Cumberland Times-News

Columns

November 2, 2013

It was his beer, but she managed to spill it

As we noted last week, a man is likely to find himself in trouble with a woman at any given time, without his realizing it or even understanding why.

But then, there are times when it happens for reasons anybody can figure out. Here are two recent examples:

Example A: A Briton named Neil McArdle was scheduled to be married, but forgot to book a reservation for the place where it was supposed to happen. (I can hear some of you ladies out there, saying to yourselves, “That’s what she gets for leaving the man to do it.”)

Rather than admit to his failure, he did the next worse thing: He waited until the day of his wedding, then called in a bomb threat to the wedding hall.

According to The Associated Press, “His fiancee, Amy Williams, was left standing in the street in her wedding gown while the building was evacuated.”

McArdle was arrested the same day and ultimately sentenced to a year in jail by a judge who read him the riot act.

#”You did not say ‘We need to talk.’ ” said Judge Norman Wright. “You tried to weasel your way out by creating a bomb hoax so the wedding would not take place.”

At last report, the bride and groom were still together, and she was waiting for him to be released from the pokey.

I do not envy him, on the day that happens.

Example B: A German newlywed couple — names unreported — experienced a brief separation when the groom drove off and left his bride at a gas station on the way home from their honeymoon.

Two and a half hours passed before he noticed she wasn’t in their van and called police, who said she was waiting patiently for his return. I’ll bet she was.

His excuse was that she had been sleeping in the van, but got out without his knowing it to go to the toilet while he was gassing up.

I believe him, and here is why:

Some years ago, a funeral director who is a friend of mine told me about what happened to another funeral director, way back in the day.

The funeral director was called to Oldtown, so he responded in his personal automobile. Such things weren’t handled as formally as they are today. He called the fellow who usually assisted him at such times, picked him up, and off they went.

They collected the deceased and put him in the back seat of the funeral director’s car.

On the way back to Cumberland, the assistant said he could use a cup of coffee, so they stopped at a roadside eatery. The assistant went in, while the funeral director waited.

Presently, an acquaintance of the funeral director came up to the car and asked if he could hitch a ride back to Cumberland.

“Sure,” said the funeral director. “But my assistant is riding up front, so you’ll have to ride in the back seat with the corpse.”

The man said that wouldn’t be a problem. He’d been a soldier in World War II and the sight of dead bodies was nothing new to him.

He opened the back door, got in and sat down.

The assistant came out with his coffee, got into the shotgun seat, and off they went.

Apparently, he failed to notice they had picked up a rider who was still among the living.

Partway down the road, the passenger asked, “Do you guys mind if I smoke back here?”

That’s when the assistant opened the door and, while traveling at about 30 or 35 miles an hour, jumped out of the car.

Now, I am going to do something that will most likely get me into trouble with a woman. So be it.

My favorite restaurant is owned and operated by one of my favorite ex-girlfriends, which gives me a certain amount of leeway in dealing with her.

She and her late husband became two of my dearest and most beloved friends and, with their their two sons, are a part of my extended family.

My old love wound up marrying the right man, and the reason she’s my ex-girlfriend is easy to explain.

We struck up a friendship back in the day, and I asked her out. She was cuter than hell and, she told me some years later, so was I.

She says we went to dinner, I remember it being a high school basketball game. No matter.

We went afterward to The Famous North End Tavern, where I ordered a beer (which she promptly spilled), and she ordered a Pepsi.

“Don’t you drink?” I asked.

“No,” she said, “I’m only 17.”

I was 26 at the time. So much for that idea.

In my mind’s ear, I can still hear the sound of the cell door clanging shut.

Nowadays, when I want to get under her skin, I call her “Jailbait.” The waitresses and cooks get a big kick out of this. So did her late husband, and so do her sons.

Her restaurant was jam-packed one Sunday when I went in for lunch after church.

The waitresses were scrambling to get things done, but, as I have told them and my old girlfriend, having all the seats filled with hungry customers is GOOD.

 She was running the cash register when I went to pay my bill.

After exchanging our usual hug, I remarked about how busy it was that day and told her that my lunch was cold when I got it.

“Huh?” she harrumphed. “Did Barbara (the waitress) take it back?”

“No,” I said.

“Why not?” she roared.

“Because it was a chef’s salad,” I said, assuming my most innocent expression. (It’s a very good one, too; I learned early in life the value of not getting caught.)

I got exactly the reaction I was hoping for. The way she worded the part about what she was going to do with her foot was, I thought, particularly creative and entertaining.

She’ll get even with me one of these days, and I am looking forward to seeing how she does it.

Like a chef’s salad, revenge is best served cold.

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