Her name was Cathy… She lived just down the street from me, and we were in several classes together in the sixth grade. She was smart and I was – me. We didn’t talk much, but we had been neighbors and classmates since the fourth grade, and I thought she was kind of cute – she had blonde hair, a pageboy haircut, blue eyes behind, and framed by, some sort of tortoise shell looking glasses with fairly thick lenses. Though I didn’t quite understand why, I really liked her and wanted to get to know her better.
During class one day, we were instructed to form teams of two for some assignment or other. I was about to team up with one of my buddies when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and almost swallowed my tongue – there was Cathy – standing before me and looking all cute…
Our eyes locked, and for a short eternity, I was completely lost to all that was happening around me… My universe had suddenly contracted to the exact space in which Cathy and I were standing… There were no stars, no planets, no moons, no sky, no sea, no people… There were only her eyes, and I was immersed in those two pools of blue – It truly was one of those incredibly rare moments in life when time becomes completely frozen in its temporal tracks. And then she spoke… To ME…
She said “Billy, will you be my partner?”
My heart joined my tongue, stuck in my throat… I didn’t know what to say… I – I stammered, searching for words, just – just the right words… What were the words I needed at this exact moment??? Where were they? The words that would be etched in her mind for all time as the most perfect, the most wonderful, the most – the most – the most – perfect statement that anyone could ever deliver at this, the most perfect moment in my life, so far??
Search as I might, the words wouldn’t come… So, rather than say something imperfect, I did the next worst thing… Simply stated, I farted. It wasn’t of the great bull moose variety, mind you (I doubt it was heard in the principal’s office), but it was loud enough… I had heard it, she had heard it, she knew that I had heard it, I knew that she had heard it. And, worst of all, we each knew that the other knew that we had each heard it…
This, of course, broke the spell… She must have assumed that my flatulence was just my way of saying “No,” because she just turned away and found another partner.
It is still, today, the most humiliating moment of my life. And it’s also one of my great disappointments. My one chance with the girl of my dreams, gone in an audible puff of methane.
Fortunately, it was not long after this that my dad was transferred to Ventura…
(From Chapter 7 of my bio. But I thought it would be a good addition to the category…)
It was dark. In fact, it was really dark. And hot. And humid. And it smelled bad.
And I found myself lying between sweat soaked sheets that reeked of chlorine bleach and calamine lotion and were stretched across a bed frame so full of splinters that you could use them to hang the ‘resort’ supplied bath towel that’s so thin you could read the newspaper through it in the pitch black darkness of a hotel room that was so run down that even the rats, mice, termites and spiders had abandoned it nearly a decade ago.
Well, at least the chances of catching Hantavirus were low, what with the conspicuous absence of vermin, and all.
As I lay there in the dark, I rehashed the events of the previous eight hours, trying to figure out why this trip seemed like such a good idea at the time.
Was it the promise of the the resort restaurant – “Voted the best escargot in Lake Misery County!”? “Wow!”, I thought. “The best escargot! I don’t know what that is, but it sounds great!”
Well, I found out what it is at breakfast that morning… I ordered up a big plate of the stuff at 6:00 AM, thinking that I would start out my day with what they were the best at. They asked me how I would like them cooked and I said “extremely rare, please.”
Two minutes later the waitress placed a plate full of their best dish in front of me.
I looked at the plate. I kept looking at the plate.
It took me a minute for my mind to process what my eyes were trying to tell it, but the message finally began to register. It looked like… like… like… snails… Snails! Snails sitting right there on my breakfast plate!
It was the only time in my life that I ever saw a snail run – and I’m not talking about the ‘moving rapidly from point A to point B’ kind of running. I’m talking about a ‘nose stuck to the face of a guy with bushy mustache and a really bad head cold’ kind of running.
Finally, the waitress asked if she could bring me anything else. I stared at the pile sitting before me for another minute in an attempt to decide whether to ask for ketchup or Snare-All. I opted for a “to go” box… and the check.
She said, “certainly, sir!” and left me to my imagination, returning thirty-seven seconds later with the check and an empty Energizer Battery box along with a roll of duct tape to keep it shut after she dumped the ‘best escargot in Misery County’ into its gaping maw, being careful not to spill any onto the old bedsheet that passed for a ‘table cloth’. I couldn’t help wondering what all of those stains on the tablecloth were.
At least they have good taste in batteries.
And I now have, yet, another use for duct tape I had not previously thought of.
I got up, walked to the cash register, paid the check, walked out.
After walking about fifty feet, I happened upon what appeared to be a serviceable garbage can and, looking around to make sure that no-one was watching, deposited the collection of deceased, slimy Mollusca Gastropoda as I passed by.
Breakfast was finished before it ever started. I think I know where all of the missing vermin went.
I will never look at snails the same again.
Joe woke up early – real early. He knew it was real early because the sun had not yet made its daily slither up over the horizon to cast its wakening brightness over his part of the rock most people called ‘Earth’. So he was quite certain that it was real early.
Or… was it late?
He thought to himself, “In this context, there are actually two forms of ‘late’. Either it’s late at night and, therefore, too early to get up out of bed; or it’s late in the morning and too late to still be in bed.
He thought about that and decided that if it was late rather than real early, ‘late’ option number one had to apply because that form of ‘late’ is, in terms of brightness after-all, evidenced by the same lack of sunlight as ‘real early’ whereas ‘late’ option number two would surely render even more sunlight than ‘middle early’, which was sort of a combination of ‘real early’ and ‘late early’.
(The difference between ‘late’ and ‘real early’ is that ‘late’ comes before ‘real early’ and lasts longer. A lot longer.)
So it could either be late or it could be real early. It didn’t really matter to Joe – he just knew that it was dark out and way too soon to get up.
And it was in that uncertain fog of confusion that he muttered to himself, “What day is it? Oh yeah – it’s Saturday…”.
To Joe (and a thousand other guys like him), every day was Saturday. Oh, it could be Sunday, but most days – six out of seven – it was Saturday. The important thing was that there were never any Mondays.
Joe vaguely remembered Mondays. It had been long enough since he actually had a Monday that he had almost forgotten how ‘Monday’ a Monday could be.
Some Mondays could be extremely ‘Monday’, while others (not many) tended to be less so and he was grateful that he (in his life of Saturdays and Sundays) was losing recollection of the more “Monday’ Mondays. Very grateful indeed…
But Joe lived with one deeply buried, irrational worry…
Every day is Saturday or Sunday until somebody gets hurt. Then every day is Monday… And that’s a terrible way to spend your life…
But right now it was too early to think about that…
Or was it too late?…
My name is Truly… Love Truly… Love U. Truly. Yes, that’s my real name and no, it wasn’t easy growing up with that name. It was hard – real hard, and I have always wondered what my parents were thinking when they tagged me with it.
I would have been happier with a name like Rocky Smith. Or Max Jones. Or Sam Hamburgowitzheimerlocktonspineligrauptonstein.
Or Penelope. Why couldn’t they just have named me ‘Penelope’ with no middle or last name?
But it’s ‘Love U. Truly’, so I have to live with it. And what’s my middle name? What does the “U.” stand for? It’s ‘U.’. Just ‘U.’. They couldn’t even come up with a decent middle name to which I can fall back when people ask me my name. Most guys can fall back to their middle name (or, at least, a cool nick name) when they think their first name won’t do…
“Hi, I’m Harold, but you can call me Hal.”
Well, that doesn’t work for me…
“Hi, I’m U., but you can call me U.”..
See the difference? And there are several other problems associated with having a name like ‘Love U. Truly’. Prospective employers don’t take it seriously when they see it on my resume.
“OK – Who’s the joker? who put this fake resume on my desk?”
I have never had an actual job interview because my resumes keep getting tossed into the shredder. That being the case, I have never had an actual job. It’s really very sad…
I have tried to get gainful employment my entire life, only to be laughed out of Human Resource offices all over the state.
I’ve tried opening my own business a couple of times, but have never been able to attract customers because the DBA didn’t come across right…
‘Love U. Truly Bail Bonds’
‘Love You Truly, Bounty Hunter’
‘Love You Truly, Body Guard’
‘Love you Truly, Professional Hit Man’
See what I mean? There’s a disconnect in there somewhere.
One of the major issues with the name is that of introducing one’s self to someone new. That can be a real challenge, and it was never a good time for me.
Until the day I met my soul mate, the love of my life…
“So, What’s your name?”
“‘U.’. What’s yours?”
“I asked you first. “
“Yes, I know. Thank you for asking. I’m ‘U.’. Who are you?”
“Wait a minute. You’re not me. I am me. You are you.”
“Tell you what… You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine. You go first.”
“OK… I am ‘U..’ Who are you?”
“You haven’t told me your name, yet.”
“Yes I have – it’s ‘U.'”
“Wait a minute.. Are you telling me your name is ‘You? Y-o-u’?
“No, not ‘Y-o-u’ – Just “U..’ The letter ‘U..'”
“Your name is the Letter ‘U.?'”
“Yes. Well, that’s my middle name. My real first name is ‘Love,’ but I go by ‘U.’.”
“Your name is ‘Love’ and the letter ‘U.’?”
“Yes. ‘Love U.’ and only ‘U.’. Who are you?”
“I am ‘Me’.”
“OK – I think that we can agree that you are you and I am me, but what’s your name?”
“No, you are U. and I am Me, not you.”
“Yes, I am ‘U.’ and you are not me.”
“Yes I am.”
“Yes you are what?”
“I am ‘Me.'”
“Yes, you are, but who are you?”
“No, you are ‘U.’ and I am ‘Me.'”
“And we are we and we are all together, but who are you?”
“You are ‘U.'”
“We have established that I am ‘U.’ . What I don’t know is your name.”
“My name is ‘Me.'”
“Are you telling me that your name is ‘Me’?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Ahhhh! Right! What’s your last name?”
“Yes, I think I have your first name right.”
“No! You’ve got my first name wrong! My first name is ‘Me’!”
“Yes, right. I understand that, but what’s your last name?”
“‘Wright’. My last name is ‘Wright’.”
“Your last name is ‘Right’? R-i-g-h-t?”
“No, that’s wrong. My last name is ‘Wright’ W-r-i-g-h-t.”
“Ahhhh… I think I have it – Your first name is ‘Me’, which is right; your last name is not ‘right’, which is wrong; but your last name is ‘Wright,’ which is right! Right?”
“Yes! That is truly right! I am ‘Me’ and you are ‘U’! What’s your last name?”
“Yes, tell me truly.”
“That’s my name – ‘Truly’.”
“What’s your last name?”
“My last name is ‘Truly’.”
“Oh! Your last name is ‘Truly’!”
“No, My name is Wright!”
“Not Wright! Right!”
“I think I get it… Your name is ‘Love U. Truly.'”
“Correct. And you are ‘Me Wright’. Right?”
“Do you have a middle name?”
“You do? Or you don’t?”
“Yes I do.”
“Tell me what it is.”
“Why not what?”
“Why won’t you tell me your middle name?”
“You did? What is it?”
“Yes I did. ‘No’.”
“You are saying that your middle name is ‘No’?”
“So your full name is Me No Wright?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Sigh… “I think I’m in love… Will you marry me?”
“I don’t know. Will he?”
“Will who what?”
“Will U. marry Me?”
“I just asked you that.”
“No, you just asked me if U. will marry Me. That’s different.”
“How is that different?”
“Why do you ask?”
And that, my friends, was when we decided to change our names to ‘Bill’ and ‘Judy’…
“Roses always made her cry, or rather, softly weep, tears of emotion turned to substance that emanated from the deep turquoise-blue pools that were, are and forever will be, her eyes; perfectly situated somewhere near the middle of the excruciatingly nearly perfect rectangular orb that she referred to as her “face”.
“As each drop of the salty fluid fell toward the Earth, only to have its descent cruelly and prematurely halted as it struck her precisely cut slice of lemon meringue pie, it became progressively clearer to her that all of the roses in the world could not change the fact that she had ordered, not lemon meringue, but banana cream pie.”
Tazania… (Pronounced Tuh-zaaay-nee-uh)
It was a Monday…. It was raining, and that should have been the first indication that it was going to be a lousy day…. It’s always raining in Tazania… hot, tropical, steamy rain that makes your clothes stick to your skin like they were dunked in warm maple syrup before you put them on in the morning… and makes the scum on your exposed flesh build up so thick you could scrape it off with your finger nail the way you would scrape a layer of butter off a cube with a butter knife… every day of the week…. Except Mondays…
It always snows on Mondays…
Mondays can always be counted on to provide a cooling, comforting respite from the muggy conditions of the other six days of the week…. Oh, the snow wouldn’t last more than overnight, that’s for sure…. White, cool, powdery all day on Monday, only to have its pristine brightness metamorphose into a murky, lukewarm mess with the always timely arrival of Tuesday… and the rain… and the heat… and the ever-present mud that saturates and mixes with the pure, white, cold powder and turns it into a putrid, brown slush – precisely like what happened to my heart when she walked out on me… on that hot, steamy, rainy Monday… in Tazania…
(From Chapter 17 of my bio. But I thought it would be a good addition to the category…)
Having never met, we approached each other at the previously arranged meeting place. We stood there, looking at each other… I, deeply struck by the loveliness of her face; she, with a look that said “There is some sort of mucous-like product occupying the interior of one or more of your nostrils.”
With one lithe motion of her hand, she reached into her purse and withdrew one of those ‘personal’ packs of facial tissue, extracted three of the finely milled sheets, held them out in my direction and spoke her first words to me, “Here… You really, really need these… All of them… In fact, keep the whole pack…”
Then, with no further comment, she turned and walked away.
Thus began, and ended, my first foray into the world of “online dating”…