Thursday, January 20, 2011

And Now, A Story from Laura's Dad

This is a snapshot from my evening. Dialogue was reproduced as accurately as possible in the minutes following the exchange. Nothing has been exaggerated or fabricated. Let us begin.

Dad walked into my room, mere moments ago.

"Paul," he called to my brother. "Put that on pause and come out here. I have to tell you a story."

"I can't," it was Paul's standard reply. "I'm in a group." So Paul and his WOW group slew various enemies, and Dad's story began.

"It was about a half hour before the funeral, and I was in my suit. I was sitting in my office, in my black chair. And Phil was in the doorway. And I raised my coffee mug to my lips, and Phil is my witness," he said.

It is my experience that all good stories start with someone claiming that another person is their witness. Stories that need witnesses are good, good stories.

"Suddenly, the handle just fell off of my coffee mug. The front fell off too. My coffee mug just broke in half, in the middle, and all the coffee fell out and landed on my lap!"

I was skeptical. "What kind of mug was this?"

"My regular coffee mug! The one I've used for years! The IBM mug!"

"But was it a travel mug?" I asked. "Was it that one with the cheap plastic loop hugging a metal cup?"

"It was my regular, ceramic mug. And the handle fell off and the front fell off and it dumped the coffee in my lap!* So I jumped up, and when I looked down, there was a puddle of coffee on the chair where I'd been sitting. And it soaked through my pants in the front and in the back. My pants and my underwear!"

Only my father. Dad spills things when he's tired. He's tired a lot. And he hates spilling. He hates it so much, he often roars like a lion, and Mom usually rushes him out of the room and cleans it up so he won't throw things. Ladies and gentleman, my father.

"So, Jean comes in, and she told me to put on my baptismal pants, so I ran up and changed. And they took my suit coat and pants and threw them in the dryer at Nancy's house. I had to sit on paper toweling, because the coffee was soaking through and making my jeans wet too. I'm out there meeting the family, in jeans and this shirt and tie! When my clothes were dry, Nancy brought them back, and I preached the entire sermon in damp underwear!"

Reeking, I might add, of coffee.

"The moral of this story," I told him. "Is to always keep a change of underwear in the office. No matter how kinky it might look if someone else finds it."


*To clarify: Without striking the mug on anything, it broke into three pieces. The front, the back, and the handle all divided, and the contents of the mug landed right on Dad's lap. He had, of course, just poured the coffee, so the mug was full. And likely, very hot.


  1. It is a very good lesson. One I think we can all learn from.