I dunno how many of you have heard my comedy CD “3 O’clock Parade” (Which is available now on this very website for the low, low price of “whatever you feel like paying for it.”), but I’m about to set the record straight on one of the jokes. So, if you haven’t, listen to the CD before you read this blog. If you don’t have an hour to spare, just listen to track 3 (“How I Met My Wife.”) Reading any further without hearing the joke will spoil said joke for you.
OK, now that we’re all on the same page, the track tells very little about how I actually met my wife, but it tells the story of me at 17 and a girl who was 13. In case you didn’t JUST listen to the joke, I’ll give you the punchline-ruining cliff’s notes: When I was 17, I was in a play with a 13 year old gal who had a crush on me. Let’s call this girl, “Jennifer” (because that’s her name). Nothing came of this crush, but we were good friends. When I moved away to college she told me “call me when I turn 18.” Years later, I DID call here when she turned 18 and, “that skank never called me back.” It sounds like an elaborate joke I made up, but it is based on a true story. In very much the same way that the movie Argo is based on a true story…as in, I left a large part of that story out. As I’ve been going through these old letters, I found some from her to me and from me to her.
First off, she was not a “skank!” That’s just a funny word. I chose it because it’s not a swear word and it didn’t seem that offensive, but now that I see it written out, it seems overly hostile…maybe even a little misogynist. (If I ever do that joke on stage again, I’ll swap in a different word.)
Second of all, the reason she didn’t call me back was because she answered the phone and we talked for a good long while. After that we exchanged a few emails (That was easiest since she was in Stockton and I was in San Jose. Oh, for those of you not from the bay area, that’s about 89 miles apart). One day, I got a snail mail letter from her. I found this letter recently when I was gong through my stash of old letters. In it, she said the following:
Just as we have never talked about age – we have never discussed whether or not we are in relationships. So you have to know I have a boyfriend. I’m not sure why we have never talked about it but I definitely don’t want you to think badly of me or expect anything more than friendship. I probably haven’t been more upfront because I would really like to be friends with you! I think you are a great person and fun to be with and would love to have you in my life as a friend.
What I like about that is it’s not a rejection, because I haven’t asked her out. It’s a PREjection. I totally got “friend zoned” by someone I hadn’t seen in probably 4 years. But you know what, throughout this and the rest of the letter she bends over backwards to be as nice about it as possible. So I went to look for my reply letter or email…nothing. As far as I can tell, I never replied. It’s possible I called her or the email got lost on my old OLD Hotmail account…but I’m beginning to think I was just a douche bag. That’s a shame. When I look back on my life, I usually cast myself as the “nice guy” who always finishes last until he finally gets his reward in the end. (By “reward,” I mean the sweet life I have now…wife, kid, etc.) But really, I think I’m actually the modern inversion of the “nice guy” trope. The one the audience THINKS is gonna end up with the girl because he’s got a heart of gold, but actually turns out to be a bigger douche than the “jock.”
Which makes what I DID find even crazier. Her letter was probably written in late 2000 maybe early 2001. The only other letter I found was a snail mail letter from me to Jennifer…from 2005. In it’ I had the gall to say:
This letter is intended to find Ms. Jennifer [last name redacted]. My name is Tim Babb. We knew each other “back in the day” …as the kids would say.
I was going through some old letters and videos, because my high school reunion is coming up, and I realized that the one person I most regret having lost contact with wouldn’t be there. Imagine my dismay. How would I find out how you’ve been? What you’ve been up to? So this is the best idea I could come up with for how to regain contact…short of going door to door with a special glass slipper that only you would fit…but that seemed a little time/cost prohibitive.
So here’s my information if this is Jennifer and you’d like to get in touch,
(yes…my nickname is [nickname TOTALLY redacted, baby] now…I’m a stand-up comedian and I’m on the radio here in San Jose…ya know what, it’s a long story)
Well if this is Jennifer, I hope to hear from you soon.
…and of course if this ISN’T Jennifer, I’ve just given you all the info you need to stalk me. And that’s a good thing…it has to be. So I look forward to meeting you, Non-Jennifer Person. And perhaps YOU can tell me whatever became of Jennifer. (Note: if you are not Jennifer, you will not have picked up on the 12 year old inside joke cleverly placed into this paragraph… although to be fair, if you are Jennifer, you may have missed it also…12 years is a long time, for Zeus’s sake)
Well nothing left now but to mail this and wait and hope…and feel like a huge goof ball for doing this at all.
-Tim (a.k.a. Papa… a.k.a. Apollo… a.k.a. Random Idiot)
Yeah, buddy, it’s a mystery why you lost contact with her. Despite that there are several “clever” references to the plays we were in together (One was about Cinderella and we played Cinderella’s parents. The other was about gods on Mount Olympus, I played Apollo and she played a mortal), this is a sad attempt to make up for pulling away when she asked to be friends all those years ago.
Needless to say, she never wrote back. In fact, I’ve never heard from her again. Every time there was a new social network I’ve attempted to look her up…no luck. Near as I can tell she was never on Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter. (How is that possible? She must have become a spy or something) I did find her younger brother back in the MySpace days. I shot him a message, no response. I can only imagine what happened when he got my message…
“Hey sis, the guy who became your yardstick for measuring jerks wants to get in touch.”
“Tell him to die in a Christmas fire.”
“That catchphrase won’t exist for another 4 years.”
“Ok then, just ignore him.”
So I have no idea what she’s up to, if she’s happy, etc. Well, I hope she’s happy. She was a super sharp and fun kid. I assume she grew into a super sharp and fun adult. Alas, I may never know…because I was a douche bag.
This would be bad enough on it’s own, but this box of letters I’ve found has at least 2 more examples of women I’ve treated badly. No wonder I seem like such a jerk on TANcast. I think I’ve been one for years.