One evening I struck up a conversation with my 16-year-old son about the movie “Hangover.” Here is how it went:
Me: “I saw Hangover. Overall, it was okay.”
Son: “I thought it was funny.”
Me: “How do you know?”
Son: “I saw it with my girlfriend.”
Me: “Wait a minute. It’s rated “R,” so how did you get in?”
Son: “Whoa — look at the time. I gotta go.”
Son: “No really, I have an emergency. My cell phone battery is low! ”
Me: “I’ll get to the point. Tell me or cell phone is mine for a few days.”
Son: “Okay, here’s how it all went down. I did a Hey Man.”
Me: “What the hell does that mean? Who is the Hey Man and why does your reference to “doing him” disturb me?”
Son: “Hey Man. We stood in line, found someone older and said: “Hey man, would you buy two tickets for us?”
Me: “Oh, it’s like a Hey Dude. “Hey Dudes” were used outside Green’s liquor store on Roswell Road back in the late sixties.”
Son: “How do you know that?”
Me: “Whoa — look at the time.”
“Hey Dudes” were initiated by the guy who looked old enough to buy beer, but for some reason couldn’t close the deal. We used him as the contact person. He was usually the guy who had the best sideburns or moustache.
We weren’t that much underage, but enough that we were in that age group where some guys looked 12 years old and some looked like Grizzly Adams.
Problems with “Hey Dudes” included being ignored, cursed at, ripped off and so on.
Ripped off was the worst. Once the “Hey Dude” contact was made, money would exchange hands, the “Hey Dude” dude would take the money, say “Okay, be right back. Meet me on the corner of the store,” and he would go inside. He’d buy what he wanted on our dime, get into his car and then drive past the arranged meeting place, usually waving goodbye to us with one finger.
I never owned a fake I.D. I never had the smarts to make one worthy of a decent beer store. The business of fake I.D. cards was not yet popular. We relied on “Hey Dudes” and knowing the guys who looked older.
Of course, once the “Hey Dude” was done, the problems began. Even if you scored it, the split had to go around many times since we all pooled the money.
Looking back, it was the thrill of the chase and not so much the trophy.
I’ll tell you this, like most stupid teenagers in that time, I thought the best hiding places included large unoccupied parking lots in places like schools and other buildings that were, in fact, regularly patrolled by the police. More times than I like to recall, I lubricated the Peachtree High School parking lot with a six-pack of PBR — not more than 10 minutes after the “Hey Dude” was done — in full view of the DeKalb County Police officer.
Had I dipped into the beer, the ending would most certainly have been more severe.
Years later, when I was on the other end of it, supervising the “Pouring of the Brew” at North Springs High and Riverwood High, I reminisced with fond memories as I looked at the miserable faces of my victims.