We had a bunch of posters stuck on cement posts (holding up a cement balcony). Marvin and I thought they looked ugly, and since the tape had aged and couldn't be pulled off, we decided to see if we could burn them off with a propane torch. We had a stack of them smoking away when the campus rent-a-putz showed up and started trying to hassle us.
"You can't do that," said the putz.
We continued to demonstrate that the laws of thermodynamics were on our side. Our college tradition is not to suffer idiots.
Finally the putz called for backup, and an older and wiser security guard showed up.
"I'd rather you didn't do that," he said, wisely.
"Why not," we asked.
"Well, its making some pretty thick smoke, and leaving a rather big black smudge on the pole."
"Hmmm. Yes, well, I guess we could stop."
I'm still impressed with his ability to engage us and convince us to stop, instead of trying to pull the authority card. It continues to be a roll model for me when working with others (especially youth). No threats, no loud voices, no pulling rank -- just intelligent conversation and respect.