This is a true story, from January, 1999.
I'd recently moved from Houston to Portland, and I was on a first date. I mentioned to the woman that I was new to the area, and that I'd never been to the Pacific Ocean. This was small talk really. I was simply making conversation... talking about how much I enjoyed this part of the country, and the many things I looked forward to doing here someday... when all of a sudden, the woman who'd been ultra-shy thus far into the date takes initiative.
The next thing I knew, we were in her car and headed to the coast. Let's file that under "bad idea #1"
Keep in mind that I'd been in Oregon a few weeks at that point & didn't even know WHERE the coast was - excluding the basic "yo, it's over that way." The drive could have been ten minutes or ten hours... I had no clue. It turned out to be an hour and a half... which was an hour and 29 minutes longer than I needed to make an ass of myself.
Shortly after we left Portland, she said she has a bizarre family. OK. I've got to tell you... NOBODY in their right mind wants to go toe-to-toe with me on the age old battle of who's family is more half whacked because mine is fully whacked. I'll win. Not sometimes... I'll win every time. Am I proud of this? No. But there's no sense in living in denial. Some people have families filled with scientists... doctors... lawyers... I have a family of loons [other acceptable terms are: crackpots, whackjobs, nutcases - some fully certifiable by the way]. Acceptance is key.
Who's family is nuttier? The game goes like this: You tell me that your mom is addicted to Prozac, I say that some uncle I'd never met tried to kidnap me on the day of my father's funeral when I was 11. Your turn. Ahh, silence.
On this occasion, I didn't even pursue the debate. No sooner had she laid down the gauntlet than I found myself stopped dead in my tracks. Afraid I'd lose? Please. I started her off with an easy one: I told her that my grandmother was born in an Italian prison (true). And then SHE told ME that her brother borrowed her mother's car and got into an accident.
...He hit a cow.
Well now come on... that begged for an explanation.
I asked: "Why was he driving her car in a field?"
"Well where was he?"
"On the road someplace."
"And there was a cow?"
"Well didn't he say?"
"I don't know..."
"What do you mean?"
"Well he's always getting into trouble."
"But he hit a cow"
It dawned on me that I was starting to bug her. (gee, ya think?) And even worse, I was probably disparaging her brother too. No, the 'date' was not going well.
Tension mounts. Quick thinking! ("I know! Maybe it wasn't her brother's fault.")
Let's file that last statement under "bad idea #2"
"Maybe it wasn't his fault." (ohgod, I said it out loud)
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Well... maybe the cow was at fault." (as if rephrasing the statement made it better)
I then began to think up car-meets-cow scenarios in which the cow is to blame. I asked questions like:
- Was the cow tailing him?
- Did the cow fail to signal?
- Did the cow run a red light?
You'd think I'd have the common sense to shut the hell up. But no. Nooooo...
"Was the cow passing on the inside?"
"OH! I've got it! When two cars come to a 4 way stop at the same time, generally speaking, the car to the right has right of way... but there's really no protocol for a car and a cow at a four way stop. Maybe they both panicked... they both went for it, and wham!"
"Well is this even a right of way state?"
Realizing that's about as dumb a question as I could have asked, I decided to shut up.
She said "WHAT!?!"
"Well.... I'm just curious..."
"Was the cow at least insured?"
"Well I figure a cow probably has Farmers... or maybe State Farm... right?"
"No more cow jokes Rob."
Thank god we finally reached the coast. Seaside Oregon turned out to be an adorable little town. The date had taken a turn for the better! (she was talking to me again after all)
On the way home, she asked if I'd mind stopping by her mother's place so she could pick something up. There's no polite way for a guy to say no in a situation like that... so...
We entered her mother's house.
Of course her whole family was there. Extended family included. She'd previously mentioned the upcoming date to her mother, which meant the entire west coast had been informed. The sound of 'Ooh' filled the house as I walked in.
Her mother loomed... "How was your dayyyyte?" (hello! I'm standing RIGHT HERE)
She replied: "He was making cow jokes." (again - I'M - RIGHT - HERE)
The crowd of family members turned to look at me. "Cow jokes?" someone asked, and it dawned on me that they might think I was referring to her.
I did what I had to do.
"Well, she told me that your son borrowed your car and he hit a cow."
People giggled as if they thought that was funny... because it really was funny... Then there was a long silence... so...
File what happened next under "Bad Idea #3"
I proceeded to tell the entire story from the beginning. All of it. These people were turning the most amazing shades of pink, red and purple. They were laughing, they were howling... And the most amazing thing was that my date was laughing too. Well looky there, I made her smile after all.
She's a good friend to this very day, and she hates when I tell this story - but it's toooooo funny not to tell.
Is this even a right of way state! That's hilarious. I'd have kicked your ass, but man that's a good story.::::: | October 13, 2006 11:06 AM