Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Firefighter Funny

A few years ago, Jay, who is a Fire Captain, was assigned to a different fire station. Because I am such a good wife (and not at all because I was stuck at home, bored), I called the station one evening to investigate his new crew. 

The conversation went like this:

Young, yawning Firefighter (who shall remain unidentified): Fire Station. Can I help you?

Me (in a superficial drawl): Hi. Um, there's like this guy at your station who's like really cute. He's like the Captain or something. Um, he's tall with like brownish-blond hair and killer dimples. He's like really, really hot. So, um, do you think he'd go out with me?

(Long, long pause.)

Firefighter: Uh, just a minute.

Jay: Captain Nastase.

Me (in my normal voice): Put. That. Firefighter. Back. On. The. Phone.

I could hear Jay laughing as he handed the phone back because he knew the kid was in trouble.

Firefighter (thrown by the call and confused by Jay's reaction): Uh, yeah?

Me (archly): For all you know, some hussy is calling the station to see if your married Captain will go out with her, and you put that call through?

Firefighter: Oh. (He really meant "Uh oh.") Um, I'm sorry about that. But...but I was caught off guard and--

Me (with a gasp of mock horror):  You put that call through? You're supposed to be a 'band of brothers.' You're supposed to watch out for each other. 

Firefighter (madly backpedaling): Yeah, I shouldn't have done that. But...but I was in the middle of--

Me: You're supposed to have your Captain's back!

Firefighter: Yes, that was bad. Really bad. But...but--

Me (firmly): The correct response is, 'Sorry, but our Captain is married. Unless you're his wife, he will never go out with you.' Then you hang up. Got it? 

Firefighter (still sweating): Yes, ma'am. I totally agree, ma'am. 

Me (mollified): I trust this won't happen again.

He: No, ma'am. I mean, yes, ma'am. I mean, it won't happen again, ma'am.

When Jay took the phone back, he was laughing so hard he could hardly breathe. He might have me repeat that call every time a new guy comes to his station.

Verse of the day: (Luke 11:14b) "Lead us not into temptation..."

Jay and one of his recent crews. They're tough, but I can make them prespire faster than a fire.

Hey, their lives depend on their ability to think quickly, so anything I do to keep them on their toes is a public service. A civic duty. That's right, y'all, I prank call them because I care.

To read how I pranked our Pastor (which is even worse), click here

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Just Manflu

I once made the mistake of commenting that a certain man seemed to think he was near death when he "only had a cold." A friend (the insightful Robin Peel) quickly corrected me. He said that men are "either well or are flattened by a particularly nasty man-flu." Man-flu, he gravely informed me, covered all male ailments, and the depths of its insidious suffering is incomprehensible to women.

Be that as it may, I learned a few things from years of observing men during their extremely rare bouts of illness.

When a woman is unwell, she forces herself to shower (after making breakfast for the family), lifts her gland-swollen arms to brush and style her hair, gargles, painstakingly applies make-up to hide her pallid complexion, dresses in clean clothes, matches her shoes to her outfit (just in case she sees someone she knows in the waiting room), and pastes on a brave smile. 

The doctor tells her that she looks great, probably has a cold, and to come back in a week if it doesn't get better.

If a man is sick enough to need medical attention, he crawls into whatever clothing he finds crumpled on the floor. He doesn't shower, shave, or brush his teeth. He limps into the doctor's office, groaning. If he bumps into someone he knows, he's gratified to hear, "You look horrible!" He's ushered into the examination room (ahead of all the well-groomed women), gently placed on the table with a soft pillow and heated blanket, and given a battery of tests and chest x-rays. 

To find out that he indeed only has a cold. Ahem, I mean, "the vicious and dreadful man-flu."

I'm humble enough to learn from others, so now when I'm in need of medical help, I let my appearance match how I feel.

Instead of brushing my hair, I let it stand on end.

Instead of carefully applying my make-up, I slap it on. If I get blush on my chin or smear eyeliner across my cheek, all the better to emphasize my peaked condition.

Instead of dressing carefully, I pull leggings on under my sweat-soaked pajama top, put on mismatched socks, and attach a pair of Jay's slippers to my feet with duct tape.

When the nurse offers me a chair in the examination room, I instead crawl onto the table and sprawl there like a squashed bug, moaning. 

When the doctor arrives, I open one eye and croak. I don't have to tell him how badly I feel; one glimpse of me sends him hollering for oxygen and a defibrillator. 

Verse of the Day: (Luke 5:31) "Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.'"

Doctor? Is that you?

P.S. Robin photographs churches in the beautiful English countryside. You can find his unusual, stunning, and funny (like the gargoyle, made by an underpaid stonemason, who moons the village) photos by clicking here. My favorite photo is the wooden cross at Peakirk, probably made by a child for a pet. It always tugs at my heart.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fun, In Theory.

(Names and a few details have been edited for the sake of those involved. And "Jim" was not Jay, for those who will wonder.)

I went on an awful date in college. Nothing was wrong with the guy; I even felt bad for him because he was quite sweet. And he had a great idea for a memorable first date.

In theory.

It was August, the beginning of the Fall Semester. My friend, Laurel, and her boyfriend, Russ, picked me up from the airport. On the way to campus, Russ told me that he and his friend, Jim, wanted to take Laurel and me on a double date that evening. I was hot and tired from traveling all day, but he was so excited about a surprise they'd planned that I rallied my strength and agreed. We dropped off my luggage and collected Jim.

The guys' original plan was to take Laurel and me for a sunset picnic at a pretty, little river they'd found the previous spring. There was a tiny island in the middle where they could build a bonfire at nightfall and make S'mores for us to eat under the starlight. 

It was a romantic idea.

In theory.  

In reality, we drove (as the air-conditioner struggled) and drove (while night fell) and drove (as the conversation lagged) and drove (while I fought to stay awake) and drove until we finally turned off-road, crossed a field, and came to a bumpy stop at the edge of a copse of trees. 

The guys helped us out of the car like gentlemen. In the failing light, we watched them open the car's trunk to proudly hand us roses that they'd stashed. Giving a girl a rose on a first date is a sweet idea.

In theory.

In reality, roses don't do well in 100 degree weather. 

Without water. 

In a trunk. 

They emerged from their stifling coffin quite dead.

We entered the woods. A nighttime stroll on a pleasant path through a moonlit forest is a lovely idea.

In theory.

We could hardly see the trail in the dark. Especially since the flashlight batteries quickly died. The vegetation was so overgrown that with each step we blindly fought hostile limbs, treacherous vines, and grasping thorns.

"It wasn't like this in the spring," the boys protested, trying to keep branches from whipping us in the face. "It was really nice." Apparently, the friendly flora of May turns into angry, barbed undergrowth by August.

We burst from the forest, panting, scraped, and bleeding, at the edge of the shallow river. Taking us to a cool stream on a stifling, summer evening was a splendid idea.

In theory.

I'm sure the river was refreshing when, filled by gentle spring rains, it flowed freely. But by the end of the summer, the water was rather still. 

And when I say "still," I mean "stagnant." 

Stagnant and stinky.





You get the picture.

The boys were undaunted. They loaded us on their backs and waded through the odoriferous water to deposit us on the little sandbar island. Which was a nice idea. 

In theory.

There was nowhere to sit except on the barren, moist ground. Which was covered in a black blanket of hungry mosquitoes. I was actually grateful for the smelly sand and packed the damp grit on my bare calves and sandaled feet, desperate for anything to discourage the blood-sucking insect hoard.

Since we'd already missed the sunset, the guys decided to light the bonfire. Rallying around a cheerful fire was a great idea.

In theory.

Did I mention that it was over 100 degrees and muggy? We didn't exactly need additional warmth. The damp wood didn't burn well, but we were thankful that the dense cloud of smoke in which we sat, coughing and hacking, slowed the feasting mosquitoes down a mite (pun intended). 

At least everyone looks good in the soft glow of firelight.

In theory.

When our eyes adjusted, we were treated to the sight of each other mottled with bites, scratched and bleeding, hair frowsy from the humidity, dirty, and pouring sweat like coal-shovelers.

The boys looked less confident at this point, but neither wanted to admit defeat. They thought they could salvage the date by introducing food. S'mores are the perfect snack to eat when sitting around a bonfire.

In theory.

The chocolate bars were melted, the Graham crackers mushy, and the marshmallows congealed into one gluey blob. The guys somehow managed to drip, squish, and mix the goo and served it on napkins. Laurel and I gamely ate the sloppy mess, pretending that the bits of napkin inexorably affixed to the sticky S'mores were actually dietary fiber.

Fortunately, our dates remembered to bring something to drink. After eating all that sugar and madly perspiring for two hours (not to mention blood loss from the mosquitoes), we were desperate for fluids. So, drinks were a perfect idea.

In theory.

They'd brought only one bottle of sparkling grape juice. Which was hot, sugary, and held only enough juice for two people.

If they were really small. 

And not very thirsty. 

With no cups, we swigged drops of the precious liquid directly from the bottle. When it was gone, I would have wept but I couldn't spare the moisture for tears.

At that point, the boys (God bless them) finally gave up. They carried us across the rancid water, helped us fight our way through the hostile wood, and found the car in the dark by smashing into it. 

I breathed a fervent prayer of thanks because I was worried we'd spend the rest of the night stumbling through the field until we passed out from heat exhaustion, only waking in the morning to lick dew off the grass. 

We crawled into the car and headed home.

We drove (blinking smoke-stung eyes) and drove (with swamp-stench clinging to our sweaty skin) and drove (covered in reeking, damp sand) and drove (as I tried not to scratch my forty-plus mosquito bites) and drove (exhausted into silence) and drove until we finally made it back to civilization. 

I wanted to kiss the pavement. 

Russ and Jim walked us to the door to say a glum goodbye. Laurel and I were gracious enough to thank them for the date.

Because it was a sweet idea. 

In theory.

Verse of the day:  (I Thessalonians 5:16-18) "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances..."