Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If any of you happened to be in the Applebee’s here in Down the Jersey Shore the other night and saw a couple who looked like this, that was us.

Mr. Nearing and I are having a basically crappy winter. Nothing too out of the ordinary: The flu. Car troubles. Mr. N.’s employer suddenly declaring bankruptcy. Frozen pipes. Major bacterial infections. You know, stuff like that.

Awhile back, Mr. N. nicked himself shaving. You guys do that all the time, right? No big deal, right? A few days later, I commented that the gouge on Mr. N.’s jaw/neck looked like it was infected. Mr. N. gave me THE LOOK, and it was not the look of love. I stopped mid-sentence and said no more. The wound got nastier and nastier looking by the day.

Finally the Human Resources people at his company sent Mr. N. home, like a kid with chickenpox, and said he couldn’t come back until he had a note from his doctor. I said nothing.

Mr. N. now is taking three major antibiotics, has some kind of drain/tube in his neck, and is so bandaged up that he looks like somebody took a hatchet to him. He may need some minor plastic surgery. I have said nothing.

But one of the guys where Mr. N. works said something. “Dude, you look like you have a Kotex pad taped to your neck.”

Oh the humiliation.

As a treat, we headed to Applebee’s for dinner the other night. The dewpoint was between minus 6 and minus 10, and that does some pretty funky things to my fine Irish hair. Under those conditions, I can generate some significant static electricity. In the past, I have killed electronic devices, including a TeeVee and a cable box, with the touch of a single finger.

The waitress, averting her eyes from Mr. N.’s neck swaddling, got us seated and gave us the specials spiel as I shimmied out of my wool coat. That generated enough extra static that I looked like I was attached to a Van de Graaf generator. My hair turned into arcing spikes.

“Wow,” said the waitress. “That’s nothing,” I said, “watch this.” I gently placed three fingers on the lightbulb of the Tiffany-style lamp hanging over our table. There was a brief crackling sound and then the light bulb zapped out.


So if you were at an Applebee’s near the Jersey shore the other night and saw a guy with what looked like a Kotex pad taped to his neck and a woman with wild brown hair sitting at a table under a burned out bulb, that was us.

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