One of the Many Wonderful Things About Marriage
On our way up to Vermont this Thanksgiving, we stopped to eat at Roy Rogers, and my wife said, "Remember what happened at Roy Rogers?" and this was all she had to say, and my mind travelled twenty years into the past . . . when we were returning from a Williamsburg road trip and stopped at The Maryland House to eat; it was very crowded, so Catherine snagged a booth while I put all the fixin's on our burgers at the Fixin's Bar, and then -- while I was carrying a tray of fully fixed food across the wide open brown tiled space between the Fixin's Bar and the booth Catherine had snagged, I had what is affectionately known as a "wardrobe malfunction" . . . I was wearing a pair of shorts that I had stolen from the most notorious clothing thief in our fraternity, so I was quite proud that I had righteously filched these shorts from him and beat him at his own game, but he was thicker than me, so the shorts were loose around the waist, and they didn't have a button, so I was using a safety pin to keep them cinched . . . and the safety pin snapped . . . and the shorts fell to my knees . . . and I couldn't bend down to pull them up, because I was carrying a tray of fully fixed food . . . and at this juncture, I should point out that I didn't bring a whole lot of laundry on the road trip, and I had run out of underwear, so I was "going commando" under the shorts . . . so once they fell to my knees I was, as the English say, doing the full monty (or, as the Japanese say, "sporting wang") but luckily, the only people who saw this were my wife and a fat old black woman -- and both of them immediately burst out laughing as they watched my shuffle as fast as I could to the booth, where I put the tray down and pulled my shorts up; I learned a valuable lesson that day: if you're not going to wear underwear, make sure your shorts fit correctly and have a sturdy fastener . . . and one of the wonderful things about marriage is that it only takes a couple of words to evoke a moment like this, once you've been with someone for twenty years you have a kind of verbal shorthand to access all of these most excellent and humiliating events.