Thursday of last week, we were, as you recall, surrounded in the new office by tech geeks and telephone installer dweebs.
As I recall, I had washed my only pair of sneaks the night before, and that morning the trick of sticking them in front of the refrigerator vent hadn't completely dried them, so instead I wore to work my very old pair of size 12 (broken down) Hi-Tek Magnums, the boots I usually wear when riding the bike.
Rode hard and put up wet doesn't even describe that wonderful pair of warhorses. I bought them brand new in I think 1993, while I was still at Toys Backward R Us, and have worn them pretty heavily since then, so for 11 year old boots they're doing pretty well, even with seams bursting and the right toe so worn I can't even polish it black anymore. There's a lot of stories in those old boots, but that's for another post.
So there I was, at work wearing my boots, working like a dog, and of course sweating, well 'heavily' doesn't do the thing justice. I was sweating like a waterfront whore on a payday during Navy shoreleave. So there I was, sweating a lot, because most of the work involved carrying rather heavy items out of buildings and into the heat, or out of the heat into buildings, and toward the end of the day I just had to take off my boots. Sturdy they are. Comfortable they are. Breathe they do not do so well, and whick moisture they do not at all. Love them though I do, I tossed them behind my desk, and went on in my argyles.
I found myself soon thereafter in the bullpen talking to the Clinical Manager, her assistant, the DOO and my daughter the BOM, and while we chatted about where things were to be stored, the gent with the phone company, who had been kneeling for a while working on some cabling, stood up and said something to the effect of "Man, my feet are asleep! I feel like I don't have any feet."
That's all it took.
In a flash of inspiration to beat all before it, and a strained connection to a memory I thought I didn't even have anymore, a joke in it's purest form came to me. It was going to be perfectly-timed, delivered with deadly accuracy, and even have a solid literary background. It was a joke to end all jokes. It was the King Joke, and I delivered it like royalty.
I made a theatrical glance at my argyle-socked feet, made certain I had everyone's attention with that glance, then looked up at the group in general and in my most somber voice intoned: "I wept because I had no shoes," (here I glanced over at the phone tech,) "...until I met a man with no feet."
Utter silence greeted me.
Not a groan, not a moan, and worst, not a giggle. 'Tough room' I thought to myself.
It finally elicited a groan from the CM, who is an amateur thespian (that's a theater actor, you dirty-minded gits) and then the telephone tech, not to be left out, asked me how long I had been waiting to use that joke.
How long? My sweet stars and garters man, a joke like that is not held in reserve, waiting for the single moment that I might be sock-footed and someone just so happened to have pins-and-needles in their feet, THEN MENTION IT IN CONTEXT. That opportunity would be a million to one shot. That joke came sleeting down to me from jokion-rich outer space, landed in the willing and eager spongy recepticle of my mind, and sprang from my mouth with ease and grace unlike any joke I had ever produced before.
And the ripe seed fell upon barren ground.
I was warned this would happen, but I obviously wasn't ready for it to happen to me. Tragedy. Pure and utter tragedy. Weep a while with me, won't you?