Brooks McBangerson is one of those girls that never takes a compliment well. She was a young, smart, cute lass with a quirky sense of humor. We recently began carpooling to work, after my car took a dump on me. Brooks and I would have great conversations during the long drive and ,even though youth prohibited her grasping the full hilarity of my witty banter, we got along quite well; except for the helpful compliments I would give.
For instance, at least one morning a week, we would stop by a bakery so she could pick up a doughnut. Now this may seem quite innocent and I agree it is. The first time I let it slide. The second time I said, "Do you think eating that is such a good idea?" She looked at me as if I called her fat. To the contrary, I was simply suggesting an attractive girl like her may not want to eat that many doughnuts. Maybe my diction was misunderstood.
Misunderstanding number 2, I complimented her on the pants she was wearing. I just said, "It's too bad they did not have them in her size." I just meant they looked a little big, you know. Another instance, I said to her one morning, "It's so great that you are not worried about how you look at work." Again I just meant it is refreshing that she was comfortable with herself without getting all made up everyday. Simple, right?
Fast forward to Friday. We are on the way to work, made a quick stop at the bakery (of course), and got back on the interstate. A few miles down the road, her rear passenger radial tire blows. The car shutters to a stop on the shoulder. I glance over and say, "Well I guess we are changing a tire. Normally, I would do it myself, but I might need those wide shoulders of yours to help me with the heavy stuff." She scowled for some reason and we got out of the car. We opened the trunk to find not a spare tire, but a metal folding chair. I questioned the situation, "What the deuce, Bangs?" ( I called her Bangs a lot). She then recalled the spare tire was already on the car. I suggested we call the emergency road assistance and so we did.
20 minutes later, the emergency truck pulls up. To my utter surprise, the guy that came to help was one of my oldest friends. His name was Charlie. We were best friends from 1st grade through high school. We had drifted apart after graduation; mainly due to a misunderstanding over a girl. Charlie rushed over and shook my hand and I introduced him to Bangs. Charlie said, "You are a beautiful girl Brooks. Why are you hanging out with this geek?" We all laughed. Charlie and I caught up a little while he was fixing the tire. We settled our old misunderstanding and agreed to get together sometime soon. Charlie handed me the jack and I tossed it back in the trunk. I slammed it shut, wielded the metal folding chair, and swung into Charlie's face. After several direct blows, Charlie lay twitching in the weeds. I softly said, "Don't call me a geek Charlie." Bangs screamed; she always overreacts.
I finally got her back in the car and we take off down the road. There was silence for awhile. I finally glanced over and said, "Bangs, I love that shirt, but you may want to stick with vertical stripes. They are much more forgiving than the horizontal stripes." She nodded...good old Bangs.