Burford & Stan: The Elf and The Man

How This Autograph Came to Be

Among certain of my friends I am known as the King of Dollar Dares. In public situations, I like to think of challenges/tasks, upon the completion of which I pay one dollar, American.

Sometimes the challenges are pretty innocuous, like the time in a movie theater when I dared Christine, aka Ultima Thule, Warrior Princess, to eat Sour Jacks covered in cheese (or whatever that stuff is they put on movie nachos). I think she actually enjoyed it!

I make my friends' spouses very nervous; some people will do almost anything for a buck. Especially Burford D. Elf, Champion of the Dollar Dare.

Yes, this is the same Burford who, dressed as a six-foot-five-inch Elf, accompanied yours truly--dressed as a scruffy, unshaven Santa--on the abortive intended cross-country roofless Fisher-Price Lucky Car trip a couple of Xmases ago. And I didn't even have to give him a dollar for that one. (But more on that when I get time to write it up.) If I am the Dollar Dare's King Arthur, Burford is its Lancelot (aka Lance Fancypants, as I dubbed him during softball season).

Example 1: At a minor-league baseball game (site of so many dollar dares), a kid, evidentally a future frat boy, casually strolls to a spot right in front of our seats, stops, empties the contents of his stomach (mostly a red snowcone, from the looks of it), and just as casually strolls away, grossing out everyone in our section. I offer Burford a dollar to take part of a brown paper bag lying nearby, dip the bag in the vomit, and run back and forth in front of the bleachers holding the vomit-dripping bag in his outstretched arm like an olympic torch.

The crowd responded with an ovation. I responded with a dollar.

Example 2: Another baseball game. Once again Burford accepts the challenge. This time, to earn his dollar, he must approach a Scottsdale city cop and demand to be arrested. It had to be the specific cop I pointed out, too, because this was a really short cop--I believe I mentioned that Burford's almost six & a half feet tall.

Wish I'd had my camera. Better yet, the PXL2000: this scene just screamed out for low-res preservation:

Burford (6 inches from the cop, towering over him): So what's a guy gotta do to get arrested around here?
Hapless Cop: What are you talking about?
Burford (holding out his hands): G'head. Cuff me!
Cop: Get lost, willya?
Burford: I'm tellin' ya. Take me away.
Cop walks away, shaking his head. (This is Scottsdale, after all--there are no crazy people here!)
Burford returns to his seat to collect his dollar.
Example 3: Yet another baseball game. Think baseball games are boring? You've obviously never sat in our section. One guy who did had reason to regret it. He was an obnoxious geeky guy who looked like George Costanza--in fact, that's what we called him, to his mild displeasure. He had season tickets and would bring geeky friends with him, or sometimes his wife (we'd take those opportunities to tell her lies about her husband's behavior when she wasn't at the games with him). One night it was hot, it was too hot for the misters at the stadium to operate properly, we were cranky, and George was annoying us with a spray bottle full of this foul smelling mixture of water & rubbing alcohol (it's supposed to cool you off better than water because the alcohol evaporates faster). He was also liberally moisterizing his liver with the other kind of alcohol, and being very loud. I'd had enough. "Burford," I finally said, "if he sprays that thing in this direction one more time, I'll give you a dollar to pour your beer over his head."

That was the best dollar I ever spent. I even bought Burford another beer.

Harry Dean Stanton Example: I was at a wedding reception at swanky Wrigley Mansion atop a hill overlooking Phoenix. Our table, the loudest one there, immediately antagonized the waiter, who began responding with dry remarks at our expense when he thought we were out of earshot. He was a rather cadaverous-looking fellow, and it suddenly dawned on us, didn't he look just like Harry Dean Stanton? Of course my immediate reaction was to offer a dollar to Burford. All he had to do was to go up to the waiter and ask for his autograph, pretending to think the guy really was Harry Dean Stanton, fallen on hard times. Off he went, and we all watched and waited for the fireworks.

Of which there were none. Turns out the guy loves Harry Dean and was tickled to be compared to him. He gladly signed H.D.'s name and I was out another buck. (But at least after that we got great table service.)

A few months later Burford goes to see his friend's band play at the Whiskey in Los Angeles, where they were opening for The Call. The same guys who are good friends with Mr. Harry Dean Stanton. Hey, don't jump ahead of me. Okay, yeah--Harry Dean was there in the flesh. When I next saw Burford, he silently handed me a sheet of paper with personal greetings from the Man himself:

"To GD
Thank you!
Harry Dean Stanton"

Without a word I immediately reached into my pocket and gave him a dollar. "Yes!" Burford shouted, proudly turning to his wife and announcing, "See? I knew I wouldn't even have to ask!"

Just another day--and another dollar--for Burford D. Elf.

Ok--I know what you're wondering.
Q: Did Burford tell Harry Dean Stanton the story about the waiter?
A: No. I said I only gave him a dollar, didn't I?