Husband: I got a haircut today, like Brad Pitt in Fury.
Wife: You mean Bradley Pitts in Furry, right?
Wife: Oh! I just googled it.
Husband: Hahaha! I’m kidding.
Wife: Whew. Thank you.
Husband: It is quite suave, though.
In 2002 I was a junior in high school. I arrived home after a date and found both my parents waiting up for me wearing grim expressions. They handed me a letter that had come in the mail that day, from the representative of my childhood best friend’s family. The letter stated that I was being contacted because I was a friend to the family, and it launched into a short and painful tale. Lindsay had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer only weeks before, and one afternoon she complained of chest pains and collapsed. She had passed quickly and unexpectedly, so a family representative was appointed to contact loved ones and notify them of the funeral arrangements. I received the letter the day before the funeral.
Lindsay and I met in the first grade, where we discovered our mutual love of hanging upside down on the monkey bars by our knees, locking our hands together, and swinging back and forth until we couldn’t hold on to the bars any longer and we fell to the ground in a heap, giggling. Our mothers grew exasperated–mine sure did, anyway–at the fact that we snuck our matching shorts out of the laundry basket so we could wear them every day of the week, since they were the best for climbing jungle gyms. We spent weekends together, riding bicycles through the neighborhood pretending we were being chased, crying together whenever one of us fell down and got scraped up, and marveling at the grown-up things her much older siblings did.
Lindsay moved away while we were still in elementary school, but her parents visited often so they would let us spend the afternoons together when they visited on weekends. When we weren’t together we mailed friendship bracelets back and forth and we “snuck” long-distance phone calls. We both had other friends in our own cities, but we saved secrets for one another. As we grew older, whispered conversations about boys and cars began to creep into our phone calls. I listened in awe when Lindsay told me about her first kiss, and we made plans for when we would both soon have drivers licenses so we could travel back and forth to visit on weekends to share our stories.
Lindsay got her license and a shiny new car for her birthday, which was a month before mine. The story the pastor told at her funeral was one which happened not long before her death, when she’d been cruising along in her new car and she’d hit a rabbit. In tears, she pulled her car over to the side of the road and sat with the rabbit as it lay dying. This was the young adult version of the same kind-hearted little girl I’d shared tears with as a child.
Wife: Did you hear? Explorers found what they think is a piece of Amelia Earhart’s plane.
Wife: A piece of Amelia Earhart’s plane was found on an island where explorers already think she crashed. So she didn’t perish in the ocean. Instead, she and her navigator lived out their lives on this island.
Husband: Oh yeah, I’ve heard that. So they probably lived another year there.
Wife: No way, they lived out the rest of their lives!
Husband: They weren’t young when they made the trip.
Wife: They were 40 or something when they went missing.
Husband: Yeah, so they maybe lived to 41.
Wife: (wrinkling nose) I do NOT like your version of this story.
Husband: (laughing) It’s okay. You can keep your version.
(insert a five-minute pause during which we turned to our respective laptop screens)
Husband: Poor Amelia.
Wife: Exactly! I know she’s dead, but I always feel sad when I read about this.
Husband: Yep, she’s definitely dead now.
Wife: Of course. She’d be 100 now. No, 117 years old.
Husband: Definitely less believable now. Definitely dead.
Wife: Amelia Earhart, definitely dead.
From a phone conversation with my dad, about my two-and-a-half-year-old niece, A.
Dad: “We went to Cabela’s to pick up some dove decoys before our hunting trip, and A decided to name the two dove decoys. They’re now Charlie and George, so I labeled them on the underside so we’ll know which is which. And they get tucked in at night, too. She also has an owl decoy, her favorite. And that’s not to mention her collection of stuffed animals, including Peppa Pig of course. And let’s see what else she has… there’s a… well, hell, all I can reckon is that this one’s a chupacabra or something. So along with all the stuffed animals, Barbies, and decoys, she also has a chupacabra. She loves all the animals.”
A: (interrupting the conversation) “I like to clean!”
Dad: (laughing) “Yeah, you keep saying that for about the next 40-50 years, okay?”
Wife: Wanna sign up for archery lessons this weekend?
Wife: Apparently Katniss and I have the same MBTI type, we’re both ISTJ. Maybe we should do that for Halloween?
Husband: Our Halloween costumes will be people with our MBTI types? I’ll go as Gaddafi.
Wife: No, I was saying we could go as Hunger Games characters. And I think you’re confused because Gaddafi was supposedly an ENFP.
Husband: Okay, cool. I’ll be the drunk.
Wife: You’re a goon.
Husband: Yeah, Haymitch is perfect; I can just drink and be generally disagreeable.
I’m not a very good bullshitter, and I never have been.
Let’s back up to the summer after my high school graduation, when I was more shy and even worse at bullshitting than I am now. My friend Tim had been invited to attend a big fancy grown up party so I offered to be his date since he wasn’t eager about going alone and I figured it’d offer me a chance to go somewhere fancy.
Tim had received the invitation by way of a side job he’d worked, something to do with his then budding film and entertainment aspirations. All I can recall of the actual job was that he’d spent a lot of time turning flat cardboard into boxes, but it somehow landed him an invitation to one of the mansions in the richer part of the city where the business magnates and oil money gravitated. Picture gated compounds, private tennis courts, indoor swimming pools, and the like. To put this in perspective, the home I lived in at the time with my parents and my sister was all of 1,188 square feet and it most certainly did not feature a swimming pool.