'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
SOCIAL PLANNING NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
For the past six months I’ve been trying to organize a little dinner get-together with a couple of old high school friends and their wives. So far nothing has been officially scheduled, and we’re starting to wonder if we’ll ever get around to meeting before one of us dies of old age. (I’m putting my money on Pete as the first one to go, although I understand Ross has already placed a sizeable wager on me.)
I mean, it’s just three couples, all living in the same state, attempting to select a particular Friday or Saturday night and meet at a restaurant. How hard is that? And yet, the only thing my two friends and I seem capable of doing is firing emails back and forth with suggested dates and possible locations, while no firm plan ever materializes.
I hate to say this, but I think the problem is our wives. Nothing personal, girls, but over the years you have trained your husbands NEVER to make specific social plans without first getting your approval. In our email messages, we three guys keep tossing out vague dates and locations, but none of us has the guts simply to take charge and declare: THIS time, on THIS day, at THIS place—be there!
The reason we have shown such a lack of courage is simple. We enjoy being alive. None of us wishes to be pummeled to death with a DayTimer personal appointment book, which would mean the last words we ever heard on earth would be, “I told you ten times—WHACK!—we have to go—WHACK!—to my cousin’s wedding—WHACK!—on that date!”
OK, obviously I exaggerate. None of our darling wives would ever pummel us with their DayTimer calendar books, since some pages could be damaged in the process and then how would they know to attend, for example, a niece’s first communion at 10 a.m. on May 14th, 2011?
Earlier this summer it seemed that we were close to selecting an acceptable date. July 19th looked like a good possibility. But by the time we were done passing the information back and forth through proper channels for final coordination and approval, it was already mid-September. So we’re back to square one.
It wasn’t always this way. I remember very distinctly, back when I was in my 20s, scheduling social events was quite simple. I would phone a friend at his home and say, “I have beer in my fridge, the Giants’ game is about to begin, so why are you still on the other end of the phone?”
Then I would hear the front door open, and my friend would yell, “I’m NOT on the other end of the phone,” to which I would reply, “Hey, not bad, considering you live 12 miles away.”
To be fair, it’s actually not our wives’ fault. They just happen to be convenient scapegoats because they’re the only ones responsible enough to take charge of the official family calendar. The real culprits are the children. Between soccer practices, dance lessons, class trips, and a thousand other activities, there are no open dates on anyone’s family calendar until early April in the year 2017.
So if we’re ever going to have a nice dinner get-together, I think we need to focus on the dinner and forget about the get-together. On the same evening we will order pizza to be delivered to our respective homes, and then we’ll set up a conference call with our cell phones and have a nice chat during dinner.
Now all we have to do is get our wives to approve the exact time and day.
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