Whenever I hear a dumb blonde joke I cringe and quickly look behind me. Here is what happened to make me react in this way, so don’t tell me you haven’t been warned.
Back in a younger life, I used to go running each morning. I would then stop at a local restaurant to get a cup of black coffee and visit with the group of golfers and sports fishermen who ate there each morning. I will never forget when Gina joined our group. She had a quick wit, a good job at a flourishing business in a nearby city, and an infections laugh that endeared her to everyone she met. She was the subject of a few personal observations concerning her attractive appearance and her long blonde hair. After a certain amount of prodding, she admitted that she was a cheerleader in high school and had dated the quarterback.
As she came through the door of the restaurant early one morning, Ron leaned toward me and said, “Ask Gina about her sister’s dancing lessons.” He then gave a loud bray of laughter and covered his eyes with his hand.
After studying him for a moment I said, “What’s the joke,” which only made him laugh harder.
Robert was sitting at my elbow, and he said, “I’ll ask her.” Before Gina could pull the empty chair out and seat herself, Robert leaned forward where he could look down the length of the table.
“How is your sister’s dancing lessons coming along?” he said.
Gina froze with her hand gripping the back of the chair. Her face slowly crumpled. Then she started crying like a small child, tears running down her cheeks while she made no attempt to hide her emotions.
“I’ll have you know that my sister has polio,” she finally managed to say between hiccups. Then she turned and ran, winding her way rapidly between the tables. There was a long painful silence. I finally glanced at Robert and realized he was having trouble breathing and seemed to be in a state of shock. What a terrible thing, I thought. It was awful. It was horrible! I couldn’t believe that Ron has done such a thoughtless thing. I was almost crying myself. It was like looking in your rearview mirror after hearing a thump and seeing a tricycle spinning out of control toward the curb.
A large man sitting in the corner booth lumbered to his feet during the shocked silence. He had a buzz cut and cop written all over his massive frame. He placed a hand as big at a catcher’s mitt on the table and leaned down between Robert and me. It reminded me of the crew on Law & Order when they get a felon in the interrogation room and ‘explain’ the trouble he is in. I could hear the sound of Gina’s Mazda revving up in the parking lot, and the yelp of rubber as she pulled into the street. The rapidly accelerating motor sounded like an angry hornet as she sped away. I felt even sicker by the time the officer wound up his remarks and we made our way to the door. Robert was parked next to me. He started to open the driver’s door, then put his hand on the fender and emptied the continents of his stomach between the toes of his golfing shoes.
I managed to make it home, although I was somewhat shaky and feeling slightly ill over the irreparable damage we had done. I had started toward the back door when I heard the throbbing of a radio cranked all the way up and the familiar snarl of an engine. I turned as Gina pulled up beside me and ran the window down.
“I don’t have a sister,” she said, “but I was in the drama club in school, and I was the valedictorian of my class.” Before I could get my breath, she had shoved the shift in reverse and roared out of the drive laughing and pumping her fist into the air. I stood looking after her in amazement, and then leaned against the fence as the laughter came bubbling up out of control. It was the best laugh I had had in along time.