Monday, February 19, 2007

VD - Valtentine's Day or Very Dumb

I spent a fruitful weekend in Buffalo doing some minor maintenance on the house. It was great to see everyone. I’ll try to get a story on our poker game up later in the week, but before I forget, I need to post my Valentine’s Day story.

I took my sweetie out last night for an uber-romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. Mercifully, my father agreed to baby-sit the boys, and we successfully managed to get out of the house before he realized that we were leaving him home alone with three little boys and a DVD of Scooby-Doo cartoons during a miserable ice storm.

Incidentally, Scooby-Doo is now the anointed King of all media in our household. Daily discussions of which ghosts or villains are the scariest echo through the living room. I find myself uttering such phrases as “Ruh-Roh!”, and “Zoiks!” with no prompting. I also find myself mindlessly whistling or humming the instrumental soundtracks, much to my complete embarrassment at work.

Dinner for us was 7:30 reservations at The Captain Daniel Packer Inn. During our ritualistic drooling over the dinner menu, we decided that this was our favorite restaurant of all time, narrowly beating out Washington Square Tavern and Allentown Hardware for the coveted title. How fortuitous that we were actually living down the street! Our meal was marvelous, and as usual, the ambiance was perfect.

The restaurant staff had spent what must have been long, arduous hours filling red, pink, and white balloons with helium. The strings hung at the perfect height above the floor to allow the wait staff to effortlessly glide underneath. I’m sure what they didn’t actually count on was how quickly the helium would leak out.

Halfway through our meal, it began raining balloons. We were one of two couples left in the third floor dining room, so the situation was not as aggravating as it could potentially have been. At first, it was cute, watching the colors cascade slowly down from the ceilings, sometimes pausing midway down on their route to equilibrium. However, after a few minutes, it seemed to me as though these balloons were specifically making their way over to our table on their descent. Little rubber kamikazes, you might say. One such rotund little terrorist halted directly in my line of sight to my beautiful wife’s eyes.

This is the point in the story when I tell you that I did something incredibly stupid.

Wait for it.

I picked up the toothpick that held my martini olives and I popped that bastard. But I didn’t just give it a little jab. I pierced that balloon straight through its innocent, helium-filled heart.

I did not think this action through to its natural end.

Point #1: When a balloon is popped with a sharp object, the rubber shards travel in a direction exactly opposite to the point of impact.

Point #2: Contact lenses, while seemingly a thin protective layer for the pupil, do not in fact shield the human eye from projectile rubber shards.

Point #3: Although I not need be reminded of this ever again, the actual sound of a balloon popping is rather loud.

Knowing these three points in advance of my decision to pop said balloon might have prevented an, oh let’s be kind, an awkward situation.

The other couple in the room spun their heads around in unison at approximately the same speed with which the remains of the little red balloon struck Leah in the eye, causing her to bellow, “Jesus!” at not quite the top of her lungs.

Quickly realizing that I had just about killed any chance of “quality time” with my wife later that night, I tried to recover by saying, “Oh my God! Did that just hit you in the eye?” coupled with a look of complete surprise and innocence.

This look bought me no sympathy.

“Yes, you idiot, where did you think it was going to go?” was the response I elicited.

At this point, I thought all was lost. I was doomed to be sleeping downstairs with the dog. Who snores. Loudly.

Luckily, as I have stated in previous posts, I find other people’s stupidity to be a wonderful source of entertainment. So did the other couple in the room, apparently. Because after Leah uttered the words I perceived to be a sentence of exile, laughter erupted from their table. Infectious, tearful laughter.

When our eyes had dried, all except Leah’s whose tear duct I damaged, the boyfriend said, “We’re not laughing at you. . . well, yeah, I guess we are.” And more laughter poured out of us. The couple stood up and made their way to the stairs, taking a few balloons as souvenirs. We watched them exit. As they reached the bottom, a loud BOOM! reverberated up the stairwell, followed by a voice trailing off crying, “Oh, my eye!”