Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Memories: The Unfortunate Popcorn Incident

From time to time I will post Memories, where I describe some facet of my life before MS. I hope you enjoy these digressions.

When I was in seventh grade and Lynn was in eighth, we were boyfriend and girlfriend, or at least that’s what we called ourselves. I was so paralyzed with fear in the presence of pretty girls that I hardly ever spoke to her in person, and I certainly never made any advances toward her.

        Middle School Photos
       1976 Lynn Picard, age 13          1977 8th grade Mitch

My hormones were kicking in, but the social skills necessary to act upon them were still a couple of years away. As such, our relationship was largely conducted over the phone where I apparently exhibited some degree of adolescent charisma. We would talk for hours, and these were the days before call waiting. When we were on one of our marathon calls, anyone who tried to reach either of our houses would be greeted with that infuriating busy-signal squawk that today’s young people have never even heard.

On a few occasions we did actually get together for something resembling a date. We went to the movies one night when Lynn was a freshman in high school, and I was still languishing in middle school as an eighth grader. Early in the movie, Lynn whispered that she needed to go buy some popcorn and would be right back. Well, she never came back. Before the movie was over I snuck out of the theater and positioned myself so I could watch as everyone exited. Sure enough, she walked out hand-in-hand with a senior! He was in another league from me and certainly didn’t know or care that I even existed. “How could she?” I wondered. But “How couldn’t she?” was the real question. I was a boy, and this guy was a man.

Don’t feel too bad for 13-year-old Mitch. Within weeks I had moved on to my next girlfriend, who I was equally terrified of.

Lynn's High School Graduation Pic
1980 760 Lynn Picard, front

Lynn and I saw a bit of each other, in passing, over our high school years, but eventually became disconnected. She looked me up once at work when we were in our late 20s. That was our only contact until a few years ago when, through Facebook, we discovered that we were living near one another in southern Maine. We met for lunch. Soon afterward, she began dating a former high school classmate of ours, and yada yada yada, now Kim and I and Tim and Lynn have become close friends, confidants, and drinking buddies.

Lynn is embarrassed by her alleged behavior. But she can’t recall the circumstances of our breakup and sporadically accuses me of making all this shit up (I don’t think I am). Tim and I are merciless in our teasing of Lynn regarding what we call the Unfortunate Popcorn Incident. When we’re together and someone is being introduced to someone, Tim, playing the straight man, will ask within the first 30 seconds, “Did you know Lynn and Mitch used to date?” This is my cue to narrate the popcorn incident in all its splendor. With every telling, the story develops a little further, as if I’m remembering more details, but I’m not. Lynn feebly pushes back by teasing me about how shy I was, but it’s always too late. I already have the momentum, the sympathy, and the laughs on my side.

The popcorn incident was a family story that I told my wife and children even before Lynn and I reconnected a few years ago. In fact, when I introduced her to my 20-year-old daughter, much to Lynn’s horror, Amy responded with, “Oh, is this the one that dumped you at the movies?”

In all seriousness, I’m grateful to have reconnected with Lynn, and even more grateful that the four of us have become such close friends. Tim and Lynn are good people, and you can’t have too many good people in your lives. I expect that we will not lose each other again.

Here is a YouTube video that explains the term “yada yada yada.” If you don't see the video player, below, click here.

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