'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)
RENEWED FAITH IN HUMANITY
Recently my faith in humanity was renewed. In October I went to a UConn football game at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The weather forecast called for heavy rains, which were due to arrive sometime after the 12 noon kickoff. I met up with some other guys from Torrington, and along with 40,000 other fans, we had a splendid tail-gate party in the parking lot. Trust me, nothing says “I love football” quite like wolfing down a half dozen semi-cooked hot dogs at 10:30 a.m. As Jed Clampett used to say, “Hmmm, doggies!”
Anyway, because of the weather forecast, when it was time to go into the stadium, I brought along my deluxe, high-tech, five-foot diameter golf umbrella, an expensive gift I received a few years ago. Before going through one of the stadium’s entrance gates, everyone first is required to pass a security check point, where guards inspect any bags you’re carrying, and require that you open up your jacket to show that you’re not smuggling in any prohibited items.
When it was my turn to go through the security check point, the guard immediately said, “No umbrellas.”
I said, “But it’s gonna rain.” He replied, “Sorry, that’s the rules. Bring it back to your car.”
Oh no, I thought. I had parked my car at the farthest reaches of the old Rentschler Airport runway, which I think was somewhere just over the Rhode Island state line. It took me a full 20 minutes to walk from my car to the stadium. If I walked back to my car, I wouldn’t return to the stadium until about halftime.
Then the guard said, “Or you can put it over there against the wall and pick it up after the game.” The wall he referred to was on the side of the entrance gate, and it was right by a major pedestrian sidewalk. Oh sure, I thought, if I put my fancy, expensive umbrella there, someone will steal it within five minutes.
I didn’t want to walk all the way back to my car, so I reluctantly set my fancy umbrella against the wall and said good-bye to it. As I entered the stadium, I knew with certainty I’d never see it again.
When the game ended over three hours later, I almost didn’t bother to look and see if the umbrella was still there. I knew it had been stolen. After all, there were 40,000 people at the ballgame, many of them rather drunk and boisterous. I knew someone saw that fancy, expensive umbrella and walked off with it.
As I exited the stadium, I glanced over at the wall, and to my complete surprise, my deluxe golf umbrella was still there! I ran over and gave it a big hug—possibly causing some people to wonder about my sanity. But I really wanted to hug all 40,000 spectators at the game. I wanted to say, “Thank you so much for renewing my faith in humanity! Thank you for not giving in to your baser instincts and stealing this expensive umbrella!”
The 20-minute walk to the furthest reaches of the parking lot was a joyful walk for me. I was so happy, knowing that there were still many honest and decent people left in the world. I felt a kinship with the huge throng of folks walking along with me.
And just when my sense of fellowship reached its peak, as I finally made it to the far end of the parking area, I discovered my car had been stolen.
(Editor’s note: Bill’s car was not really stolen. He just couldn’t think of an interesting way to end this column.)
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