Franklin was a lonely guy. He was reasonably handsome, very intelligent and witty. But lonely. He had a string of pedigree degrees and a never ending resume. People liked him and he was especially charming in a group. He had what many would call charisma. But lonely.
Poor Franklin had gone through a spirit crushing divorce that left him bruised and battered. The worst of it was she left him for another man. His ego was in a black hole and he felt the only way he could get back out was to find another woman. Some men really need women and Franklin was one of those men. He desperately needed a woman. Desperately.
Finally he had lunch with a colleague who tells Franklin he's just going about it all wrong. Odd that there always seems to be an overabundance of colleagues available to point out your faults.
Franklin abruptly sees the light. Franklin's friend tells him he shouldn't be thinking about American women as they are all jaded and hate men and are always starting arguments and are always keeping some silly scorecard. Franklin thought that sounded a lot like his ex.
Franklin's sure cure was to get a foreign woman that would do what he said, be loyal and end his agonizing loneliness. A good Latina, Indian or maybe Oriental woman would do nicely. How could Franklin lose? Besides, most men knew that Oriental and Latina women age very well.
Way over on the other side of the world a very pretty Maria de Jesus was waiting for our man Franklin. Well, maybe not exactly for Franklin but someone like Franklin. Actually, the truth was she was waiting for anyone like Franklin.
So when the Get Close Internet Dating Service called her she had already paid her fees and was ready to go. She had been packed for months. 10 days later Franklin shows up and it was love and desperation at first sight. Franklin was overwhelmed.
Maria de Jesus immediately agreed to follow him back to his lonely California. He was readily accepted into the family and Franklin was surprised at how quickly her parents approved of him and thought maybe it was his natural charm. Right.
Franklin's second biggest surprise came later when his new love invited him on a date to Bellagio in Las Vegas. The surprise came when she told him to dress up and they went to a wedding chapel and were married. What could Franklin say? It must be love, no? I do. I do. I sure the heck hope I do?
One week later Maria de Jesus began proceedings to bring her extended family to California one by one. That was nine relatives ago. Now she is on first name basis with everyone at the Consulate. And poor Franklin wishes he was lonely again.
I wonder what would have happened if Franklin had met Melinda.
I often think Melinda's goofiness came from hanging around too many of the criminally insane types she counseled; the 'I was bored so I killed ma and pa' types. Or the types 'She wouldn't shut up so I just duct taped her up real good.' All Melinda's patients were handcuffed for very good reasons.
In her early forties Melinda developed a 'lazy eye'; a condition where one eye isn't up to strength with the other. Melinda looked sort of goofy anyway so the lazy eye made her look even more so. The lazy eye had even started to droop a bit and she was beginning to look like some of her hard core patients.
The prescribed treatment was to wear an eye patch over the good eye so the lazy eye would get used more and consequently become stronger.
Melinda was astounded by the results. For months she went on and on about what a miracle this eye patch treatment was and how her lazy eye was so much stronger now.
In fact, Melinda felt so much better she decided to try the new therapy on the other eye. Made sense. Her reasoning was that since it had helped one of her eyes so much most likely it could help the other. In the end each eye would openly compete one on one to see which could get stronger.
So now goofy Melinda alternates the eye patch and still swears that she can see like an eagle even though with only one eye. After all, why waste good energy using both eyes at once? I thought she might get along with my brainy friend Gerald, but then with Gerald time just ran out.
Gerald and I were in language training together and became friends. He was an intellectual sort of guy with a vast knowledge of history, art, literature and fine foods. He was smart and worldly and I felt in many ways a lot smarter than me.
After finishing training I transferred to California and Gerald remained in Dallas. We spoke by phone every now and then and I was surprised when he called to say he had gotten married. He and his new wife would be in San Francisco over New Years and could we please join them?
We did and met the new lovebirds at an upscale dim sum restaurant in Chinatown. They were already seated and I nearly fell over when I saw them. Gerald was fifty pounds heavier with a double chin and he was seated next to a woman 30 or 40 years older than him. In fact, later I found out she had children older than Gerald. I was stunned.
On a loo break I ask Gerald 'what's up, man?'
"Aw, she's a great cook", he said patting his belly, "but best of all she has a condo off Westwood. That's only ten minutes from the office. I don't see the fact that she is 36 years older than me as an issue. Age doesn't matter. Her kids all like me and I use a lot less gas now." Good old Gerald always was a committed environmentalist.
Like my old pal Pat O'Leary used to say, 'Are we stupid or what?' Even though Pat was right it remains a rhetorically inane question.
Simply because everybody already knows stupid is us...
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Jack D. Deal is the owner of Deal Business Consulting. Related articlesmay be found at www.jddeal.com and www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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