Volume 18
An Online Literary Magazine
April 14, 2024


Only in Davis


Nancy Stone


Bikes Galore in Davis: It's an intersection of free-loving hippies and archaic academia. The elitism and delusion born of this union can be so absurd that it transcends shock and requires the witness to seek humor in the situation.



here is a derogatory abbreviation that was coined to reference the very unique citizens of my hometown of Davis, California, which is, "TFD," meaning, "Typical Fucking Davisite." As someone who was raised in Davis, I think I'm allowed to admit that this is pretty funny, especially because I witnessed this stereotype unfold before my eyes on many occasions. Furthermore, in an act of solidarity, I'll admit that it's very possible that I've even been a TFD at some point in time.


How do you describe a TFD? Today, I think the youths might call this person a "Karen," but in Davis, a TFD extends beyond just wanting to speak to the manager because the coffee was served one degree cooler than requested. Davis, where the Prius appears to grow on trees and Birkenstocks are the (un)official shoe, is an intersection of free-loving hippies and archaic academia. The elitism and delusion born of this union can be so absurd that it transcends shock and requires the witness to seek humor in the situation, and can often be summed up by a common phrase one might hear from local storytellers: "Only in Davis!"


As a business owner in Davis from 1974 to 1991, my Dad was both humored by and dependent on TFDs for his livelihood.


"When I saw the police cars, I knew it was bad," my Dad said, recalling the day he received a frantic and rather cryptic phone call from one of his employees. My Dad, who only lived a few blocks away, was at the front of his store within minutes.


There were three City of Davis patrol cars parked against the curb, and a trail of dollar bills leading inside his store. The only people in the store were the police, who were focused on my Dad's sweet high school employee, Greg. Greg had been working alone and was visibly shaken from the strong-armed robbery that had occurred just moments before.


"Are you OK? What happened?" my Dad rushed in asking, interrupting the already occurring police conversation with what must have been a balance of consolation and horror in his voice.


The aftermath of the robbery was evident in the store, and the trail of dollar bills continued to the front desk where Greg had handed over all the cash from the register when the robber demanded it, using the threat of a concealed weapon to intimidate him further.


Amidst the chaos of scattered dollar bills and police interviews, a TFD customer slinked into the store, completely unnoticed. Had it not been for the buzz of a crime in progress, entering my Dad's store, unobserved, would take an act of God, given its small size. A typical person looking to enter the store during this time might have taken in the police activity, the dollar bills littering the ground, the store owner visibly distracted, and would likely deduce from these data points that perhaps this was not the most ideal time to be browsing for tennis rackets. Ah, but this is Davis, and we cannot underestimate the immediate needs of the TFD, who was clutching a few items and looking intently at the register, waiting for someone to return eye contact. When, shockingly, no one acknowledged him—not the police, not my Dad, definitely not poor scarred Greg—the TFD announced, "HELLOO? Can I get some help here!?"


My Dad always chuckles as he tells the punch line of that story, alluding to what we are all thinking: "Only in Davis!"


And yet, the story doesn't stop there. Thanks to Greg's hot intel, the police were able to apprehend the robber on the freeway. Thankfully, all of the cash was eventually recovered.


About a year later, my Dad was at the store and received a rather strange phone call, which seems to be a theme here. It was the robber, who had served his time and was wondering if my Dad would now give him a job at the scene of his crime. My Dad, slow to anger as he is (or maybe he was just in shock at the absurdity of the request), kindly told the robber-turned-TFD, "Uh, sorry. We're not hiring right now!"


Nancy Stone lives in Seattle and is an aspiring stay-at-home dog mom. She's emboldened to write by her friends and family who keep her laughing about everyday nonsense, and inspire her storytelling.







Home | Search | About Us | Submissions | Mailing List | Links | The Writer's Workshop