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Location: marengo, il, United States

Friday, July 07, 2006

Foot to the Mouth

God certainly had dynamics in mind by telling man to go forth and subdue this huge Earth of his. We humans have been at the job ever since, and every day provides us new details to write home about.

An able coworker of mine, Jules Teasley, altered his role on one noteworthy summer day by becoming a close and personal friend of mine. He accomplished this feat in what I thought was a most amazing manner. First, the man politely called me aside, and then in his calm and even-tempered voice, he proceeded to tell of a cruel and ugly fact about me.

“You have absolutely no tact.”

I remember standing in front of him being shocked at his serene charge, but I do not recall exactly how I responded at the time. I doubt that I understood the full meaning of the word, it being of such a petty size. However, Jules had certainly presented me with an honest revelation, and he gave me a truth that I live with still.

I girl I once knew replied to my own observation about her mental state with a sharp laugh.

“That is one of my seventy-six major character flaws.”

I admired her wit, so the next chance that came along, I experimented with mine. A casual acquaintance told me I was crazy. I replied with a laugh, so is your mother. The details of the confrontation that took place next cannot ever be put down on paper with any accuracy.

I might never get it right, I think, so I wonder how did we ever manage to survive here this long?

I decided at one point in my life to enroll in a university of some standing. The stimulation they offered there might cure my ills, I hoped. Several weeks into my studies, I found myself feeling smug and a lot less uncomfortable with my ignorance. I had a fine car. I had my books. I had me a new future waiting.

On one grand day I sat with others at a long table inside a noisy campus cafeteria. It was a global mix of humanity, filled with urbane and witty conversations. It was an exciting place to be, as it was filled with sophisticated ideas and exotic voices and foreign faces and odd clothing. I was ecstatic and I was even encouraged to join in the talks.

Soon the group stood and departed our area, leaving me alone with the last woman seated. Her dark eyes, I had noted already, were shaped rather nicely. Her darker skin intrigued me and took over my imagination. Her lilting voice had by now burrowed its way deep inside my brain, and so my heart waited in anticipation as I leaned forward just so slightly. I wanted nothing more than a chance to engage this delightfully-beautiful creature in a pleasant conversation, so I opened my mouth.

“How long have you been living in this country?”

She then looked into my soul with those mysterious, almond-shaped eyes, and she spoke back precisely.

“Wan year.”

“Wow! You sure did learn to speak English fast.”

Texas is one of the hottest places you could ever find on God’s green Earth. I don’t care what those Australians claim; Dallas or Ft. Worth are both insufferable places, and unfit. But I was sure snow was about to rain down on us all after her hasty departure, which would immediately fall after her frosted reply.

“EFF ree body in AH free kah speak EEN glish.”

5 Comments:

Blogger Gone Away said...

The expression "LOL" is overused these days and rarely is it true. It is a fact, however, that both of us did indeed laugh out loud at several points in your story, and especially at your oh-so-tactful "And so is your mother".

But tact is not a Harry thing, I think. We like the Harry who says what he thinks and then takes the consequences. I mean, with tact you'd be like... oh dear... you'd be ME!

You're just perfect as you are, Harry - stay as you are forever.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

You know, I think that your tact or lack there of is one of my favorite things about you... And yes, I did laugh at several points as well... Dad I still think you are greatness! Lube you lots!

2:18 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Sheesh. Make me weep, will ya?

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

I liked the irony of the fellow tactlessly telling you in a blunt manner that you have no tact.

I did laugh out loud but did not roll on the floor as it would have been unseemly and you never know what the kids have spilled down there.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

I am leaving the reason why Jules spoke bluntly unsaid, for literary effect. (yeahright, Way. What are you hiding in that little halversack?) But if you knew what untold history had transpired, you would vote for him in a heartbeat.

I do relate to your floor, Ned. I have had to devise straps here that permit me to ROCL, which I do a lot.

1:06 PM  

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