Unfit Father

Published on February 11th, 2015 | by Richard Black

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Meeting Laura for the Second Time and Celebrating 13 Years of My Wife’s Greatest Mistake

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Happy anniversary!

Thirteen years ago on February 3rd I met my wife for the second time. Three weeks later she had the good sense to move to Miami three and I, for my part, had the good sense to cling onto her like grim death.

The first time we met things did not go well and by “things” I mean me. A buddy of mine and I had shown up at a dingy little bar at two in the afternoon for a 6:00 PM show. Our reasons for arriving early were twofold; to procure a good pair of seats and tie on a nice buzz. We succeeded magnificently in our objectives and, in retrospect, perhaps a bit too well.In addition to good seats at the bar we were also ten feet away from the stage. We also had a decent buzz going by 3:30 which was a good two hours before the roadies even started thinking about hauling in sound equipment.

It’s safe to say that I was not sober by the time my future wife walked into the bar. Sober and I had parted ways about two hours prior to her appearance. By the time Laura arrived I was crocked and proceeded to bring up every topic of conversation a man should avoid when attempting to seduce or remain even marginally attractive go a woman.

If memory serves, and unfortunately despite the vast amount of alcohol I consumed it does, I spent the bulk of the time bitching about my job and my recently defunct relationship. There’s really nothing women enjoy hearing more about than one’s ex girlfriend unless it’s a study correlating IBS to heredity and a number of hurried lunges towards the facilities. Laura, ever the extrovert, stoically continued to engage me in conversation for the rest of the afternoon and I continued to bring up topics like the prevalence of forced circumcision in Africa, the treatment of syphilis throughout the ages, my affinity for science fiction and other subjects that have warmed women’s nether regions for years.

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The Face on Mars and mere mention of which will cause women to lose their panties.

Despite my engaging commentary on uncomfortable medical procedures, Star Trek, Star Wars and  hair metal during a brief stint in 1987 Laura showed every inkling of leaving the second the band had finished its set. If I were a normal person I would have asked for her phone number but I’m not and at that point any information Laura would have given me about herself  would have been, most likely, false. Instead I took a bolder approach and attempted to invite myself to the wedding she was attending the next day which worked about as well as one would expect. Laura politely declined which I understood but still felt a bit disappointed despite my massively inebriated state.

Seven months passed.

The crappy start up company I’d been working for had stopped paying regularly, the economy remained securely in the crapper limiting potential job opportunities, I was evicted from my apartment and found myself living, at the age of 27, with my mother. I was, in short, quite the catch.

For one reason or another I had been paid that week, it was the first in a series of financial convulsions, that signaled a long a protracted death for the company. Like any responsible adult I paid my bills in advance, bought a metric ton of ramen noodles to weather the next inevitable lean period and immediately sought other employment. I’m kidding of course. I went on a bender for a full weekend and found myself on one fateful night in February at a bar to watch the Superbowl.

I spent a good thirty minutes looking for my friends (these were the days before everyone over the age of six had a mobile phone) and was in the process of ordering a beer when a former coworker flagged me over and introduced me to my future wife. I smiled, shook Laura’s hand and mentioned that we’d already met.

“I don’t think so,” she said and laughed, “I work in sales and I,” she paused meaningfully, “remember everyone.”

“No we’ve met,” I said and motioned for the bartender, “the last time we were together you mentioned that your favorite line from the movie Snatch was the scene in which Bullet Tooth Tony walks up to the car Sol and Vinny are sitting in and says ‘never underestimate the predictability of stupidity’.”

Her jaw dropped and I spent the next three hours in feigned indifference to her presence. It was, and remains to this day, the smoothest thing I’ve ever done.

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I didn’t quite look like this guy but imagine him with a giant goatee, then without a giant goatee, sans scarf and white hat.

In Laura’s defense my appearance had changed quite a bit since we’d last met. I’d lost a few pounds and grown a goatee which doesn’t sound like it would make much of a difference in how I look but it really does. If I ever had the inclination for a life of crime I could grow, or shave my goatee, and disappear. I could literally show up at a family reunion and a good seventy percent of my family would wonder if I was someone’s new husband, probably Aunt Sherri who makes marriage something of an annual event.

Once the football game was over I asked Laura if I could buy her a drink and finally came clean about the first time we’d met. She laughed, I apologized, we talked for the next five hours and I knew that this was the woman with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I can’t say the same for Laura. She took some convincing but finally succumbed to my relentless romantic onslaught in much the same way  one’s body finally tolerates the company of a tapeworm.

Laura moved to Miami a month later. We had a long distance relationship for half a year, at the end of which we moved to Chicago and I put forth the ultimatum that we would either be engaged by the time our lease was up or consider other options. Eleven months later I bent down on one knee in the Manhattan Saks Faith Avenue store, the same one in which her father and mother met more than thirty years prior, and proposed. Laura accepted and we were married on April 17th 2004 but that, as always, is another story for another time.

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