They say that no good deed ever goes unpunished. Now I know Mrs. Newsome, my fifth-grade English teacher, already has her red pen out ready to write at the top of my paper, “Just who are they? Can you cite an example of they?”
I really don’t know who “they” are, but them folks are right. No good deed ever goes unpunished. And yes, I can cite an example, Mrs. Newsome. Just lend me your ear.
Last week The Wife left me. To some that may not be a surprise. To others it may be a surprise she hasn’t left a long time ago, but have no fear. The Wife will soon return from her business trip and all will be right in the world. Well, at least at our house.
To send her on her way safely, I suggested we switch cars for the day so I could get the oil changed. It could easily be worked into the busy day of running errands I had lined up. Unfortunately for me, it poured rain the entire next day. Why unfortunately? Well, that’s where the pink umbrella comes in.
In my defense, had I known the only protection from the torrent of rain that had been left in her car was a miniature pink parasol, I would’ve chosen one of the five large manly umbrellas we have in the basement. This discovery was made at my first stop, the ear doctor’s office located inside our local hospital. Of course, all the close parking spaces were taken, so in hurricane winds and sheets of rain, my pink parasol and I paraded proudly across the football field-sized parking lot.
Halfway across the parking lot, the parasol was sucked inside out and turned into a giant pink bowl on the end of a metal rod, which quickly filled with water. At the hospital’s front doors came another gust of wind that sucked the parasol right-side out again and dumped its contents on little old me. Measured by their laughter, the bystanders were quite amused.
I smiled, parasol in hand, and proudly walked past. Besides, I think a few of the ladies were actually jealous. They wanted the pink parasol.
The elevator ride to the third floor was uneventful, except for the three women who snickered at me. They too wanted my pink parasol. It was starting to turn into a status symbol. Proudly I walked through the ear doctor’s waiting room to sign in … where the receptionist also eyed my parasol. Either that or she was wondering why I was wet from head to toe. I think it was the parasol.
Eventually, the nurse called me back. Following her to the exam room, I informed her I knew she was jealous of my pink parasol, but it really belonged to my wife. She just smiled and closed the door. Ten minutes later the doctor came in, wearing – I kid you not – a light pink shirt and dark pink tie. I quickly hid my pink parasol. It would go perfectly with his ensemble.
He asked me if I had any hearing loss. I said, “No, I heard all the laughter at the front door just fine.” He smiled then stuck a long suckie straw in my ear.
I asked him if he’d ever heard that the only thing one should stick in one’s ear is one’s elbow. He smiled, wrote me three prescriptions, told me I had an ear infection and a nice pink parasol.
At least that’s what I think he said. I really couldn’t hear because that suckie thing was really loud. As ear doctors go, though, he was one of the best. And one of the best dressed. He told me to see him in two weeks.
My pink parasol and I were in and out of the rain the rest of the day. And everywhere we went, I proudly announced that, yes, it was mine and I was secure enough in my manhood to admit it. Besides, if my ear doctor can look stylish wearing a pink shirt and tie, then certainly I can carry a pink parasol.
When The Wife got home, I told her about the trials of my day. When she finished laughing, to my surprise, she told me to keep the pink parasol. She said, “It will match your five new pink shirts — the former white shirts that you washed last week with the red comforter.”
I guess real men, and ear doctors, do wear pink after all.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for more than two decades and a columnist for The Citizen since 2001. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.]