Monday Morning Mark • 65
Unexpected Test Results • The Final Crop • Eccentric Billionaires • The Plumber And The Librarian
One Minute Wit
Unexpected Test Results
I think I did something wrong.
I just took the What Career Were You Meant For? quiz on Facebook,
and I got “Cher.”
Oh, it is actually “Chef.”
I think I like Cher better.
The Final Crop
It was harvest time. The sun was sinking below the horizon, and the sky started to glow a vibrant shade of red. Farmer Eugene Fallow put the tractor in the barn.
While walking toward the old farmhouse his Daddy had built, Eugene thought, The house could use a new coat of paint.
Once inside, he looked at the clock. Days are getting shorter, Eugene thought and plopped down on the sofa. His legs were as stiff as iron and creaked like floorboards when he walked.
He thought about Sarah as he made his own dinner. I’ll be with you soon.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
Wouldn’t it be nice if you lived in a neighborhood near an eccentric billionaire?
And he decided to fly over your house in a dirigible airship.
And while he was doing so he dropped a whole bunch of $100 bills out of the airship and watched them flutter down.
And a big pile of them landed in your yard.
And using an old-fashioned megaphone he yelled out, “Those are my payment for invading your airspace and blocking the sun momentarily. Have a sunny day!”
The Plumber And The Librarian
As he often did between jobs, Harold was out running errands. He needed to buy some bread and light bulbs and stop at the library to pick up a book for his mother. Harold had dinner with his mother every Thursday evening. She enjoyed going out and looked forward to their time together. Harold usually enjoyed the dinners, unless his mother started grilling him about why he wasn’t married yet. The conversation was almost always the same.
“A man in his thirties should be long married. I was married to your father twelve years by the time I turned thirty. God rest his soul.”
“I know, Ma.”
“Why aren’t you dating? I don’t understand why you won’t let me fix you up with a nice girl.”
“Ma, I’m no good at dating. My tongue freezes. Then I start to sweat. It’s too much pressure.”
“Nonsense. Just be yourself. You’re a good man. You have a steady job. And you’re not unattractive.”
Harold arrived at the library, parked his plumber’s van, and went in to get the book his mother had asked for, Live And Let Die by Ian Fleming. She had read Casino Royale the previous year and loved the thrilling adventures of the spy named Bond. Harold located the book using the card file and made his way to the proper shelf. He was in luck, they had a copy. Mother would be delighted.
He started walking back to check out the book when he noticed the librarian working at the desk was Angelina. He only knew this because she wore a name tag. She was also in her thirties, or so he imagined by her appearance. But unlike most librarians he had known, she always dressed like she was headed out on a Saturday night. Her hair was up in a bun, but her face was kind and she always smiled at library patrons. Harold could feel his throat tightening as he approached. He placed the book on the counter along with his library card.
“I would like to check out this book, please,” he said.
Angelina looked at the book and said, “I am assuming you have read Casino Royale already. If not, you really should. The pair is very popular in England, but they have not done as well here in the States. They are quite racy.”
Harold could feel his face flushing.
“Yes,” was all he could muster.
Angelina stamped the book and said, “Here you go, Harold. Please tell me what you think of it when you return it.”
She obviously saw his name on his library card, but hearing her use his first name was a bit unsettling and thrilling at the same time.
“I will,” Harold replied.
He quickly grabbed the book and made his escape. Angelina watched him leave.
Harold picked up his mother and they made the short drive to Joe’s Diner where they sat in Harold’s favorite booth.
“Oops, I almost forgot,” Harold said. “I have your book in the van.”
“Thank you, Dear. I hope it’s as good as the first one.”
“Ma, can you read it fast? I need to read it too before I return it.”
“Sure. The first one was a quick read. I imagine this one will be also. But why do you need to read it?”
“The librarian asked me to tell her what I thought of it when I return it.”
“Angelina?! The cute librarian who lives over on Fifth street?”
“She’s flirting with you, Harold. You should ask her out.”
“Don’t Ma me. She would be perfect for you. She’s two years younger and never married. She’s smart as a whip and cute as a doll. She lives with her mother and loves to bake. You keep the book and read it first.”
“But I’m such a slow reader.”
“Alright, I’ll read it first. Come by Saturday and pick it up. If you can’t make it through it I will fill you in on the rest. This is a good thing, Harold.”
“I don’t know.”
On Saturday, Harold picked up the book as instructed and spent the rest of the week trying to read it. It was no use. His mind kept drifting to imaginary conversations he would have with Angelina about the book. He couldn’t focus. Plus, he wasn’t much of a reader. He liked television. I Love Lucy, What’s My Line, Jackie Gleason, and Dragnet were his favorites. He resigned himself to getting the story from his mother. During their Thursday dinner, she filled him in on the story. He found it hard to follow and hoped he could remember what she told him.
Monday, he went to the library to return the book and pick up a new one for his mother. This time the book was A Time To Love And A Time To Die by an author whose name he couldn’t pronounce. He had hoped to slip in and deposit the book without being noticed, but Angelina was standing next to the book deposit slot chatting with an older lady. She spotted Harold, said goodbye to the woman, and walked over to Harold.
“Harold, I am so glad to see you. What did you think of the novel?”
“It was quite exciting,” he replied.
“Did you like it better than Casino Royale?”
Terror struck Harold’s mind. He had forgotten about the first book.
“I liked them both,” he managed. Hoping his vagueness wouldn’t give him away.
“I’m glad,” Angelina replied.
Angelina noticed that Harold was wearing his work coveralls.
“I see you are wearing coveralls. What do you do for a living?”
“I am a plumber.”
“Really? How convenient. The toilet tank at my house has a drip. Do you think you could come over and look at it?”
“Ah. Sure. I have nine o’clock open tomorrow morning.”
“Wonderful! I didn’t know plumbers worked Saturdays.”
Harold didn’t. Unless it was an emergency.
“I do occasionally, to pick up extra work,” Harold replied.
“Great. I will see you tomorrow then. Oh. Are you looking for another book?”
“Yes. A Time To Love And A Time To Die.”
“Excellent. It is amazing. I can’t wait to get your opinion of it. Follow me, I know exactly where it is.”
Harold did as he was instructed. He didn’t mind.
That night, Angelina came home, said hello to her mother, and went right to the garage to get a wrench. When she walked back through the kitchen her mother asked, “What are you doing with that?”
“I need to loosen the water line on the toilet.”
“I met the nicest man at the library last week. He’s a plumber. I told him I had a leaky toilet. Now I need to go make it leaky.”
“Need any help?”
“I think I can manage.”
Over the course of the next few months, Angelina’s plumbing suffered a surprising number of leaks. And Harold gave more book reports than he had during his entire time in high school. With encouragement from his mother, Harold eventually mustered up enough courage to ask Angelina out to dinner and a movie. Which, as these things tend to do, led to a respectable length of time courtship and a marriage proposal.
As Harold and Angelina were walking down the aisle after saying their “I dos,” Angelina looked at Harold and said, “I lied about the leaks. I made them happen.”
“I could tell. I’m a plumber,” Harold replied. “I lied about the books. I didn’t read them.”
“I could tell. I’m a librarian,” Angelina replied.
They both laughed and began their new life together.