and telephone numbers. How does a student get a list of teachers’ addresses and telephone numbers? Mike never told us. It’s a secret he took to his grave.
One Friday night, at Mike’s home on Goodwood Avenue, we prank-called several teachers. Caller ID did not exist. The only way you could tell who was calling was by answering the telephone.
The final prank call we made was to Mr. Peabody. (Mr. Peabody was not his real name.) I pretended to be an old lady and yelled at Mr. Peabody for disturbing me with his partying and loud music. Mr. Peabody deserves high marks for his calmness and patience. No matter how much I screamed at him, he remained calm, patient and respectful.
“Ma’am,” he said, “there is no party here. I am not even playing music. I was sitting here reading when you called.”
“You’re lying!” I said in my angry-old-lady voice. “You had to stop the loud music to answer the phone.”
“No, I was reading. You must have the wrong number and address.”
“Are you saying that I am senile and don’t know how to dial phone numbers?”
“No, Ma’am. I am saying that you dialed the wrong number. There is no party here.”
And then I told Mr. Peabody his address and apartment number. Silence. Dead silence. Dead, dead, dead silence. Poor Mr. Peabody. He spoke after a bit and was baffled.
“I-I-I don’t understand. That’s my address, but there is no party here. I’m alone. I was sitting here reading. I-I wasn’t playing any music.”
I told Mr. Peabody that he better keep the noise down or else I would call the police. And then I slammed down the phone.
We wanted to call more teachers, but Mike said, “No. People get caught because they don’t know when to stop. We’re gonna quit while we’re ahead.”
Mike played a lot of pranks and broke a lot of rules. I don’t remember him ever getting caught.
Mike moved from Goodwood Avenue over 40 years ago. I doubt whether there is anyone left on Goodwood who knew him. For the current residents of Goodwood, it’s as if Mike never existed.
But Mike did exist. We, who knew him, will never forget him. We will always remember how resourceful he was. We will always remember his sense of humor. And we will always remember the mischief that danced in his eyes while he plotted his next prank.