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Conformity? It Would Probably Have Kilt the ‘Weird Project Manager’

So what if Leonard L. Davidson comes to work in kilts. Or Bermuda shorts. Or a camouflage jacket he calls “disruptive patterning.” He is a Scot, you know, but cracks that he’s not Scotch. “Scotch is what you put into a Scot,” he giggled.

Davidson, 38, is a different sort. He calls himself a “weird project manager,” a person good at finding things that are impossible to find, or so he says.

As an example, he told about the man “who came in moaning to me that he couldn’t find any chain mail, so I went out, came back, plunked it (the chain letters ) on his desk and said ‘you mean these?’ It was hardly an effort, you know,” said Davidson, who twitched his thick mustache.

It is that sort of discovery that makes him happy.

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“I’m a history buff and know about things and how things are done and the way they are,” he said. “If you don’t know how it was done in the past, you make the same mistake over and over and over again in the present.”

But finding the impossible is really a small part of Davidson’s life because he spends his days working in the Apollo Book Shop in Costa Mesa, one of the largest second-hand bookstores in the county. The store is struggling for existence because it is in a redevelopment area.

But Davidson is a survivor. “I have other places I could go,” he said.

Putting together models of naval ships also keeps him busy. He has built 400 models, ranging from PT boats to battlewagons, in the last 25 years. While some are made from “a block of wood,” most are from kits.

His other passion is collecting military clothing and artifacts from earlier centuries, including British Commonwealth gear and Scottish regimentals. He also has a nice set of English (17th-Century) Civil War-period horse armor.

In addition, he collects British caps. “I could collect until doomsday and never find them all,” he said.

And if he did, he would get a good deal. “I’m known for being able to find great bargains,” the bachelor said. “There are not too many people who can get more out of a dollar than I can.”

In particular, he likes to specialize in the Scottish regiments, primarily the 48th Highlanders because its tartan is the same as the Davidson family’s.

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Actually, he is more heavily into science fiction than anything else. He calls the “Star Trek” TV series “classic science opera” and has 650 “Star Trek” books in his private 2,000-volume library.

And wouldn’t you know he is called “The Mad Scot” at science-fiction conventions?

The Anaheim resident is something of a self-described legend among county bus drivers: He does not drive a car and relies on buses for transportation, “disruptive patterning” and all.

Davidson said of the beach-bound youngsters who ride the bus with him in summertime: “The Creators were making an interesting attempt at a practical joke.”

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He also thinks most of them have been out in the sun too long.

Cleta Harder of Brea asked Carl Williams, a Brea realtor who is building a 37-unit senior-citizen apartment complex, if he wouldn’t mind dropping off a truckload of cement.

Harder reasoned that one truck would be a drop in the bucket, so to speak, because he was dumping 142 truck loads at his complex.

Nearby was the Help for Brain Injured Children School in La Habra, which just happened to be adding a room and needed a concrete footing. Harder is executive director of the school. “I guess that would have cost $1,000,” Harder said. “It’s nice that we’re still a small town. It was like asking a neighbor for a cup of sugar, and he gave it to us.”

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Roomies Judy Lloyd and Susie Groves of Tustin have this thing about Disneyland and the Sleeping Beauty Castle, which they have visited 36 times in the last 11 months on their year’s passes.

The visits are “exercises in stress reduction,” as they put it.

Doing that, they said, “gives us a chance to scream our heads off on some rides and not be embarrassed doing it. It’s a real fantasy for us. We sometimes meet there after work.” But now, said Lloyd, who works for UC Irvine Extension, “we’re going to see the real castle.”

The two left Monday for a five-week vacation trip that will include Neuschwanstein castle in West Germany, one of the castles on which Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle is based.

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Lloyd and Groves, a chemist, said some friends think their preoccupation with Disneyland is childish and intellectually limited.

“I guess they don’t believe that playfulness and intelligence can coexist,” Lloyd said. “I think they augment each other.”

Acknowledgment--Keith Candler, 34, of Huntington Beach Tuesday was presented the California Highway Patrol Community Service Award for helping in the apprehension of a driver charged with running into and killing a 27-year-old motorcyclist. Candler, who witnessed the incident, went to his 7-Eleven store in Huntington Beach, where he recognized a damaged car in the parking lot as the one involved in the hit-run. He called the CHP, which later arrested the suspect.


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