It has been offered up, and rightly so, that introductions should introduce. I have introduced you to the truth, and offered only slight insights into me. And while the argument could be made that the truth is far more exciting than me, it is after all, my blog. And so perhaps a more traditional introduction is in order.
I am a professional opiner, unless by “professional” you understand “well paid” and by “opiner” you were hoping for a real word. But, while not a career, opining has certainly become my life-choice and lifestyle. I am older than some, younger than the rest, unless of course “older” implies some sort of expectation of “mature” when it goes resonating around your ear canal, and then even my 1 year-old nephew is older. For those of you afraid of change, I have not been doing what I do for long, and for those of you who embrace it, I have never done anything else. I am a man of many extremes, and the gray I do know, I know only as concurrent indivisible black and white. Though I know much, I know less, and the more I know, the more I am confronted by the weight of the unknown.
Ah, but you see, I have already failed in my introduction, for what insight into me you had hoped to find has blurred from impressionist to pointillism and is dangerously close to being a very confusing post modern cave painting. So rather than heaping more flaming cold on your head, perhaps we should attempt a less traditional introduction.
We will attempt an introduction through example, a insight into me through the eyes of a story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but since I feel I am the only innocent, and my name has already been changed, we’re free to continue.
A few months ago at a friend’s wedding, where I had been chosen to play the part of penguined usher, I was introduced to the wedding party as the story teller whose stories were worth the listen, provided of course you had never been subjected to one of my stories before.
Skip ahead to the wedding, where in the course of completing my ushing duties, I was privileged to escort a most impressive woman, with the height and air of an East Texas Pine, who requested a story before I could even ask whether her allegiance allied with the bride or the groom. Stunned by such a request from so elegant an angel, I could only reply with a laugh as I pointed down the aisle of the immense church, “I don’t know any stories that short.” Her laugh was as sweet as her response, “Then tell me one later.”
We fast forward to the end of the reception. The end mind you, not the beginning, or very early in the evening… the end. Long after the bride and groom had allowed their one track minds to leave the station of public civility, long after all but the most devoted beer drinkers and obsessive socializers had left, I caught her at the front entrance. At least, I caught her shrug and sideways glance as she offered a most humiliating rejection in payment for my neglected promise. I laughed as she walked past, “I suppose I did forget to give you your story.” “I suppose you did,” as she continued walking without even a backwards glance. “I suppose I could think of a story which would last to the cars”
At this she stopped, turned and invited over her mother and sister to share in the gift the groom assured everyone my story would be. She was likely in her early to mid twenties, and her clearly younger sister was probably years away from graduating college, assuming she had even graduated high school. Both were as beautiful as they were tall, and clearly inherited their charm and stature from their mother.
In what now will forever be remembered as one of my two most humiliating decisions of all time, I opted to tell the story of my cousin’s wedding, which I will retell for you here, as I told them.
Many moons ago, I went to Missouri for my cousin’s wedding.
At this the younger sister stopped me and asked, “How old are you, by the way?” A question I dread, for the answer is always met with sarcasm; it seems my age far outweighs my behavior. “28,” I replied, fully expecting this teenager and her barely older sister to offer some snide witticism in response. “Oh,” in that dripping over-sarcastic tone, the elder sister replied, “You’re a young’un.”
For those of you uncomfortable with central Texas slang, “young’un” means “young one”, although at the time I couldn’t reconcile how a woman clearly more than a few years younger than me could call me a young’un. Perhaps she heard me wrong. But as I stood there counting backwards trying to find a number phonetically similar she said, “I’m 32.” And before my mouth had completely waxed full, her sister said “I’m 24.”
I stood there for quite a bit longer than was comfortable, trying to regain a footing in a world that was so clearly trying to confound me with smoke and mirrors, mumbling vague incoherent mutterings, when I finally worked out a “I don’t remember where I was…” which was answered by the older sister in a less than amicable tone, “The beginning, you haven’t started yet”
Right, right… the beginning. This is going to be a long story.
I arrived in Missouri for my cousin’s wedding just as he was going out for pizza with a dozen or so of his friends. Out of gratitude for his generosity in allowing his cousin to tag along, I felt obliged to do the Texan thing and buy the first pitcher. Much to my dismay, his friends were apparently abstaining for the evening, and so I felt obliged to do the Texan thing and not let the pitcher go to waste. An hour or so later, another group of his friends showed up, and not wanting my earlier gluttony to stain my Texan pride, I bought another pitcher. However, once again I was the sole beneficiary of my benevolence.
I might be a Texan, but I’m still just a man, and any man would need to visit the facilities after 2 pitchers. I made my way down the hall to the little boy’s room (a painfully applicable little joke), turned on the light and shut the door, just as the light went out. I flipped the switch a few times, but to no avail. I figured I had two choices, either open the door and risk the potential embarrassment to steal some of the ambient light, or just remember. I chose to remember.
At this the younger sister stopped me, “Fuwjax (remember… I’m the innocent one), that’s my mom.” “Don’t worry,” I said, “I’ll keep it clean.”
So after a good minute or so, the light comes back on, and the toilet… it’s behind me. I figured I had two choices again, either turn, and make a rather inconvenient mess, or… well, just keep writing my name on the wall. So after I’d emptied two pitchers worth onto the floor I went back out to the restaurant just as everyone was leaving.
Now, these were good Texas women, and they’re trying hard not to laugh at my poor civic responsibility, but I continued.
We went out, kept drinking and finally made it back to my aunt’s house to crash for the night. I changed and crawled into bed.
The next morning I awoke to my mom pounding on the door of the bedroom my brother and I were sharing, “Fuwjax (ah, sweet innocence) your cousin is on the phone” I got up, threw on some jeans and answered the phone. “Hey, I’ll be there in 30 minutes, you’ll be ready?” “Yeah.” “You feeling okay?” “Yeah” “You sure?” “….Yeah” “Alright, later”
About this time I realize I’m not feeling too well, but it’s definitely not a hangover, something’s just… wrong. I shrug it off, grab a towel and head for the shower. I dropped my jeans…
“Fuwjax, that’s my mom!” The younger pleaded again. “I promise, I’ll keep it clean.”
So I dropped my jeans and I was wearing tighty whities. I remember distinctly the night before wearing boxers, but whatever, no matter. I dropped the pair of tighty whities, and I was wearing another pair of tighty whities.
“You were wearing 2 pairs of tighty whities?” The younger sister mustered before laughing. “No ma’am, I was wearing 3.” At this, both mom and the younger sister erupted in laughter, while the older sister looked straight at me without so much as a smile, “You wear tighty whities?”
I was about as crushed as I think I’ve ever been. I can handle being rejected by a beautiful woman for reneging on a promise. I can handle being dismissed by a woman 4 years my elder, but to have a woman mock your underwear… There are few things as personal and private as your underwear. It was as traumatic as those dreams where you’re standing naked in Times Square.
I would have like to have responded with something witty or insightful, something like “Boxers are sort of like black lingerie, you only wear ‘em because you want ‘em to be seen. Never trust a man who always wears boxers, he has the same issues as a woman who only wears black lingerie, he just doesn’t get paid as much.” but I didn’t. I responded with the only words that would come out of my mouth… “I’m sorry.” At this point, I just wanted out, and I finished the story in record time.
I finished my shower, and went back to the bed room. Sat down on the bed. It was soaking wet, head to toe. My mom walked in and told me to clean up the room. In the back corner of the room were the boxers from the night before. Soaked. Dripping.
I did what any man would do. <sniff, sniff> Didn’t smell like beer, didn’t smell like not-beer, didn’t smell like anything. What we figured happened was… wait, I forgot a part…
About this time my brother wakes up and my cousin comes walking in. My cousin says “You remember last night?” “Yeah, I came in and went straight to bed.”
My brother says, “No you didn’t, you came in, laid down, got right back up, and asked for some water. We brought you the water but you didn’t drink it. So we made you drink it. Then you asked for more water. But when you wouldn’t drink that, we made you drink it again. Then you tried to climb up in the top of the closet.”
“Yeah, you wanted to sleep in the top of the closet, but you couldn’t get up there so you went to sleep at the bottom of the closet”
“But I woke up in bed?”
We figured out that I had woken up, took a shower in my clothes, and then opened a brand new pack of tighty whities, and you know how they come all stuffed one inside the other? Well, I just pulled on the whole pack. But we didn’t figure this out until we’re standing in the back of the church 2 minutes before the wedding began. Those pictures are some of the greatest wedding pictures ever, all the groomsmen were smiling in every one.
At this point I wanted nothing more than to get back to my car and drive as fast and as far as possible. As we head back to the cars, we find that we’re parked next to each other. As I walk to my car, she comes back, “Thank you for the story.” “No thank you,” I replied, “it wouldn’t have been right if I didn’t get to tell a story all weekend.”
“And thank you for the mental image of you in tighty whities.”
I think if I’d have died right then, they could have fit the ashes of my pride inside a Cracker Jack box’s prize pouch. And to be honest, if they did that, I probably would have felt less childish.
So there you have it, the me-est introduction to me me could ever hope to give a not-me.
Was our anti-relationship really so anti-short? It didn’t seem that long, though that is much to be expected as anti-time does fly.
It is truly a shame that the only things really real about our anti-relationship were the eggs that came between us and the pain that filled the void the eggs left behind.
Ah, and the story… always the story.
You know, I anti-dated you for a year…or so, and you never shared a story as funny as that one. If I wasn’t laughing so hard, I’d probably be as upset at you for not sharing as the day I broke up with you.
Posted with : Story Time