Edmond P. DeRousse August 7, 2019 at 6:49 pm

All of us have those little adventures we wish were forgettable. They are rather humbling. And the others around you won’t let you forget them. Here is one of them.

My wife and I met through mutual friends in our senior year in high school. She and I lived in different communities and attended different schools. She lived fifteen miles away.

Back then most kids didn’t have to travel more than fifteen or twenty miles from home for entertainment. Southern Illinois seemed to us to be a pretty large area. Unlike today, fifteen miles was a long way to drive, which is why I only saw my girlfriend once a week.

My little town was the place to be. It had a theater (open Thursday through Sunday), a couple of eating establishments catering to kids, and a dance hall with a variety of live bands every Saturday night. We had no need to go anywhere else for entertainment.

Until college, I very seldom went beyond twenty miles from home. When I did, it was with family. The world beyond was a world I was a little afraid of venturing into. Guess I led a rather sheltered life.

That all changed with the entrance into college life. My world got a great deal larger. College was sixty miles away and I moved there. It was mixed with all kinds of attitudes, from all over the globe.

I had to leave CJ, my girlfriend, behind to enter this world. Fortunately, I only had to wait a semester for her to join me. We would face the new world together.

CJ seemed to adapt to the changes easier than I did. CJ is one of those people who has an outgoing personality. She enjoys being around others. No one is a stranger to her.

On Saturday afternoons, CJ and I would frequently leave our dorms, head downtown to our favorite pizza palace, and order a large pizza. The rest of the day would be spent unwinding from the week’s studies and interactions with the instructors. Ordinarily, after enjoying our pizza, we would leave and head back to the college.

But one day, for some unknown reason, our normal routine changed. Perhaps it was an unusually stressful week? Perhaps it was something else? I don’t remember. I do remember, though, that we were both still hungry after eating the large pizza, so we ordered a medium pizza. Still hungry, we ordered a small pizza believing our appetites would be subdued.

It wasn’t. So, I ordered each of us a mini pizza. We devoured those and believe it or not were still hungry. I was running out of money, so it was over. We headed back to the campus.

Later that night there was to be a dance at my dorm. CJ and I met our friends, Jack and Jill (yes those were their real names) at the dance. After an hour or so we all decided to order some snacks and sodas. We found our table and sat down. A good band was playing so the place was unusually packed. The tables all around us were full of guys and their dates.

I liked Cracker Jack back then, so that’s what I ordered and a soda. I have a tendency to save until the end the things I enjoy the most. With Cracker Jack, it was the peanuts. I had a little pile of them pushed off to the side. I was planning to eat them after the popcorn was gone.

CJ is a beautiful redhead. She is the one every guy in the room would like to be sitting next to. I was that special guy lucky enough to be sitting next to that beauty. Suddenly, that beautiful redhead reached over and started picking up my peanuts.

To this day, I don’t know why I did it, but I yelled out rather loudly so almost everyone could hear me above the music. Unexpectedly the music stopped as I shouted out: “Don’t grab my nuts!”

Almost immediately, I realized what I said and wished I hadn’t. But it was too late. The whole place got quiet. I wanted to get away, but there was no hiding. My table of friends were doing nothing to help me. They were laughing hysterically. They couldn’t help it.

It was the perfect setting. A bunch of college kids sitting around a table in a noisy room, with music and dancing, and testosterone running rampid. Suddenly someone yells what young people would easily misinterpret as a sexual innuendo. Yep, and I was the one who said the words!

It’s just one of those uncontrollable things that happens to all of us. My wife still enjoys relating this story whenever given the opportunity.

I try not to make it too easy for her though. To the day, I don’t eat Cracker Jack.

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