A guy who goes out of his way to make sure his hard lessons come in pairs

27 января 2012, 18:41

Some guys never learn. I know this guy I’ll call Richard who has a habit of stepping on the same smelly cow paddy twice. 

Even Pavlov’s dog knew that if you get burned once, you don’t do the same thing again. But the laws of biology apparently don’t apply to Richard. Either that, or he has no common sense.

The first night that Richard arrived in Kazakhstan to join an international organization, he was put in a nice hotel in a major city.

He had barely arrived in his room when the phone rang, and a male voice asked if he ‘d like to have a Kazakh beauty visit his room. The guy wasn’t talking about maid service, if you catch my drift.

Richard must have been thinking how considerate the locals were by saving him the trouble of rustling up a girl himself. Anyway, in a flash, he agreed to the proposition.

The next thing he remembered after ushering the lady in was waking up 24 hours later with a terrible hangover and with his cash -- $4,000 – and his watch and cellphone missing.

Richard telephoned a friend of mine named Raffi who is a ltroubleshooter for the foreigners working in Richard’s organization. Raffi convinced the organization to advance Richard some cash.

After this painful lesson, 99 percent of guys would forget about visits from ladies of the night for awhile, right? But Richard is nothing if not a gamer.

Raffi got another call from Richard almost the same time one night later. It had happened again. A woman had come to Richard’s room, put knockout drops in his drink and absconded with his cash.

Raffi and I had hardly stopped shaking our heads when Raffi received a phone call that woke him up at 3 in the morning.

Richard was as drunk as a Cossack who had stumbled across a case of vodka fallen from  a horse cart. But through the slurring, Raffi could make out that Richard was in a bar and that a Russian guy was going to stomp his saggy American posterior for hitting on the guy’s wife.

There was real danger here, Richard let Raffi know, because Richard is about 5-7 and 135 pounds and the Russian guy about 6-2 and 240 pounds.  In other words, Raffi was suddenly thrust into a life-saving situation, like some of those U.S. Navy SEALS trying to save hostages.

So Raffi told Richard: “Let me talk to the Russian guy.”

Raffi proceeded to sweettalk the Russian for about 25 minutes, using every argument he could to prevent Richard from becoming dead meat.

Arguments like: “Please forgive him. He’s American and doesn’t know our culture.” As if trying to pick up a guy’s wife were a cultural issue.

In the end, Raffi managed to save Richard’s life. The Russian guy agreed to let Richard off the hook with only a warning. Then, I’m guessing, the Russian fell face down drunk into his borscht.

This close brush with death would have been enough to have kept 9,999 out of 10,000 men out of bars for awhile. Not our hero.

A couple of weeks later, Richard showed up at work with two black eyes, provoking awe, wonder and scores of jokes, like: “Hey, a matched set!”

If Richard had been sentient enough to have left the night spot he was in after only one black eye, he could have at least offered a shaky but somewhat believable excuse, like: “I opened a car door on myself” or “I got hit with a hockey puck.”

But with two black eyes, no one was going to be fooled. So Richard simply sulked around the office for three weeks, avoiding eye contact with others.

The tomfoolery that Richard had engaged in left him with a nickname that, for good reason, he hates. He is now known to his office mates as The Panda.

As I was casting about for an end to this blog about the foibles of the human condition, I decided it should end with a moral – you know, the kind you get from an Aesop’s fable.

At first I thought of: “The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t drink from the same dirty well twice.”

Then I thought of something better. And it is:

“A Panda should never pick a fight with a Russian bear.”

Sorry.  I couldn’t resist.

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