She’s Made Many Mistakes But She Learned The Most From This One

September 15, 2010

[Luke and Dr. Philbin are seated on the driveway near the bobber. Luke is cleaning the swingarm with a washcloth and Dr. Philbin is drinking a beer and telling a story:]

-So, this poor kid. For the life of him he can’t pin on the corsage. He simply cannot do it. He’s poking Sarah with the pin, Sarah’s about the cry, her mother’s losing it. I’m taking pictures, because how many times will this happen in her life? You have to take as many pictures of your kids as possible because they grow up so damn fast and it’s fun to embarrass them when they’re older. So finally Sarah says, Christ dad, will you stop taking pictures and help us out? She was so pissed. So I take over from this poor kid and pin it on her, no problem. Turns out, the kid had a medical condition, some sort of muscle thing or a palsy. That’s why it was so hard for him. We never saw him around the house again. Oh by the way, has Sarah told you about her senior prom?

-No.

-Oh man, that’s a good one. I can’t believe she hasn’t told you. You know, couples have to be open with each other and communicate or they’ll never last. Sit her down one day and make her tell you all these stories, because this one, wow, yeah, she should definitely tell it, not me.

-What happened?

-I can’t say. It’s her story to tell.

-I’ll ask her about it.

-It’s a crazy story. Crazy with a capital C.

-I’m sure.

-It’s probably the best story about her.

-Better than the 98 Degrees concert story?

-Way better. How about this: I’ll tell you, but she if she ever tells you then you have to pretend like it’s the first time you’re hearing it. You got me?

-Yeah.

-Good. OK. So senior year she went through a promiscuous stage. All these boys were in and out of the house, leaving early in the morning and calling her late at night. I wanted to talk to her about it but her mother said she would grow out of it and that if I said anything it would only make things worse. So I didn’t say anything. Soon enough, it’s May, time for Prom, and she needs a date. But none of those boys ask her. There must have been seven, and they all found other girls to go with. I guess they’d already had her or whatever so they didn’t need to take her out. She’d given it up too soon, and they had all moved on. So she’s upset about it. In my infinite wisdom I offer to help. I say, Honey, you know my friend Dr. Tibits? His son Damon goes to Oakwood and their prom is a different weekend I think, and he doesn’t have a girlfriend. I could have his dad ask him if he’d go with you. Her first reaction was like: Hell no, that would be so embarrassing, an arranged prom date, what am I, Indian? But then prom week came around and she was still dateless. And she NEEDED to go to prom because God knows why. So she said she would do it but Damon couldn’t know that she knew it was arranged. She said that Damon had to drive here and surprise her, and she would act surprised. Women, huh? So I call up Dr. Tibits and we arrange the whole thing. The next day he said his son needed to see a picture of Sarah first, to make sure she wasn’t or dog or fat. Now, this was before you kids took pictures of yourselves eating breakfast every god-damned day so we didn’t have pictures of her on the computer. We needed to photograph her. She put on some decent clothes and her mother hung up a sheet in her bedroom to use as a backdrop and I snapped some tasteful shots of her and emailed them to Dr. Tibits. He showed them to Damon, who must have liked them enough because the next day he was at our front door.

-That’s hilarious.

-It gets better. Sarah didn’t know this at the time, but Damon had recently gotten out of a program. One of those programs for troubled kids, almost like juvie but for rich kids. The boy was a basket case: drinking, drugs, fucking around. I heard he’d done it with boys too but you didn’t hear that from me. One time he stole a car and drove to Perfect North and went skiing for the weekend and drove back Sunday night and returned the car to the same parking space he’d stolen it from. He was a complete basket case. So he asks her and she says yes, and then we have to buy her a dress and shoes and all that. So now it’s the Thursday before prom and Sarah says Damon is sending her weird text messages. Stuff like: You are the one for me. And: I wish today was prom. He even emailed her a picture of his wrist on which he’d written SARAH in pen. Weird stuff like that. She didn’t show us all the texts because they were filthy. The kid was a basket case. But he was a date, so she couldn’t complain. So he comes to pick her up and we invite him in. I smell him to make sure he’s sober, and he was. He pins on the corsage, no problem, unlike that poor kid with the condition, and off they go.

-Did they go with a group or by themselves?

- They went with some of Damon’s alky friends from the program. All good kids, I’m sure, just a little spoiled. I thought they’d be no problem, that they’d been scared straight by the program. WRONG. Around three in the morning Dr. Tibits calls the house asking if we’d heard from Damon or Sarah. We hadn’t. He says he told Damon to be home by two and that he wasn’t answering his cell phone. I didn’t say it at the time but I knew Sarah was making it with him somewhere and part of me was mad about it but another part of me was thinking that she’s young and she needs to do these things now or she’ll regret it later. So I call Sarah’s cell phone. No answer. I call Dr. Tibiits back and he’s freaking out. He decides it’s a crisis and that our house is the crisis resolution center. He drives over with coffee and donuts. Now, Tibits is a large man. The fattest dentist I know. He’s offering me donuts and I keep saying no thanks, so he keeps eating them. He ate no less than five donuts in the two hours he was over. That’s not important for the story but I figured I’d mention it. Around five in the morning we get a phone call, and who do you think it is?

-The cops.

-BINGO. It’s the cops. They have Damon and Sarah and a few of those kids from the program at the station. Do you want to guess what they were doing or do you want me to tell you?

-Just tell me.

-OK. Damon, the genius that he is, decided it’d be a good idea to break into a pharmacy and steal pills to get messed up on. Sarah told me later that he had seen a movie about a guy who steals pills from pharmacies and he was copying that guy. So he, Sarah and a few of the freaks break into Dee Dee’s, the one on 48, and take some pills, codeine and valium and what have you, and they lay on the floor and giggle, right there in the pharmacy. Now, I’ve never abused codeine before so I wouldn’t know how I’d behave on it but I know that when Damon takes it he gets horny because he strips naked and starts kissing Sarah. Three of the freaks get it on too, and soon enough it’s a regular drugged-out fuck party.

-Sarah told you all this?

-Oh, no. See, Dee Dee’s has security cameras. DUH. What store doesn’t? So there’s video footage of your girlfriend getting her guts pushed up against a shelf of cold medicine. We all make mistakes. She’s made many mistakes but she learned the most from this one.

-You’ve seen the video?

-The cop said I could have it after the other cops watched it. He said that if they could watch it then they wouldn’t press charges. We just had to pay off Dee Dee. We didn’t punish Sarah because we figured her knowing that her father and a bunch of cops had seen a security video of her humping on the floor of Dee Dee’s pharmacy was punishment enough. Damon, however, got it real bad. Dr. Tibits sent him back to the program, a different program, one in Arkansas. He said those guys down there don’t mess around. But you know what? he turned out OK. Now he manages a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Chillicothe. Now. Don’t take this the wrong way, but that’s better than frying omelets at Perkin’s, don’t you think?

-Maybe so. Where’s the video now?

-I wish I knew. We moved a year after that. It must’ve gotten lost in the move.

NEXT: The Perfect G And T

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