Last week Dennis and I took a road trip to beautiful downtown Cedar City for SUU’s fall lineup of plays. We went with old and dear friends. Jeff and Barb Booth are very comfortable to travel with, partly because we have made this annual pilgrimage to indulge our fetish for drama every year since medical school. We four have passed through every phase of life together, from sideburns to mullets, new babies to grandchildren, internship to practice. Shared time and experiences tend to mellow people through the years, and seasoned friendships take on the relaxed contentment of cozy slippers. We have arrived at that golden point of our lives where we have stopped denying bowel realities and laugh uproariously at the preposterously embarrassing bodily emissions of the aged.
The two plays we attended were “Dial M For Murder,” and “The Winter’s Tale,” by Shakespeare. The first is a tale of suspense, dramatized to challenge one’s sphincter control. This could have been dicey because much of the audience was composed of seniors from a tour bus, wearing name tags. Seeing this production motivated me to do a lot of scrapbooking just so I could keep a pair of Samaria scissors handy. Dennis gave me a wide berth when he noticed me sorting through old photographs.
The second play centers on a king, whose tyranny wrongs his queen and destroys a cherished friendship. Both plots involve mischief, murder mayhem, and jealous husbands who, except for the mercy of a humane playwright, could have caused the death of their wives. Hmmmm. The concepts were compelling. Husbands who murder their wives. Hmmmmm. Oh, the power of the theater! And the power of suggestion on a weak mind. I kept a close eye on Dennis as I trimmed our pictures with the scissors from my sewing basket. (OK, I don’t really have a sewing basket, but it serves to produce tension.)
Finally, I nonchalantly asked him, “Do you think you have any jealousy issues? I mean, do you ever have suspicions about…me?” He just gave me that “look.” I had recently visited my dermatologist, Dr. Igor, who had assaulted me with an evil vial of smokin’ liquid primordial ooze and a cattle prod. I looked like I had done fifteen rounds with a blow torch whose cauterizing quotient could have stemmed the flow of Niagra Falls…and lost. Dennis pointed me to the nearest mirror and said gently, “You’re safe!” I was reassured, sort of, but a little disappointed. Did his lack of jealousy stem from default? Hmmmmm. So I decided to put down my scissors and begin investigating the possibilities of body dismorphia.
From Cedar City, we headed for scenic drives through Escalante, Torrey and Bryce Canyon. We went on numerous hikes (mostly consisting of easy walks on level terra firma), and ate like starving carnivores. When we returned to our room, I noticed that the diamond was missing from my wedding ring. I nearly hurled the fatted mastadon I had just consumed. I became dizzy and disoriented, which is my behavior of choice in any crisis. We searched the premises in vain. Dennis was meticulous. I was uttering profanities. To make matters worse, I wasn’t even sure when I’d lost it. It could have been at Bryce. It might have happened when Margot stabbed Lesgot. It could have fallen into the last spoonful of mashed potato inadvertently left on my plate.
I was sick. I slept sad. In fact, I didn’t sleep. I just lay there and cursed obscenities into my pillow.
The odds against finding that little gem were enormous. But Dennis awoke the next morning with a smile and a plan. That’s his behavior of choice in any crisis. We would carefully remove our luggage, and then search every inch of the room until we found it. I was OK with that idea, because my plan was to “Thelma and Louise” ourselves over the Grand Canyon.
After all our luggage was loaded in the car, we knelt on the floor. As we lifted my final duffle bag, the diamond rolled between us. Whoa! We were all amazed. Whoda thunk it. The odds of that happening seemed definitely not in our favor. The odds were wrong.
There are those who claim that numbers don’t lie. Digital calculations are immutable. But I think they can be deceitful and misleading to the point of pernicious perjury. After recovering the missing diamond, I have decided to ignore any odds not in our favor. I will respond only to positive numbers. I will reset my mathematical compass daily to the sweet spot of the affirmative. And should there be those foolish enough to offer anything contradictory, the last thing they will see as they skid under the bus is the flash of my diamond ring.