Friday, May 05, 2006
Foot In Mouth Disease
Last week I was boarding my train in Grand Central with a co-worker named Abby. Abby had just come back from vacation and was thumbing through a pile of pictures she had picked up from a one-hour photo store.
“What are the pictures of?” I asked
“Jamaica,” she said. “We just came back.”
“We?” I said inquisitively. “Who are we?”
“Me and Gary,” she said, “You know, Gary…the ticket agent.”
“Oh yeah,” I said, “He’s that flamboyant gay guy...right?”
“I hope not,” she said, “He’s my fiancé.”
“Uh! Er! Um” I fumbled, not knowing what to say next. I tried to redeem myself, “I just assumed… he’s older and…Uh! He’s never been married and…Er!
Open mouth...Insert foot!
One afternoon, I was collecting tickets on my train when I noticed a bearded man placing the classic David Brubeck CD “Time Out” into his portable CD player. I wanted to show off my great celebrity knowledge, so I said, “David Brubeck… he’s dead…isn’t he?”
The bearded man took off his headphones and smiled. “No” he said, “He’s very much alive. I should know…He’s my dad.”
“Uh! Um! Er!” I didn’t know what to say. “I’m sorry,” I said, “I was thinking of Vince Guaraldi, ”(another great jazz pianist). "Yeah that's it, Vince is the dead one."
My favorite “put your foot in your mouth” story doesn’t involve me (that’s probably why it’s my favorite) It was told to me by my sister Sheila.
Sheila and her then-boyfriend Vinnie had a friend named Bill. Bill had made a fortune franchising restaurants in Connecticut, so he decided to retire early.He and his wife Sally moved to a palatial home somewhere in California. A couple of years after moving, they invited Sheila and Vinnie on an all expense paid vacation to visit them in their new home.
On a hot California summer day, Sheila and Vinnie arrived at Bill and Sally's home. Sally answered the door. The last time they had seen her she was model-thin and in great shape. The woman that now stood before them was 40 lbs over weight and had more chins than a Chinese phone book. They were shocked.
Sally said that Bill was out running some errands but he would be home soon.
“Since it’s so hot,” she said, “Why don’t you get into your bathing suits and hop in the pool. They thought that this was a wonderful idea. Sally served them drinks while they floated around on rafts in her luxurious kidney shaped in-ground pool. After awhile, Sally excused herself to go and change into her bathing suit. After she left, Sheila and Vinnie paddled their rafts next to each other.
“Do you believe how much weight she’s gained? Sheila asked in a hushed tone.
Vinnie mumbled back, “ I can’t believe it. She’s twice the size she used to be.”
A few minutes later Sally appeared poolside in a one-piece bathing suit. She was obviously self-conscious about her weight and began to pull at the spandex in order to conceal the rolls of fat that were now peaking out from their hiding spots.
Vinnie could sense she was uncomfortable and wanted to pay her a compliment. His mind wanted to say:
“Wow…look how tan you are!”
But his mouth said:
“Wow…look how fat you are …UH! ER! I mean TAN…Look how Tan you are!
It was too late. The damage was done.
Sheila quickly paddled away from Vinnie, trying to disassociate herself from him. She bit her lip in order to avoid bursting into laughter. She even tried to think of sad moments in her life, but she just couldn’t contain herself. Her body began to convulse, sending ripples along the pool’s surface. She finally decided to roll off her raft, so she could break down underwater.
It made for a very long vacation.