Doc Stevens: Get a 3 dollar Cell Phone & Free Emergency Phone Service

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 6:28 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Doc Stevens 04 Tondeleo: Doc has finally gotten into the 1990's. Yes, I know that the 1990's are long over. For a long time, he refused to even have a phone. He'd had various pay as you go phones off and on, and according to him, there wasn't much worth paying to talk about, after you used your minutes to get a job.

Then, after all his friends and people who wanted him to play music at their BBQ's and outtings got on his case about it (He used to say, "If you want me to play so bad, then come by my house and ask me yourself."), he got a pager that someone loaned to him. They had a contract but didn't use it anymore and gave it to Doc until the contract ran out. With the pager, he had to go use a pay phone to call them back.

Recently, he discovered free cell phones, and found out from his friend Bruce that you didn't necessarily have to have money to have access to phone service. He and Marilyn went to La Plata and bought a couple of three dollar cell phones at Hooks And Hangers Thrift Shop. He was all smiles because now he feels modern, and he feels like he has beat the man.

Doc: Hey Tondy, I got me a cell phone. I aint never thought I'd get one again, but Bruce talked me into gettin my foot wet in the cell phone game. Bruce hooked me up with this idea. Out here where I am, we aint got no cell phone signal, so it aint worth getting a real cell phone.

But, when Marilyn goes out she needs to be able to make a call if she gets into trouble or my panel truck breaks down. She needs one of them cell phones, but aint neither one of us gots credit cards. She aint got nobody to call, but if she gets broke down she needs to be able to call that 911.

Here's what we been doin' out here. You can get a old cell phone at the thrift shop up in La Plata for three dollars and it comes with a charger, too.

All you gotta do is charge it up and carry it with you. You aint got a have a account to call the folks at 911. That's free. If you need a ambulance or a cop or you're sick, you got a free call. So that’s a pretty good deal for three bucks, where I come from.

You can use 'em to call collect, too. Marilyn calls Darla and Eddie down the road if she gots a message for me, and then I pay 'em back when the bill comes in.

If you got a credit card you can charge a call on a cell phone what you get from the thrift shop. Eddie done that a couple of times but he says it costs too much if you do it more than a couple minutes. I ain't never tried it. Don't got a credit card. I use cash.

Doc Stevens, Long Hair and Short Hair

Saturday, September 13, 2008 9:27 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Doc doesn't disclose very much about his past. He opens up to me more than he does to most people, and what I know is pretty sketchy. I know he's played music since he was 11 or 12, and played and traveled around the country a lot when he was a late teenager and through his early thirties and then some things happened and he quit - a whole lot of things. His friends talk about how he went through a rough time and wasn't very friendly.

He moved around the country frequently, and spent time trying to find himself. When he came to Maryland, he was back to his old self, and a bit more grounded and was taking the responsibility to raise his niece, Marilyn.

I've tried to talk with him about some of the events in his life, and the following conversation is VERY typical of how these attempts to get inside his head go.

Tondeleo: Doc, I've known you off and on for a few years now. You've come a long way. Your friends have told me stories about when you wore your hair kind of long and had a goatee for a while. You were also playing and performing under another name for a while...

Doc: So what? Ain't nothin' wrong with none of that. I needed a change and done it.

Tondeleo: The last few years, you are clean shaven and keep your hair short. I would barely recognize you - mostly your voice when we met again. What's up with that?

Doc: Yeah, I had my hair long for a while. Had a beard an mustache for a while. When I first met you, I had made a fair bit of money playin' music but not cause I was so good. They was some good people round me an' some not so good. I lost touch with myself an' all that. I lived over in Wyoming for a spell out in the middle of nowhere and got my life back.

At one point I had some money. Not for long. I did give away some money to people with sad stories an' problems an' used some of it to pay bills an' a lawyer. I ain't never been about the money , an' found it's easier to tell who people are if all you got is you an' you ain't got no money they know about.

For a while, I just din't have no money for a haircut an' didn't have a razor blade, only scissors for a while there. So I made a choice. Food or haircut. Food won.

That's when I was in Memphis workin' my way back to the east coast where I feel more at home. I went through some deep waters and didn't care 'bout myself or what happened to me. That was before my brother died an' afore I started takin' care of Marilyn. I cleaned myself up for that to set a example to her an' to not be attractin' the wrong kind of people around her. So now I look like a eagle scout boy scout.

Well, Tondy, we're bout done talkin' 'bout this here, anyway. Yeh, I had long hair but I ain't never had no ponytail. Never no ponytail, nope, no ponytail.

Tondeleo: And why is that, Doc? I know you're setting me up.

Doc: I ain't never wore no ponytail because you know what a pony's tail is attached to? Well, I ain't one of those. I'm outta here. Bye.

Doc Gets Email!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008 4:39 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: A few weeks ago, Doc finally entered the late 1980's. He left me a voice mail to let me know he got an email address. He and Marilyn don't have their own Internet access, which means they drive over to his friend Bruce's house, who has dial up, or they go to the library.

He has said before that at most places where they play, people want to get hold of him and he gives them his post office box number, but they always want an email address. His argument has been that if they really want to get hold of them, people can write. But Marilyn prevailed and he drove her up to the Bryans Road library and she set up an email account for him: docstevensyes@hotmail.com

He generously gave me his password so I could get to any time sensitive emails and call him if there is anything I think he needs to pay particular attention to. I am getting ready to email him to explain about spam.

Here is the gist of his message:

"Tondy, I got one of them addresses so I can get electric mail on the interweb. Marilyn set it up for me up at the liberry. We can be gotten in contact with now and answer about once a week if you don't mind bad spellin' unless Marilyn is with me. My name on there is DocStevensYes at Hotmail dot com. Marilyn said that people would send us free spam if I would let her get one of those addresses. That would sure help out a lot. Hey Tondy - E-write me at the sound of the beep! Bye!"

Will wonders ever cease?

Self Defense, Personal Protection and Common Sense - cont'd from one of Doc's attempts to train me to protect myself and to keep me from getting killed.

2:17 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Doc: Tondy, all you young guys are hyped up on fightin' and self defense, an' that's a good thing, but you gotta watch that you don't get a attitude and someone cuts you down to size.

Doc Stevens Weapon 000See, you go into a bar an' some local tough guy starts starin' at you waiting for you to say something so he can fight you. A lot of times, he's armed and ready to prove he ain't no sissy or something. Maybe he had a bad upbringin' or a fight with his old lady. He might of just gotten laid off his job. Now he wants to take it out on someone. You.

I got hurt pretty bad when I was your age. I was in North Carolina, down Goldsboro, and this big guy was just starin' at me. I seen him and looked at him and looked away an' then he got up an' moved closer without even movin' his eyes - just a icy stare.

I looked at him an' he said, "Whachew lookin' at?" Bein' young and thinkin' I was tough, I says, "That's what I'M tryin' to figure out." He got up, I threw my drink in his face and jumped outta my seat and BLAM, right into a pole! I hadn't noticed it. He grabbed me an' whupped me good an' threw me out on the street. He broke my nose, which still has a bump in it, an' cracked two ribs.

That wouldn't happen nowadays. If he was starin at me an movin' closer, I would make like I didn't see, and finish my drink an leave if I could. If not, I wouldn't get smart with him - I'd say somethin' like, "I think I done time with you once - maybe, maybe not." I've said that before and it quieted the guy down.

If not, then I would be ready as I could before something happened. We already talked about a lot of ways you can stay ready to protect yourself and whoever is with you.

Doc Stevens Weapon 16I always have my wallet with the chain on it. That's a weapon. I can strike a man's face with the chain and I can choke him with it. I ain't big, but I'm fast. If he's got a knife, I can hit it or his hand with the end of my chain and knock the knife outta his hand, so I can knock him down and then GET OUT OF THERE. Do you notice a theme, Tondy? Stay outta fights, if you have to fight, do some damage and get out of there.

A wrench is a good weapon I have on me sometimes. I mostly weaDoc Stevens Weapon 15r carpenters jeans. I might have a 13/16" wrench in my right leg pocket on the back of my thigh. I work on cars, so it's something I have a reason to carry. That's a good weapon for defense. You can block a hit or a punch or a knife jab. It aint a weapon that'll get you in trouble with the law, if you have a record. It's a TOOL... you can use it to adjust a man's attitude.

Doc Stevens Weapon 18I carry a cane with me, a cheap wooden one, usually a pig stick, if I have to go in a rough lookin' place I aint been in before. A cane don't attract no attention, and it don't announce, "Hey I'm lookin' for a fight." I AINT. But, I can use it to take care of me til I get out and to my truck. A cane is legal, and you can carry it anywhere. You can use it to prop yourself up, too. A cane is good defense at a motel or at home, too. Get a wooden, not aluminum cane - don't use aluminum canes, they'll break an' the doctor 'll charge a lot of money to remove it from your rear end. Use a wooden cane or a pig stick from Tractor Supply. I like a pig stick best.

If you're in your caDoc Stevens Weapon 11r, a good weapon to defend you an' your girl is a roadside flare. Keep a couple where you can REACH them! They ain't gonna do you no good if they's in the trunk! You gotta have one under the seat. Take it out, light it an' you are a dangerous man to mess with - for 15 minutes! You can use it to threaten, to temporarily blind him, to jab, to do whatever you need to do, up close.

Doc Stevens Weapon 13How 'bout a good ol' folding camp shovel, from the surplus store? Good defense, an' it's just good to have in the cab of your truck or in your car. Good protection. And, the cops ain't gonna arrest you for it. You can't be carryin' all them fancy swords you get at the Amish market or them other weapons. Cops'll say that proves intent - that you tended to fight someone - an' you just might go to jail an' his lawyer might just blame the whole thing on you an' make you pay his medical bills.

Flashlight's good, in the car. Shine it in his eyes, if it's at night an' then bust him upside the head, or jab hDoc Stevens Weapon 2is gut or his privates, an' then hit him in the head again. And a couple more times in the privates for good measure, an' on the SIDE of his knee as hard as you can to knock him down, where you can do some stompin' and protectin' yourself. Then get outta there.

But you cain't be out there actin' like a hard guy, Tondy. You ain't. I ain't. People play for keeps nowadays, they's worser than animals. You gotta keep your mouth to yourself, hold your temper, humble yourself, an try to keep the peace. The Lord said that. Be humble an' keep the peace, he said something like that.

More on Self Defense, Personal Protection

Saturday, September 6, 2008 4:04 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: Doc, every time I tell people, especially when I am home in England about your self defense techniques and improvised weapons, they beg for more info. We really don't fight a lot like you Yanks. We hit, we spit and we probably do more kicking, but for you Yanks, it seems to come naturally, or at least it is in your blood. You blokes just seem to like fighting...

Doc: Well, Tondy, some people might like fightin. I don't. I'm pretty fair at it but I don't like it. Not no more... All that fightin' is more on TV than it is in real life.

Tondeleo: But Doc, your eyes seem to light up when you talk about defending some weak person against a strong one, like that guitar player in Memphis where you pulled the two guys off of him and he gave you that seven string Ibanez guitar as a thank you. I KNOW you like telling that story...

Doc: That's where you're mixed up. I like that Inez guitar, but I ain't LIKE fightin, and then again, I don't like seein' some big guys pickin' on a little one. That boy down there in Memphis looked like a devil worshiper and I could tell he was on drugs but that aint no reason to beat him half to death. So I evened up the score with my belt buckle and my foot.

But I DON'T like fightin. The smartest thing to do is win the fight with yourself and try to avoid a fight and get out of there safe, if you can. Only a fool starts a fight with a innocent man. And he DON'T know what that innocent man may be carrying. But, for you Tondy, here is how to do the belt thing to defend yourself.

You want to wear a belt. Always. And a good sized one, leather. Not like that piece of whatever it is you wear around your waist. You ain't even WEARIN' a belt right now! It ain't about holdin' up your pants, it's about takin' care of yourself and your girl. Wear a thick leather belt. I got mine up at Dollar General for 5 bucks and it's a good one. Family Dollar's got 'em too.

You gotta wear the right shoes, too. Not those ones that you wear, those little fairy slip- ons what make you look like you got girl feet - better be careful, Tondy, some men likes women's feet and you're gonna find yourself in a fix - no, you gotta wear a boot or steel toed shoe what is heavy and with thick soles. MAN shoes.

Tondeleo: Show me how to hold the belt again - I can't seem to get it right - and let me take pictures this time.

Doc: You can't get it right! I can just see you down at Scott's or the Blue Dog an' someone come after you and you got to take off your belt and look at the pictures while your baggy pants falls down around your feet! Ok, here it is - aint nothin to it.Doc Stevens Weapon 19

Take off your belt and hold the end without the buckle across your right palm, with about 6 or 7 inches hangin off the back of your hand like this.

Then, wrap it around your wrist, crossing back over the hangin over part on the back of your hand and bring it back across Doc Stevens Weapon 20your palm again. Yeh, go ahead and take a picture of it .

Now what you got is that belt wrapped around your hand in a way that it won't fall out and a man can't yank it outta your hand and beat you with it while your pants fall down. The buckle adds weight to the end of it so when you bring it cross the side of his head he'll feel it the first time. You swing with all your might. Doc Stevens weapon 21

Yeh, and you don't swing like you're choppin wood. You swing BACKHANDED from your left side, crossing yourself and bring it upside the RIGHT side of his head. That keeps from tearing your rotor cuffs, an you get more swing behind it. OK, go head and take a picture.

Now the other thing, Tondy, is you don't hit him one time an then stop to inspect the damage! No! He'll get up off'n the floor and give you a whoopin or cut you. You hit him once, and then hit him hard as you can again, and then get your hindparts outta there. That's the only reason I'm tellin' you this. Doc Stevens Weapon 22

You ought to just stay outta places where somebody's gonna want to fight you just cause they don't like your looks or because they figures they can take you. Stay outta fights, Tondy. People ain't like they was. They might shoot you cause they think you was sittin at their favorite place at a bar that they don't even own. I mostly stay home nowdays.