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Fri July 9, 2004
Advise to the Lovelorn
Get back up on that horse, soilder!
By Pete Olson
Wilmington NC – [Click the Listen button to hear Pete's commentary.]
Today, I?m venturing out into the field of advice to the lovelorn, love worn, and love torn.
By my mid-forties I held a high place in all three columns, and like many middle-aged people, some of you, I?m sure, I gave up?.I walked away and DIDN?T get back on that horse. I simply stopped dating. I note that a lot of people in their forties and fifties have done the same thing, but I elevated it to an art form by becoming a total hermit. For the past six years it?s just been me and the dogs?.then, me, the dogs, and cats coming out my ears?.. but you catch the drift.
Ah, but nothing comes without a cost, and now, in my early fifties, I have reached the conclusion that my withdrawal from the field of romantic jousting has turned me into a total, babbling idiot around an attractive woman.
It wasn?t always like this. People who knew me in my younger days were always amazed that a man as plain as an off-white wall was never lacking for attractive female company. The reason was simple - I was charming, witty, and knew exactly what to say. In other words, I was full of you-know-what, and it worked, exceedingly well!
It clearly DOESN?T work any more, as was brought home in spades to me last week??
I stopped by the post office to inquire about money orders, because I was about to receive some from an on-line auction sale. In my entire life I have never once received a postal money order and had no idea if they have to be cashed at the post office. While the clerk was explaining that yes, they must be cashed at the post office because the government LIKES to keep you standing in line to maintain an orderly society, my still sharp, weasel-like peripheral vision spied an attractive woman at the next counter.
Having received my answer from the clerk, I went to conduct my daily ritual of transferring mail from my post office box to the waste bin, when I heard a voice slightly sexier than Marlene Dietrich say, ?That was a very good question about money orders.?
Did I say attractive? This woman was STUNNINGLY attractive, possibly the most beautiful woman I have seen in years, and upon finishing up mailing a package, had decided to walk up and start a conversation with me. Of course, since I don?t date, it took me a long time, perhaps four microseconds to notice that she wasn?t wearing a wedding ring.
?I heard what you asked the clerk. You know, if you have the buyer use a commercial money order, you can cash them lots of places.?
Her eyes sparkled like a tropical sea. Her skin was perfect. There, in the Porter?s Neck post office, Cyrano had found Roxanne.
I could hear my voice from twenty years ago?.?Really? I didn?t know that other places sold money orders too. My name is Pete. Are you doing anything right now? Because it?s obvious that you know a lot more about this than I do, and if you have the time we could grab some lunch and?.?
But that?s NOT what came out of my mouth. Instead, I was possessed by the ghost of my deranged Uncle William, who could bore you with every fact he had ever read in the Readers Digest between 1940 and 1972, when God finally appointed him to a position in heaven?s research department.
?Yeah, I know that, but I saw something on 20/20 or Dateline or some show about people stealing money orders from drug stores and I don?t want to get stuck with a money order from Ed?s Money Order Company and find out that it was stolen because by then I???
The blank look on her face said it all - this man is a total boob. She was nice enough to smile and show her incredibly perfect white teeth while saying goodbye. She exited quickly, looking back a few times to make sure I wasn?t following to bore her to death.
So my advice, dear listener, is DON?T quit. I don?t care if you?re ninety. If you get your heart broken, take a break, but get back on that horse. Don?t cut yourself off from the rest of the world, because life is about communicating, and like every other skill you have, ?you use it or you loose it.?
The only good news is that even though crippled by now being an inarticulate, boring knucklehead, I actually have lined up a date for my daughter?s wedding. I just have to figure out some way to disguise the air valve on the back of her neck.
Hey! SHE won?t be expecting charm and witty conversation??
Pete Olson is a retired marine who lives and works in New Hanover County.