This story takes place in Santa Barbara California in 1975 when Wayne a student at Brooks Institute of Photography and Alan a student at Santa Barbara City College taking core courses living together on Mason Street. While Astroturf was first introduced in 1966 its adoption as a artificial ground cover as synthetic grass was slowly adopted. This is a true story about an incident and the identities have been reduced to first names only as this was a criminal offense though no one was caught or convicted….which was amazing.
It was a pleasant summer afternoon and I had just returned to our communal three-bedroom duplex from a late afternoon class when Wayne told me to get into his car and there was something we needed to do. As I put the seat belt on, I noticed a steak knife on the carpet near my shoes. We drove across town to a popular national brand paint store located on a fairly busy street. That very day the store had their entry way leading up to their front doors covered in green AstroTurf. I do not remember the size of the area that this AstroTurf covered but I do that in the end it was enough to cover all the weeds and exposed ground in that backyard of our duplex where it finally ended up.
Here we are, in front of the Standard Brands paint store on Laguna Street, a very busy street. Note: Standard Brands filed chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1979 . Wayne gets out of the car and tells me to do the same. He has the knife and then drops to the seams of the AstroTurf and starts cutting away where it had been secured to the ground. When Wayne was through cutting at all the seams, I told him to give me the knife as he started to roll up the AstroTurf so that no one would get hurt. I put the knife in my back pocket handle first and started to help him roll up the AstroTurf.
Somehow during the last part of rolling up the turf I fell backwards and stabbed my right arm with the knife. It was not good. There was blood gushing and I used my left hand to cover the wound. Wayne finished rolling up the turf putting it in the trunk where it stuck out several feet. Finally in the car Wayne turns to me and asks where’s the hospital? I was not doing well and I have no idea how we found the hospital but when Wayne pulled into the emergency room parking space it was between two police cars. Total genius.
After several stiches and some bandages and repeatedly being asked if this was the result of a domestic confrontation, we were able to leave. The bill for my emergency room visit was shared by all the members of our household and the fake lawn in the backyard did look pretty good. As for getting caught…well our luck did not hold out for the next adventure. Oh, and that 67 Mustang…he still drives it!