I was listening to a sports talk show on my way into work a couple of weeks ago and heard the following conversation…
I don’t remember what the caller originally was talking about. Whatever it was, he didn’t sound very animated. Indeed, he sounded rather depressed. So one of the hosts decided to try to cheer him up with that day’s giveaway. The problem is, that day’s giveaway was, of all things, tickets to the Nutcracker Market. (For those of you who do not live in Houston, this is an artsy-craftsy thing that happens around Christmastime every year in Houston. I’m not saying there is no overlap between “people who want to go to the Nutcracker Market” and “people who call into sports talk shows,” but it’s hard not to feel like the Nutcracker Market’s marketing division couldn’t have found more effective places to give away their tickets.)
So the host decides to cheer him up. He therefore says:
“You know, you sound like you’re not having a very good day so far.”
“Oh, I’m fine,” answers Dave with calm stoicism, “I have my coffee.”
“Okay,” says the host, “so I’m going to give you…” And suddenly he realizes what it is that he’s supposed to be giving away this morning, and his tone of voice changes to one of open embarrassment: “…now, Dave, can you please try to sound like you actually want this? I have [you can see him wincing right through the radio] two tickets to the Nutcracker Market for you.”
Dave says, in the deepest and driest of Texas drawls, “Sure, why not?”
The host tries to think of a way to help Dave look on the bright side. “You can always give them to…do you have a wife or a girlfriend?”
Dave, with all the world-weariness in the whole wide weary world: “Well, my ex-wife is still stalking me.”
The host starts laughing with a certain amount of excitement, as he has just thought of a way to redeem the situation. “Oh, okay, I got it, here’s what you do: put the tickets in an envelope and mail them to your ex-wife, and sign the name of some random guy she works with. Then maybe she’ll start stalking him instead of you!”
Dave agrees, in his best interpretation of Eeyore, that that could work.
The co-host interjects himself into the conversation at this point. “Dave, you sound like there’s a story behind this. What happened with the crazy ex-wife?”
Dave briefly tells a story that begins with his having been raised to believe that marriage was for better or for worse, and with his trying to avoid filing for divorce, but then when his then-wife asked him to take her to the bus so she could go to North Carolina to hook up with some dude she had met on Facebook — proposing to leave her son with Dave while she was gone — “at that point,” says Dave, still with no apparent emotion other than resignation, “I decided, that’s it, I’m done.”
There is a moment’s silence. Then the host says, with the air of one who has made up his mind to a damn-the-torpedoes course of action, “Dave, there is no way I am giving you Nutcracker Market tickets. Do you want to go see some college football?”
And Dave answers, “HELL YES!” Maybe the coffee finally started working?