Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 13, 2013

FROM THE VALLEY: It was something somebody said

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Several years back, my brother-in-law, Joe, joined my friend, Ralph and me in a round of golf. At the time, Joe was new to the sport and had just ‘duffed’ his tee shot. I suggested that he try keeping his head down. Joe looked at me and laughingly said, “If I do that I won’t see it when I hit a good one.”

My buddy, Ralph, never broke stride as he got into the cart and fired back, “You won’t see one if you look up, either.”

I love off-the-cuff remarks like that.

One of my favorite TV shows was the sit-com “Cheers.” In one episode, Diane, the pseudo-intelligent, condescending barmaid walked around all day with a pencil and a pad of paper trying to document witty ad-libs. Sam, the bartender, tried in vain to say something noteworthy so that Diane would take notice and include it in her collection. Unfortunately, his forced efforts failed to make the slightest blip on her radar screen.

Coincidentally, I remember sitting in a local gin-mill one day having a friendly discussion with J.C. - a long-time friend. A guy swaggered in and plopped down beside beside us. For the sake of this anecdote, you need to know that this guy was somewhat height-challenged at about 5 foot 4 – at best. (Nothing wrong with that, I’m just saying..)

He proceeded to interrupt us with his alcohol-fueled bantering. Not once or twice, but enough to be obnoxiously annoying. We tried to ignore him but that didn’t work. He then made a comment about my weight gain. I replied, “Well, it looks like you’ve put on a few pounds, too.” (Great comeback, huh!?)

Ratcheting his offensiveness up, he responded with, “Oh yeah?! Well at least, I can still see my feet.”

My buddy, JC, lifted his bottle, paused, then peered over his glasses at the clown sitting beside him and said, “Maybe that’s because you’re so close to them.” Bullseye! A shot heard around the bar.

And there are those spontaneous remarks that are unique because of their mis-interpretation:

My mother was of the belief that a meal always tasted better if you didn’t have to prepare it. The cooking diminished the enjoyment-factor because nibbling and being subject to the aroma for too long would callous the appetite. This was Mom’s thought process and we were reminded of it on a regular basis.

My wife and I were married for less than a year when we traveled back to visit my parents. We sat down to one of Mom’s dinners and my wife commented on how good everything was. “It’s delicious,” so went the conversation.

Mom casually responded with, “That’s because you didn’t cook it!”

Say what? My wife didn’t realize that Mom was simply stating her philosophy and not handing her a report card on her culinary skills.

A somewhat similar mis-communication: Years ago, my brother’s fiance, who was doing her best to impress my parents, was riding with them – and my brother - on their way to a restaurant. It was a get-acquainted situation.

In those days, character was paramount. And knowing Mom and Dad, they were tuned in to see what this girl was all about. Was she respectful? What kind of morals did she have? Would she be good enough of a wife for their son - and mother to their grandchildren?

As the car motored by a picturesque field with rolling hills, which happened to be a cemetery, my brother’s girlfriend – merely observing the serenity of the final resting place - noted aloud, “What a great place to get laid!”

Mom had no philosophy to cover that one. She was too busy trying to keep Dad from driving off the road, anyhow.

And, for now, that’s the way it looks from the Valley.

Tom Valley is a Medina resident. His column appears every Thursday. Contact him at tvalley@rochester.rr.com.