Friday, February 16th, 2007
A few years ago, my family had a get together at Eric and Jill’s place. Gina’s Chad, my son-in-law, had his friend and business partner Justin come as his guest. I had never met Justin. I liked Justin the instant I met him.
At the party, Gina was telling funny stories about a visit with her Grandpa. Grandpa was living at an Alzheimer’s Care facility. One of the women who also was a patient at the facility, had a bad habit of grabbing the butt of people who came to visit. Gina warned Chad to watch out for this woman.
During the visit, Chad nervously kept an eye out for the woman. He managed to escape her clutches. However, when Eric and Jill and let down their defenses to say goodbye to Grandpa, the woman struck and got them both.
At the party, we all laughed at the story and made up enhancements to try to embarrass Eric. Unfortunately for us, Eric is very hard to embarrass.
As I began to leave, I gave everyone a hug. As I hugged Justin , I reached down and gave his butt a squeeze. He jumped and then he laughed.
That night on the way home, I fell into terrible self incrimination. I said to myself, “Does the word restraint have any meaning in your life?” I felt very foolish. After all, I had just met Justin.
It worked out OK, because the butt grabbing became a family story told repeatably by everyone including Justin. I am still consistently teased about the incident.
Another story involves my car, which is a 1982 Volvo. I was driving home from a meeting and decided to stop at a Big Lots which was on my way home. I drove a little past the store intending to make a U-turn so I could park in the Big Lots parking lot.
As I started to make the U-turn, I noticed there was a parking space right at the beginning of the side street. I decided to park there instead.
While I was shopping my mind did a flip. I forgot my car was on the street and became convinced I had parked the car in the lot. When I left the store, I could not find my car. I meticulously searched the parking lot without success. I thought someone had stolen my car.
I was angry. Why would someone steal a car that old? It seemed like driving an old car should exempt me from that kind of problem. I then went to an outdoor phone and called the police.
They took the report. One of the police officers asked me if I had been drinking. I said, “No I had not”. They explained that people stole old cars because they were so easy to steal. One of the officers said,” For some of these guys, a key would slow them down when the car is that old.” I rode the bus home.
The next day I rode my bike to another meeting. At the meeting, I shared that my car had been stolen. I said, ” It is fun to ride my bike to a meeting when I choose to do so. It is not near so much fun when you bicycle because you don’t have a choice.” Everyone was most sympathetic.
After the meeting I decided to go by the Big Lots parking lot in order to look for my car one more time. I could not find it.
I continued on my bike ride home. In a half a block, my route took me by the side street where I had left my car. I was shocked when I saw the car. I thought,” Look at that. They brought my car back”!
At that point I remembered the truth. The car was right where I had left it the day before. I was so embarrassed. I instantly thought, “I’m going to move the car, then tell the police I had found it.”
After a few seconds, it no longer seemed like a good idea to lie to the police. I swallowed my pride and called the them and told them the truth. When the officers came, they were very nice and did the paperwork to end the case.
After they left I looked over toward the Big Lots parking lot. When I did, I saw that I could have easily seen the car from the public phone where I had phoned the police. All I would have had to do was to lift my eyes up just a little bit.
The following week, I went back to the same meeting where I had shared that my car had been stolen. I said,”About my stolen car, it is more like my lost car” and told the story. There was uproarious laughter.
At the next group party, our 11 year old friend Carlos, rushed to the door when I rang the doorbell. He breathlessly said, “Hey George, are you sure you remember where you parked your car?”
The last of these stories also involves Gina and Chad. They came to my 12 Step meeting Christmas party in order to meet some of my friends. It was a delightful time for me.
Gina was on the left end of the couch, Chad was in the middle, and I was sitting at the right end. My arm was on the back of the couch behind Chad.
One of my friends said, “George, Gina sure does not look like you.”
I gave my standard reply. ” That validates prayer.”
Chad said, ” She does look like the milkman though.”
I meant to tap Chad lightly on the back of his head. Instead, I hit him hard enough to bounce his chin off his chest. Gina saw the whole thing and started laughing hysterically Chad just looked shocked. I was horrified.
I apologized profusely, then emailed another apology the next day. Chad thought the whole thing was funny.
A few months later I received the following comment on this website. The comment was from Chad’s Mom.
It was good to see you again on my trip to California. Chad showed me your website while I was out there to show me what Blogs are all about. Your Eating Healthy Journal caught my attention as I have been depressed about my own extra weight recently. I was surprised to read that you have carried so much shame around with you for so much of your life. I have met you several times while visiting your daughter & my son but your weight or eating habits was something I never noticed about you. You have so much good stuff going on with you that I can’t understand how you would think anyone would be judging you on something so superficial. You are one of the most caring, giving persons I have ever met and my son is so lucky to have you in his life. You have also raised a wonderful daughter and I am so lucky to have her in my life. I guess we are both very blessed.
I was so touched by this comment that I forwarded it to Chad and Gina. Here is Chad’s e-mail back to me in response.
“That is a great comment. I guess you made a good impression. I take it you didn’t grab her butt, smack her in the back of the head, or lose her car. Chad.”