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The gang’s all here 

I was never a Boy Scout, which is my excuse for why I’m never prepared. Boy Scouts, if you believe their propaganda, are always prepared. Slipknots, orienteering, tracheotomies: If you need them, Boy Scouts are there with a rope or compass or scalpel in hand.
 
I, on the other hand, can’t even tie a Windsor knot when I get dressed in the morning. That’s my excuse for why I never dress up fancy. It’s also my excuse for why I haven’t hung myself yet. Or is it hanged myself yet? Either way, I’m still breathing and therefore have to keep writing this column, which I’m not prepared to do but have to finish anyway, because time and tide wait for no Shredder. My boss is threatening to toss me off of the Avila pier into the latter if I waste too much of the former, anyway.
 
In case I’m bobbing in the drink like a loose buoy this weekend, someone should check in at SLO LEAF’s inaugural poker run for me. There might be some good material for next week’s column. While you’re at it, and since you’re going to be filling in for me, I’ll fill you in on all the background.
 
See, SLO LEAF—the shorthand name for the San Luis Obispo Law Enforcement Assistance Foundation—has been advertising its first-ever poker run to raise money for its activities, which boil down to helping law-enforcement personnel and their families when they face personal disasters and other catastrophic circumstances. Basically, if somebody with a badge is shot in the line of duty, SLO LEAF steps in and helps the grieving family focus on worrying about something other than money.
 
I’ve got no problem with this. Nobody does, really, and if they do, they should visit the Wizard to get a heart to rattle around in their cold, hollow chest. If I were a police officer and somebody jumped me from behind and hanged me—or hung me—I wouldn’t want my family having to figure out who was going to buy dinner or pay the phone bill while they arranged my flag-draped funeral and 21-gun salute. Neither would you, though I doubt you’d get the salute. You’re not hero material.
 
The SLO LEAF funny business kicks in when you look at the posters advertising the poker run. Down at the bottom, there in the lower right corner, is a tiny message: “No Colors.�
 
When I first saw the ultimatum, I thought SLO LEAF was harkening back to separate-but-equal days of the South. I was outraged. Then I learned that “No Colors� actually applies to motorcycle gangs, and I was more confused than anything else. Do bikers wrap themselves in cellophane for these rides? If so, I’ll definitely be somewhere else this weekend. The last thing I need burned into my memory is some deputy’s pressed ham.
 
I asked around and found out that some motorcycle riders like to wear jackets that match the jackets worn by other motorcycle riders in their club. This, apparently, is what constitutes a “color,� which, also apparently, can represent a gang. That’s a gang in the Bloods-Montagues-Hatfields or Crips-Capulets-McCoys sense. This is not Spanky, Buckwheat, and Alfalfa. Nobody’s got a problem with “Our Gang,� and if they do, well, go back a couple paragraphs and read the part about the Tin Man.
 
I wanted someone to be more specific about this “colors� and “gangs� issue, so I had one of my cronies call the Morro Bay Police Department, which loosely defines gangs as two or more people wearing the same patch.
 
Kick me silly with a steel-toed boot if I’m wrong, but that sounds like the Boy Scouts to me. Girl Scouts, too—though they’re not always prepared. I’ve never thought of the little pig-tail wearing brats who guilt me into buying a dozen boxes of Thin Mints each year as a gang, but, hey, if the shoe fits, I’ll cut my orders back to half a dozen boxes of Tagalongs and throw rocks at the kids as they leave my porch from now on.
 
A street-tough informant informed me that local biker groups who may be into color-coordinating their outfits include the Molochs, the Gold Coast Wheelers, Servants for Christ, and the Blue Knights. The Servants for Christ sounds like a gang with members who help more old ladies across streets than Boy Scouts do. And that last group—the Blue Knights—is an obviously color-based law-enforcement motorcycle organization. I guess the men in blue will have to ride naked, or at least all just wear leather. But black is a color, right? Or is pink the new black? I’m so fashion illiterate, I wear white socks with black flip-flop sandals after Labor Day, so don’t expect me to have the answer to this one.
 
Don’t expect to be able to help donate money to a good cause with your friends, either, if you’re wearing a color, whatever that ultimately means. I guess if you’re a biker, you already know what that means, and have already made the choice to swallow your pride and pick a new wardrobe for the weekend. Or, you might have decided to buy a new jacket and patches with the money that could go toward helping little Billy get new school clothes even though his dad can’t work because he was shot in the knee.
 
I’m not prepared to tell you whether I think you should do one or the other. Heck, I’m not even prepared enough to think of an end to this column. ∆

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