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The Blind Date

Here's a story for when you're feeling a little down and not quite sure of yourself. You will see you are not quite alone. This story is true and is reported just as it happened. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent; there was no innocence involved. Innocence is never the same thing as stupidity. But the results are nearly always the same.

A few houses down and across the street from us on Colonial Drive in Inkster, Michigan, lived a older childless couple. (Old to me as a 17 year old, they were probably in their mid 30's.) The man, who's name I can't remember, but I'll refer to him as Jim, because it's a lot easier than continually typing "the guy who lived a few doors down and across the street," liked to work on cars in his garage and also exercised with free-weights in his basement. Sometimes we neighborhood kids hung around his yard studying his car care skills. One summer he asked me if I'd like to work out with him, since a program with two participants made more sense than exercising solo. And I did for a few months or so, subsequently getting to know him a bit more. He was quite personable, possessed a solid frame, was somewhat balding on top, and, I discovered when we exercised, that his two front teeth were removable.

Jim told me during one particular work-out that he had a niece of about 16 or 17 years of age and that I should call her up and ask her to go out with me. Being the shy recluse I demurred. Why I should voluntarily subject an already fragile ego to such self immolation was a question to which I hardly need respond. He eventually prevailed upon me and at last I was emboldened enough to take her furnished number and ask for a date. She obviously had been advised by someone of my prospective proposal because she acceded with little hesitation. We would attend the Michigan State Fair. Her only request: she would bring a girlfriend if I could bring a friend that would accompany her. I agreed.

Counting all the friends I had at the time who would be eligible to employ for this occasion the list would probably contain only a handful of names. Maybe less. Definitely less! You would think that I would have had the comprehension to please my date and her friend by consciously select the best and brightest on that short list. At the time I was friends with David Brzezinski. A unique character, thin and towering physically above his peers, David hid his genius behind a persona that would make one wonder if anyone was at home. He was, if one bothered to get to know him, a very kind hearted soul, and of the utmost sensitivity, and was quite bright, something, as I say, he attempted to keep a closely guarded secret. I asked David if he would accompany us. Somewhat to my surprise he agreed.

The rest of the story is relatively short. We picked up my date at her house, and her girlfriend was already there, to save time. No, I can't remember their names and it makes no sense to create any at this point in the tale. David and I got out of the car as the girls exited the house. They took a look at the two of us (it bears repeating that the Haselhauf twins we weren't, thought they were fairly cute), and with barely an introduction, the girls got in back seat of the car. This caught us a bit off guard. But taking it in stride, not wanting to reveal any discomposure, we hopped in the car and on we drove to the Fair.

To make a short story even shorter, there was very little conversation heard in the car that afternoon among us, not on the 45 minute drive up, nor back, nor in between. The girls did chat amongst themselves occasionally, however even David and I could generate little discussion on any topic however trivial. Insert the phrase "stony silence" here. Small-talk was not an art I would acquire until many years later, pretty much like every other social skill. This is otherwise known as a "late bloomer." My school-mates had other descriptions for it and some had no qualms in mentioning them to my face. When we arrived at our destination and parked, the girls offered to explore the area and exhibits on their own and would we mind if we met up in an hour or so for the return trip home? What could we say? It was in neither of our characters to offend, so we acquiesced. David and I mopped around not doing anything in particular. The rest of the day passed in quite forgettable fashion though the details remain fuzzy or are lost, the mind being very capable to protect itself by jettisoning even the most personality damaging of events (though only after a prolonged period of time, unfortunately). I would, however, like to be able to point out that an event of such magnitude was a subject of deep and continuous reflection leading to great insight and a further understanding of the keys to social interaction between the sexes. But sadly, I can't. You will remember it has been said that boys mature slower than girls. I am, however, happy to report that 37 years later I am able to chuckle at the telling of this tale. Now, if you will excuse me, I have an appointment scheduled with my therapist.

The End

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