The darnedest things happen.

Remember when, just three years back, a young guy rented a Russian River vacation house under false pretenses and was hosting a monster party when the deck collapsed?

A teen girl suffered a serious injury to a foot. Accusations and denials flew like snowballs, and the county went to work writing tougher rules on vacation homes.

Five bucks to whomever can remember the name of the fit, blond, well-dressed fellow who'd rented the house outside of Guerneville.

He was Nick Gruber of Sebastopol, then a 20-year-old El Molino High alum who'd told the rental agency the sweetest story: He was in the Army and before being deployed to Afghanistan wanted to take his girlfriend to a hideaway and propose to her.

Heck, I'd have rented him my house.

But Gruber was lying like a Stumptown log. Hundreds of hard-drinking teens and 20-somethings laid siege to the rental and down came the deck, onto somebody's Lincoln Towncar. That was in January, 2010.

I mentioned a year later that it flabbergasted the rental agents to recognize someone in tabloid stories about designer Calvin Klein's new partner.

It was Gruber, described as an adult-film actor and underwear model. He and Klein, 48 years his senior, became quite the thing.

Now Gruber has taken a new partner and he can't talk enough about the tell-all book he's working on, "Obsession: My Life with Calvin Klein."

Eager to generate interest in the book, Gruber has offered up some personal details of his young but certainly eventful life. For one, he says he really was in the Army when he met Klein later the year of the house party, and he was discharged shortly after he offered his sergeant a peek at a video he starred in while in high school.

I for one don't think it's too early to conclude that he is simply not coming back to Guerneville to fix that deck.

IT'S A WRAP: Mild whiplash occurred as folks listening with one ear to a pre-holiday segment on The Today Show heard mention of Corrick's, the landmark Santa Rosa gift and stationery store.

At that moment, co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb were taking gift wrap pointers from Amy E. Goodman, a fashion and media maven.

She told the Today Show pair, "My first job ever, at the age of 16, was gift-wrapping in a little gift shop in Santa Rosa, California, called Corrick's."

From there, the 1991 Santa Rosa High alum has gone on to win major pageants, graduate summa cum laude from UCLA and become an author, magazine editor, sought-after TV expert and wrapper of packages too pretty to rip open.

JAIL HER? That wasn't a promising option for the Santa Rosa police officer summoned on an recent Sunday evening to the Denny's near Coddingtown for an elderly woman who refused to leave.

She was 72, carried her possessions in suitcases and wore the ID band that was on her wrist upon her discharge from a hospital earlier that day. She told the officer she had no money and nowhere to go.

The cop consulted with his sergeant, who phoned the off-duty Officer Alan Schellerup, president of the Santa Rosa Police Officers Association.

He drove to Denny's and used association money to put the woman up in a motel for the night. The original officer helped her connect with the county's mental health mobile support team.

That's a piece of creative, compassionate police work.

PICKUP LINE: Jim Caudill idled at a red light in Rohnert Park when it occurred to him that an unmarried female friend of his just might be interested in the driver of the manly Chevrolet truck in front of him.

Caudill wasn't about to pull the guy over, but he wouldn't mind hearing from him and having a talk about his friend the single woman.

Caudill thinks it was something about the pickup driver's personalized license that got him to thinking about playing matchmaker.

It reads, WYF WNTD.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)