" FAMOUS OR WELL KNOWN
typically for some bad quality or deed;
WIDELY KNOWN FOR A BAD
OR UNFAVORABLE QUALITY "
In 1925, mobsters ran the streets in cities across America. During Prohibition, when moving drugs and alcohol was one of the most lucrative occupations around, one up-and-comer, a 26-year-old kid, began running the streets of Chicago. He came from a well-respected Italian family but got tangled up with shady characters at a very young age. Soon he was well known for running prostitution rings, organizing bootleggers, and violently killing anyone who got in his way.
From the time he came on the scene, this mobster flipped not only the city of Chicago but the entire United States upside down with the atrocities his gang, the Chicago Outfit, committed. Everyone knew that when the man with the scar on his face walked into a room, they needed to stop talking and start listening to exactly what he had to say. His reputation and influence extended his control not only to crime circles, but to the government as well. After the Saint Valentine's Day massacre in 1929, the desire to put this man behind bars became priority number one for every law enforcement department around the city.
In 1931, this mafia boss was arrested for tax evasion and was indicted for owing the government more than $200,000. But before his death in 1947 and for decades after, he was heralded as one of the most savage, most intelligent, most feared, most notorious gangster of all time. Who was he?
Al Capone. Scarface.
Even though he's been dead for more than half a century, we still know his name. We've seen movies based on his life. Instead of describing his career, I could have probably written "say hello to my little friend" and you would have thought of his nickname (from the 1983 film, Scarface ). He's been the model for almost every single portrayal of mafia bosses for the last eighty years. Why? Because Al Capone is the most infamous gangster known to the world. He's notorious.
In my own younger years, I, too, became well known for causing trouble. Don't worry, I didn't come anywhere close to wreaking the kind of havoc we've just been discussing. Most of my pranks were harmless and merely disruptive, but I realized very young that I liked attention, and that the best way to get everyone's attention was by speaking out of turn, making people laugh, acting like a fool, or doing something stupid. I usually got caught, which only served to spread my reputation as a troublemaker more widely among my peers, parents, principals, and even some of the "po-po" (aka police) in my small town (I was never arrested, just got picked up a few times). By the time I was in junior high, my mom's first question whenever the school called was, "What did Doug do now?"
One of the highlights of my seventh grade year was my bus driver, Pat. She was fun and easy to talk to. Even though she only came in at about five feet tall on a good day, she knew how to handle herself with a bunch of hormone-crazed middle schoolers. I respected Pat, probably because she really didn't care much how we acted up while on the bus. One morning as I waited outside for the school bus, I knew something was wrong. The bus was ten minutes late, and the bus was always late when there was a substitute bus driver. If Pat was out sick, this was not good news for me. Sure enough, when I boarded the bus, I was greeted by a substitute bus driver who looked like she meant business.
At that moment, I had a choice to make: I could continue my legacy as comedian, entertainer, and instigator of foolishness, or I could take a break from my antics for one morning, since it was much more likely I'd get in trouble with the subst