Please Behave…

 

It was thought to be one of the most important social events of the decade, although I had no idea why. The entire community had been talking about it since it was announced, yet I seemed to have absolutely no interest in attending.  400 guests were invited to watch Mark & Monica promise each other a lifetime of fidelity, love, and ignorance, at was proudly announced as a white wedding. This was not the first time I had been to such an affair. They all seemed pretty much the same; a crowded room filled with loud, obnoxious, and incredibly stupid people, incredibly inedible food, a relatively untalented group of musicians playing cover versions of songs I never much liked when played by the original artists, and Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm Title, parents of the not so lovely bride. As I stood in my room getting dressed, I couldn’t help but to wish for some kind of natural disaster, like an earthquake, or a hurricane perhaps. Or better yet, an alien invasion. Anything to prevent me from attending this spiritually vacuous event.

“I hope that you’ll behave yourself.”, my wife told me as she straightened my tie.

“I always do.”, I replied.

“No.”, she corrected me. “You don’t. Every time you open your mouth, you offend someone.”

“Really?”, I asked. “I try to offend them all.”

“I’m being serious!”, she snapped.

“I know.”, I said. “I’m just not sure why anyone should be offended by the truth.”

“Because sometimes it hurts their feeling.”, she explained.

“I don’t try to hurt people’s feelings.”, I said in my defense. “I just say what I think, and I am entitled to my opinion.”

“I know.”, she answered. “But why do you feel the need to express it so absolutely?”

“Because my opinion is absolute to me.”, I offered in explanation.

“I just want you try, tonight, for me.”, she added. “Just try to be a little less certain that you are always right, or at least try not to let everyone else know. And stay away from Barry Singer”

“Why?”, I inquired.

“Because I am asking you to.” She advised me. “The last time you saw him, you called him an asshole! In front of his daughter!”

“I did not.”, I responded. “I called him an ignorant ass. There is a difference. And besides, she knows that he’s an ass. Every one knows that he’s an ass.”

“Please.”, she asked again with those dark Moroccan eyes. “For me?’

“Alright.”, I told her. “I will try. For you. It won’t change how I think and feel, but I will make an effort to keep my opinion to myself.”

“Thank you.”, she said, as she squeezed my arm. “You look very handsome.”

“Thanks.”, I said. “I have a date with an insanely hot woman.” She blushed. I love it when she blushes.Her face turned a wonderful shade of crimson, and as she looks away, she emits a soft, little giggle that squeaks its way out of the corner of her mouth.

Well, I have rarely made any promises to my wife, but have kept the ones I did. I was determined to try and keep this one as well. I would try to keep my opinions to myself, and let those whose only point is located atop their heads, espouse their stupidity freely, and without consequence.

The venue was already near filled when we arrived. The country club selected for this wondrous  joining of two empty minds was regally decorated. The grounds were beautifully landscaped, and I could see the golf course from the large window in the reception hall.  “I should have brought my clubs.”, I whispered to my wife.

“Behave.”, she reminded me. “Go and talk to someone and try to have a good time.” I knew a good time was not going to be had. There was no one present that I really ever wanted to talk to. Talk about what? None of them had read a book since they were in High School. If only there was a lounge with a television, I could watch the hockey game. I grabbed myself a beer from the bar, and began to wander around the room.

“Hello, neighbor.”, I heard a voice call out. “I thought for sure you would find a reason not to show up.” I turned to see who was there. Barry Singer. The ignorant ass himself.

“Hello, Barry.” I said. “something I can do for you?”

“No no.”, he replied. “Just thought we’d catch up for a while.”

“Sorry, Barry.”, I informed him. “I’m on a mission.”

“What mission?”, he asked.

“Something I have to do for my wife.”, I told him., and I walked away. In a few minutes we were ushered in to another room to watch the spectacle of the ceremony. My wife and I found suitable seats close to the door, and we settled in. As the ceremony began, someone behind me leaned forward and began whispering in my ear. It was Barry Singer.  I had no idea what he was saying, but I recognized the voice. When I didn’t answer, his whisper became louder.

“What are you doing?”, my wife asked.

“I’m not doing anything.”, I told her. “Its Barry Singer behind us. I told you he’s an ass.” Barry continued to lean forward and try to engage me in a conversation, while my wife was growing visibly upset. The people in the row in front of us began to turn around and whisper ‘Shhh’, which only fueled my wife’s ire. As the ceremony continued, I tried my best to ignore the shit head who was sitting behind me, tormenting me solely by his existence, but I could feel myself beginning to lose the ability to ignore him. People in front continued to utter ‘Shhh’, and an elderly woman asked me, quite politely to stop ruining the wedding. My wife was fuming, her eyes grew dark, and the vein in her forehead, shaped like the letter ‘Y’, which only appears when her Spanish-Moroccan begins to boil, was beginning to take shape.

As the ceremony ended, we stood up to leave. “Somebody should take that man outside, tie him to a tree, and drop a squirrel down his pants.”, she said.

“I’m available.”, I told her.

“Don’t bother.”, she answered. “The squirrel would probably starve to death.” Without knowing it, my wife could be incredibly funny. We entered the reception area, and sat at our assigned table. Luckily, Barry Singer was not at our table. It didn’t take long however, but there he was, Barry Singer, standing over my shoulder, inquiring as to how much of a gift we were giving. I could the ‘Y’ vein start to appear. Barely visible at first, but then, there it was, upper case, and in bold font. “This can’t be good!”, I thought. And then it happened. Like a volcanic eruption, fast and furious, and unrelenting.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”, my wife asked Barry. “Do you have some sort of condition that prevents you from acting like a human being? You are, without a doubt the most insipid, irritating man I have ever met. I want you to go away. Now. Go away and stay away from us. Do you understand?” The others at our table sat stunned, with eyes glaring, and mouths opened. I, for one, had never been prouder of my wife. I put my hand on her leg, showing my approval for her crushing defeat of Barry Singer.

“Was it too much?”, she asked me, after apologizing to our table mates for her outburst.

“Not at all.”, I told her. “You were wonderful. But you forget to mention that he’s an ignorant ass.”

“I thought I did.”, she replied.

“No.”, I said. “But its okay. And thankfully, at least one of us can behave in public.”

“Yes.”, she answered. ” I suppose that I shouldn’t have asked you to change. Its who you are, and you’re usually right.”

“Its okay.”, I told her. “You did an exceptional job in my place.”

“Its a good thing that we take turns.”, she stated. “I’m not sure that people could handle both of us at the same time. I think we should go home.”

“Let’s go.”, I said.

“Are you hungry?”, she asked, as we walked to the car.

“I suppose I am.”, I told her.

“Do you feel like Chinese? My treat.”, she asked.

“Sounds like a plan.”, I replied.

“I’m going to have to borrow some money, though.”, she said.

“I already had that figured out.”, I told her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Night To Remember…

I will never forget that night.The crowd had been growing steadily for hours, despite the sweltering heat. There was indiscernible chanting emanating from the group stationed beside an abandoned Chevy Impala, as they lit fires in the trash cans that lined the overcrowded street. Placards were held high, swaying back and forth, enticing the local media to begin filming. A communal roar erupted as a stretch limousine with blacked out windows pulled up in front of the office tower that had long served to ignite the activists’ anger. As the vehicle came to a stop, the crowd silenced, as if time itself was standing still. Patiently waiting to see who the passenger was, the group who had been lighting the fires in garbage cans, unable to control their frustration, began a new chant. “Come on out”. “Come on out”, they sang in melodious tones.

“Who do you think is in there?”, my wife asked me.

“I don’t know.”, I replied.

“I think its the security guy.”, she stated.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.”, I answered.

“Well”, she continued, “Who else could it be?”

“Can you stop talking for a minute?”, I blurted out. “I can’t hear anything.”

“That’s because you’re going deaf.”, she told me.

“No.”, I corrected her, “Its because you won’t stop talking.”

A man in a dark suit emerged from the vehicle, carrying a black briefcase, and was led through the crowd who were trying to block the passage into the building, by 4 incredibly large men, who also wore dark suits, accessorized with mirrored sunglasses.

“I told you it was him.”, my wife exclaimed. “It was so obvious.”

“Proud of yourself, are you?”, I asked her.

“Not really.”, she replied. “It was so obvious.”

“Yes, You said that already.”, I reminded her. “Are we done now?”, I asked.

“Don’t you want to see how it ends?”. she queried.

“There’s no need.”, I told her. “You can just tell me everything that’s going to happen.”

“Well. that kind of takes the fun out of it, don’t you think?”, she asked.

“No.”, I told her. “The non stop talking does that for me.” I turned the television off, stood up, and took the dogs for a walk. And that was the last time my wife and I watched a movie together.

A Cabbagetown Horror Story

It is cold where I live when winter comes. The Arctic winds blow insane amounts of snow that seem to pierce your skin like bullets. It is often dangerous, if not impossible to manipulate the roadways, and the sidewalks with the amount of snow that piles up on them. It gets dark early. Usually by 4:30 or 5:00, the street lights come on, and you can see the snow flakes, still falling, glistening in their glow.

It was on such a cold, wintry night that I stopped in at The Cabbagetown pork3Diner, a small ordinary eatery. I was a semi regular there, and with my wife working late, I took advantage of the opportunity. I sat near the open kitchen, revelling in the additional heat emanating from the oven, and began the customary conversation with Nick, head cook, and manager. He talked about the political and economic nightmare that had engulfed his beloved Greece, and I merely nodded in agreement. When he stopped to take a breath, I placed my usual order, meatloaf dinner, preferably an end piece.

I ate my meal. All of it. Not a crumb left. The Cabbagetown Diner had, what I believe was the best damned meatloaf ever created. Nick spoke to me the entire time I was eating. He was returning to his homeland, to work in the family business, and was leaving in 2 days. All I could think about was who was going to cook my meatloaf? I had asked Nick for the recipe several times, but he refused to disclose the secret.

pork1I asked one more time, one final attempt to extract the information. When Nick revealed what he put into the meatloaf, I heard myself scream, but I wasn’t sure-was it only in my head, or did I really scream out loud? He said that he used a beef/pork mixture. Pork! I had never eaten pork. It was forbidden. It is forbidden. I felt sick, and I felt scared. Was I going to go to hell for this abomination? Do I have to gargle with salt water? Do I pray for forgiveness? The guilt, the shame enveloped me like a blanket. Could I ever tell my wife? I mean, I could never go back there. Ever! How do I explain it to my kids? I felt like I was going to throw up! ‘I think I need to go to emerg”, I heard myself say, “Or maybe I should call a Rabbi”.

pig1I have never fully recovered from that night. I have not spoken about it to anyone. Not my wife. Not my kids. Not a doctor, and not a Rabbi. I have never been back to The Cabbagetown Diner, and have walked on the other side of the street ever since. I continue to struggle with the trauma, but believe that I have made great strides in recovery. I am able to look at pigs on television, however I am still not able to attend petting zoos, or farms.