Too Good to be True

Too good to be true. Aren’t we all?

We’re all messy with scar tissue and various types of stupidity, so I’m not saying that I’m perfect or that I’m not a piece of work myself. I’m saying that what we are on paper—our professional and social resumes, our accolades and exploits—counts for less than how we respond to disappointment. The adhesive of our hopes and desires doesn’t stick well to other people, no matter how glamorous, sexy, or accomplished they may be.

I was a victim of my own expectations.

Her hair was a shiny black that it took on a bluish tint in the right light. She was Albert Pujols now and Willie Mays back when. She was way out of my league. (This was before I stopped believing in leagues.)

I met her at Fido where I sat down at a two-top next to her and pretended to read. Of course, I was having trouble comprehending more than a word at a time: an attractive woman sitting close by is a lot like someone holding a hand next to your face without touching it. You can pretend likes it’s not there, but that won’t do much good. Brothers pull this stunt to annoy their sisters: “I’m not touching you. You can’t tell mom because I’m not touching you.”

My friend Jim came up and talked to this Rapunzel in her High Tower of Beauty. He introduced me to Samantha. While they were talking, I pretended to go back to pretending to read, but I was really just eavesdropping.

Jim eventually left, and I got up to pour myself a glass of water. I offered to bring one to Samantha. She said yes please and thanked me. As I handed her the glass, I noticed that she was eyeing my Bob’s Candy Sticks that I’d snuck into the bill when my parents treated me to dinner at the Cracker Barrel. I know desire when I see it.

“Do you want some candy?” I asked.

She blushed.

“Sorry, yeah, I love candy. You don’t mind?” she said.

“Of course not,” I said, and thought, “Girl, for you I would fight Al Qaeda on a unicorn with only a copy of Bible as a weapon.”

We started talking.

I was in.


Fast-forward a couple of months. I ran into Samantha several more times at Fido and at a couple of Jump, Little Children shows (latterly know as Jump).

I asked her out, and she gave me her number. This was promising on multiple fronts: 1) she was gorgeous95, which meant that looking at her gave me a stomachache; 2) she was working a full-time job and going to school full-time, which meant she was smart, ambitious, and hard-working; and 3) she taught the five-year-olds at her church, which meant she was spiritual as crap.

This could be it.

When the big night arrived, I picked her up, and we drove to 3rd & Lindsley where a singer-songwriter we both enjoyed, Sondre Lerche, was playing.

This is where the ax would fall.

We found an empty table up on the mezzanine level, and a waitress brought us menus.

“Are you hungry?” I asked.

“Not really. You?”

“I’m not super hungry, but I could eat. What if we split an appetizer?”

“Sounds good,” she said, and we both read the different options: chips & salsa, loaded potato skins, chicken tenders, quesadillas, 3rd & Lindsley Buffalo Wings.

“Hey, are buffalo wings really made out of buffalo?” Samantha asked.

[Oh no. Seriously? Surely she was being facetious. Surely she saw that episode from Newlyweds with Jessica Simpson or the Pizza Hut commercial. Surely she was testing my own knowledge of pop culture and gullibility.]

“Oh,” I laugh. “You’ve seen that Pizza Hut commercial with Jessica Simpson?”

“No, what commercial?”


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