by Dan Verner
This past week, I was coming out of Southern States one morning about 10:30, right behind a couple who looked to be roughly my age. The woman held what looked like a bottle of beer in her hand. She smiled at me somewhat sheepishly, and I took this to mean that because she was drinking early, she knew she had a drinking problem, and was embarrassed to be caught out in public with the evidence.
I don’t like to make anyone feel uncomfortable, especially before noon, so I dug deep into my store of insightful philosophical observations about choice and individuality, and came up with this:
“Well,” I said, “it’s five o’clock somewhere. Or at least that’s what I hear.”
You’d think at my age I would have learned not to jump to conclusions. Doing so can put anyone in an awkward situation. I learned early not to ask even an obviously pregnant lady when she is due. I did this once and that was more than enough. The lady in question replied quietly, “I’m not pregnant. I’m just fat.”
There are some awkward situations for which there are no right words, no adequate apology and no going back. The sentence I spoke lay there like a dead buffalo and I was the one who shot it with my big mouth.
I think in the Case of the Mistaken Maternal State I mumbled something like “I am so sorry. I am a complete fool. Please forgive me.”
She turned and walked away. I still remember the stricken look on her face and hoped a sinkhole would open under my feet and swallow me whole. But it didn’t, which is why I’m still here to share this experience with you. .
So, you think I would have learned by this time to think before I speak. Apparently I haven’t. In this case, there was no harm and so no foul, but then again, I got lucky. I’ll do my best to be more careful in the future and not jump to conclusions, at least until I do it again.
Dan was named “Best Writer in Prince William County (Virginia)” by readers in a “Best of Prince William 2014” poll conducted in June of that year by “Prince William Today” newspaper.
He is the author of the first two books of the “Beyond the Blue Horizon: the Story of an American Hero series, On Wings of the Morning, and On the Wings of Eagles.” Both a republished by eLectio Publishing, Midland, Texas.