I started my first "real job" when I was 19 (I mean one that didn't require me asking a customer if they wanted their receipt, what kind of starch they wanted with their meal or wiping the nose of a 3-footer). I ended up staying at this job until just before my 29th birthday - a pretty good run if I do say so myself. When you work with the same people for that many years and you actually like them, they become like a second family. Some of them though, you grow to love as your family. Given my youth when I began, a few of them took me under their wing - as a kid sister, a favorite niece or as in the case with Mary Mc, as a daughter.
About halfway through my employment, my friend Mare was experiencing probably her worst bad day that I had ever witnessed. She wasn't the same Mare. See, even on her bad days she still had a sense of humor about her (albeit dark, which is just one of the reasons why I love her) and at a minimum, a certain amount of fight in her. But for whatever reason that day, the humor was gone and the fight noticeably absent. She was so despondent that I so wished that I could do something, anything to make her feel better. I knew that a good listener could be helpful in certain situations, or maybe taking her out for a glass of wine to talk it over could be a benefit, but deep down I knew that the situation was so dire that neither would have done much. I knew then what needed to be done....it was time to bring out the big guns...
My. Most. Embarrassing. Story.
Before setting up the story, I first made her promise on both her DEAD PARENTS not to tell anyone what she was about to hear and that this story was strictly for medicinal purposes only. My own personal brand of Prozac. That I had never shared this with ANYONE. That I was THAT worried about her that I would share such a story.
To set the stage, it was winter 1991, I was 18 years old and away at college. At this point in my life, I was still very shy, easily embarrassed, and my love life - well, I had not much experience there (to wit: one boyfriend for all of 4 weeks during the Fall). My next door dormmate, Tonya had become my best friend almost the minute I moved onto campus. When she met her older boyfriend Harry that semester, she would invite me to hang out with them. Soon, I would meet Harry's roommate, a guy closer to our age, Ron and the four of us would all hang out together. Ron and I were never "a couple" other than for the fact that we were two people who kept each other company while Tonya and Harry "disappeared". I can't speak for Ron, but I felt as though there was always this sizing of each other up going on between us. Were we to go out alone sometime? Did we not try that because we were to shy or chicken shit to go for it? Or were we just in the infamous "friend zone". Given the unsureness of our footing, coupled with my lack of experience in the romance department, I never knew what, if any, signals I was getting. So as a result, I cared what he thought of me and subsequently was always trying to "be cool" around him - whatever the hell that meant.
One night the four of us were hanging out and decided to go to an off campus party. Off we went, headed for Harry's truck with a case of beer. For those who have never been in a truck before, fitting 4 grown adults in a front seat with a case of beer is a challenge. There may even have been a stick shift. Yeah, it was cozy to say the least. As we were piling in, I was one of the first in with the case of beer situated the long-way between my feet as to make more room for us. Once all in, it was requested that I'd move over. And then....oh Dear Lord, ...and then.... I said it...
"I can't. I have the Busch between my legs."
In my head milliseconds after that : "No....no, no... I did NOT just say that...Oh, Please God, Please God, make it so they didn't just hear me say that. Please God...I will...I will got to church every Sunday for the next.....for the next good bit (note: you never want to be too specific with The Lord..for He will hold you to it and will call you out when you are full of shit- so it's my finding that it's best to be as general as possible) Lord, I will, uh, do my schoolwork, if for You will please erase those words from these here people's minds. Or at least make them that stupid that they don't grasp the concept that is the double entendre. Uh, thank You, good day, Sir and Amen."
He must have known that wouldn't have held up my end of the bargain because..
Five,... fo (awkward silence) ur, ..thre....
The laughter. It was deafening.
I think this is when utter mortification set in.. Normally one to be quick on my toes for a clever response, I had nothing. Absolutely nothing. My mind was a complete blank.
When I finally came to, all I could muster was a weak, "I ...I meant the BEER, the name of the BEER...is.. uh, YOU GUYS,.....the BEER...that's what's..."
You cannot understand how absurd giving an explanation was at that point. Apparently all of them were well versed in the concept that is the double entendre.
As mortifying as that experience was for that shy, easily embarrassed 18 year old girl, little did I know how well it would serve me later. While it didn't solve my dear friend Mary's problems that afternoon, it did give her the biggest laugh I'd ever heard.
And it was fucking worth it.