This was a week of interesting surprises.
First surprise, interesting but no fun, is how damn cold it's gotten. It's settled over most of the nation so everyone knows about the teeth-rattling chill, but I have to work in it.
My wife, Sally, works for an education foundation, which is headquartered in an elementary school. Said school is on my regular school district mail delivery route. Monday night she told me, "I found out the principal, whose name is now Mandy H--, was once Mandy V--, and she went to school with us."
I did a Danny Thomas spit take. Coffee shot out of my mouth. I said, "Mandy V--? I dated her!"
I don't know what would get a spouse's attention more than words like that, but Sally suddenly became all ears. My advice is, if you want to get your husband's or wife's undivided attention, say something about someone you dated.
It really wasn't much of a date, though, but the story has an interesting twist. I got lined up by a mutual friend. Mandy V-- was really cute. She had/has a pretty face with attention-getting eyes. I was a senior and she was a junior. We went on one date in the fall of 1964. I don't remember what happened on the date, but I remember what happened before the date.
Mandy had told me, "Meet me at the Hires Root Beer stand. I'll be inside waiting." I showed up at 7:00 in my 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air two-door hardtop like I was supposed to, went inside the Hires stand, but the only person I saw in there was a hard-looking man sitting at the counter. I was disappointed but went back outside and got ready to drive off. I heard my name in a loud whisper. I looked over and behind a light pole was Mandy, trying to get my attention. I drove to the pole and she jumped in and said, "Get out of here, quick!" I did.
When we were clear of the parking lot she said, "That's my boyfriend in Hires. I didn't want him to see me." Alarm bells went off in my head. Boyfriend…? I asked, "How old is your boyfriend?" She said, "Thirty-three."
I don't know how old you are, but consider when you were 17-years-old, and how other people looked to you. Thirty-three looked to me like real old, real grown-up, real dangerous. My balls shriveled in my pants. The last thing in the world I wanted was to be with someone who had a boyfriend who looked like he could pop my head like a grape. So the rest of the evening is wiped from my mind, but I still remember how I felt when I heard that startling bit of news.
My question now would be, why was a 16-year-old girl going out with a 33-year-old man? Well, we all know why the guy was interested in her, don't we? I wonder what ever happened to that relationship but I won't be asking Mandy, because I don't plan on talking to her. I don't renew acquaintanceships like that, nor would there be a reason. She's management now, I'm still a flunky. She probably doesn't remember me or that night, and thank god for that. Like George Costanza, I don't want to be remembered.
When that happened I told my friend Dave in an e-mail, "I don't renew acquaintanceships," and for the most part that's true. However, later in the week my old e-mail buddy Eddie contacted me. He'd been looking for blogs about Harvey Kurtzman, who was the creator of Mad, and came up with me. It'd been several years since we had written to each other. Unlike Mandy, Eddie I welcomed back in my life.He has a really interesting blog called Chicken Fat, which reminds me a lot of my own blog. But then, I could have gotten the idea from Eddie because of his way of making everyday life sound interesting. Maybe Eddie and I hit it off because we are both observers of other humans, who notice things maybe others don't notice. Or it could be that we share the Zodiac sign of Cancer. Or most likely it's that after reading Mad comics our minds are just twisted and bent into the same configuration.
Lots of folks have spent the week commenting on Gee Dubya's latest Iraq speech. Right now there is the unmistakable smell of desperation. I could practically see the flop sweat rolling off his forehead as he knew what was at stake since he has lost most of his audience and his core group of supporters.
When I was in the Army a sergeant told me the story of why the chevrons that indicate the rank of sergeant are pointing up instead of down. "It's because the Army has never lost a major battle," he proclaimed. Nice story, but what about Little Big Horn? Anyway, not only is the U.S. Army having troubles fighting an enemy in Iraq who is gone like smoke, they will probably never be able to say they won this war, unless getting out with at least some respect from the rest of the world could be counted as winning.
Ciao for now.