Love, Plumbing Problems, and the True Meaning of Togetherness

“Honey, come here.” She called out.

“Ok.” I called back. Why do bad things happen just when you get comfortable in your favorite chair, your coffee still warm, feet up, not an interrupting phone call all day, and then that danged Karma bites you on the butt. It stings, but you realize this is only the initial stage of that SOB’s revenge.

“Now!” She calls.

Oooo. That sounds ominous. There is a special shrill tone in a woman’s voice that pierces a man’s ears like that first scratchy riff on a Grateful Dead song. By God, it hurts. “Right now” means your peaceful Sunday evening is over. In fact despite the speed of sound being 767 miles per hour, your wife’s cry for help reaches your ears faster.

Halfway down the hall one whiff and I knew what was wrong. Just as I turned the corner she informed me, “The toilet is overflowing”. At that point it was obvious my peaceful evening was but a faint memory. Both toilets had overflowed and the bathtubs were belching like that guy who just won the hot dog eating contest. Bet his bathroom suffered the next day.

I am a firm believer bad news comes in threes. At our house fours, fives, and once a seven showed up. Bad would be if she had walked into the bathroom and noticed water flowing from the top lip. That’s bad alright. This was worse. Poo city…everywhere.

She jumped out of the way so fast and sprinted down the hall at a speed NFL wide receivers would envy and she has MS and a bad knee. In a way it was almost a miracle and I admired her athleticism.

We made frantic calls for a plumber. It was Sunday evening and plumbers always take vacations in France each weekend from Friday at 5 pm until Monday at 8 am. This is without exception. We called our plumber, “Oxford Plumbers”, and his answering machine said, “Please call Monday. I will be in France”. That was odd so we called a second plumber, “Kowalski Plumbing”. Nice Polish name. The answering machine said, “Please call Monday. I will be in France”. After three more attempts with the same result I have made the deduction France is the place for plumbers on the weekends. Perhaps, they make so much money during the week they can afford to vacation on the Rivera on weekends. I don’t know. Whatever the cause, there was a total absence of plumbers from the State of Mississippi. We were stuck.

There once was a lawyer who, as the story goes, had a plumbing problem so he calls a plumber. The plumber shows up, takes ten minutes to fix the pipes and hands the lawyer a bill for $767.43. “What!” Shouts the lawyer. “You only took ten minutes and you charged $767.43. I’m a lawyer and I don’t charge that much.” The plumber looks at him, smiles, and says, “I used to be a lawyer.”

Of course, my wife didn’t want to go to a hotel because she would have to leave the cats. This makes no sense because they use the litter box as far as I know. More on that later. So we stayed. Scented candles were lit everywhere and the repairman prayer was offered up. “Lord, send me a repairman to remedy this plague that has come upon us. Deliver us from further inconvenience and misery. Spare us from being over charged, and forgive our own incompetence and inability to correct this situation for ourselves. Amen.” My father was an electrician and heard this same plea to the Almighty many times. I was taught it as a child in the hope that I too would become an electrician. Today, I can barely locate the breaker box to flip back on the lights when necessary.

Our saga continues. Naturally, after an hour or so I had to pee. For me this wasn’t a problem, I stepped out on the back porch and with ample aim cleared the porch and numerous potted plants that line the sides and cover the exits. Now to the problem.

My wife had a total knee replacement a few years ago and cannot bend it much. It still hurts and she often has great difficulty walking and stooping. It was late. We went to bed. At around 3 am I heard the call I feared would be coming, “Wes, wake up I have to go to the bathroom.” I knew it would come and I dreaded it.

“Honey, here are your options: 1. Use the kitty litter box. Too bad if the cats object. I don’t care at 3 am. 2. Go outside.”

“No”. She said.

“No to what? The litter box or outside?”

“Both.” Have you ever been put in a spot where you are magically expected to solve a problem for your wife and all of your reasonable solutions are rejected?” I have.

“Honey, what else do you want me to do? I could get one of those mason jars from under the sink but that’s going to leave a mess. So pick.”

Oh, so reluctantly, and because she was so desperate, she said, “Let’s go in the front of the house and I’ll squat while holding onto the front fender of the car. Do you think that will work?”

“Sure.” I lied. You know I lied. Men reading this passage will all say quietly to themselves I would have lied too!

By this time nature and those two glasses of tea I drank began calling to me. It’s a funny thing and perhaps caused by forty seven years of marriage, whatever is on my wife’s mind enters my mind too. If she decides she wants a snack, before I realize it, so do I. If she says let’s turn off the tv and listen to music, that is exactly what I was going to suggest. If her feet get cold, suddenly I realize my feet are freezing too. Is she performing Mr. Spock’s Vulcan Mind Meld technique on me? Is it voodoo? The power of suggestion?

Out we go. We did not dare turn on the porch lights for fear of waking the neighbors. As soon as she squats down holding onto the fender, an overwhelming need to go hits me like a wild pitch. I take a few steps away. In the middle of my most excellent and I might add accurate stream she cries, “Help me. I’m slipping.” Her knee was giving out.

“I can’t help, baby. I’m still going.”

“Help.” She cried pitifully.

I did the Native American rain dance all the way over to her. The one where you hop on one leg and then hop on the other. All the while I am holding my, well, let’s just say I am holding a substantial personal asset. Ok, maybe not exactly substantial, dang it, at least adequate. (My wife made me change the “substantial“ part. I am shamed). As I struggle trying to help her up with one hand, I contend with that asset I mentioned – and none too successfully. It is awkward.

Finally, and after much coaxing and employment of especially descriptive Anglo Saxon verbs, I got her almost up. She slips down. We both give up. It is hopeless. She just sits there on the ground and let’s go. I take a few steps back and so do I. Ah, sweet relief at last. Nirvana. Bliss. Solace. You guys know exactly what I mean.

We start over. I fetch a chair from the house for her to hold onto. She is unable to get up because the knee with the total replacement gives out. I get behind her and start pushing her up. She still has her under britches down around her ankles. I keep pushing, and pushing and she keeps struggling and struggling. I cannot help her up. My offer to call the fire department was sternly rejected. The suggestion to call the neighbor and his two sons met with so fierce a look it could have melted industrial steel.

I got behind her and pushed and pushed once more. I am sweating and grunting. Finally, I say, “If someone comes outside right now they’re going to think we’re out here at 3.30 in the morning having sex in the front yard.” It was so preposterous we both fell out on the ground laughing hard enough to wake the neighbors.

Another try, “Girl, yo butt is so white if a car comes along and shines his lights the driver will go blind.” She turns her head slowly and looks at me and then we fall down laughing again.

I’m thinking what if a cop car on patrol rounds the corner?

Cop -“Ah, sir, sir, what’s going on here?”

Me – “Nothing officer. We’re just checking to see if the grass needs mowing.”

Cop – “Put down that white object and raise your hands slowly.”

Me – “Officer, that’s my wife’s butt.”

Cop – “I said put it down.” He calls for backup.

I return to reality. After more attempts, she makes it upright. Taking no chances I hustle her in the house shutting the door. We clean up, sort of, and make it back to the bed. We settle down. I am almost asleep as she turns over and says to me, “Is my butt really that white?”

I am groggy, tired, and in need of sleep, yet my mind immediately senses the trap she sets.

“Course not. Go to sleep.” I ain’t no fool.

It’s like when your lady asks you, “Do you think I’ve gotten too big for this dress?” Despite the fact the fabric is stretched to its endurance and a button has flown off, only a complete imbecile says yes! “No, baby. Looks great on you.”

The next morning we again prayed for the appearance of a plumber. I was fully prepared to buy some adult depends or a much larger kitty litter box. Whatever it took. I was over the outdoor nature bathroom experience.

He came. He saw. He conquered. The plumbing was fixed. My former life returned. Life is bliss – until the toilet overflows again.

Wes Teel

The Professional Alcoholic

I could feel him staring at me from three seats back. He was disheveled and old. I think. Which in some men can be difficult to tell when they are not sartorially at their best. His uncut beard was white with age. His hair was white too. That’s not exactly right. It was that peculiar shade of grey mixed with a yellowish hue. His hair, I presumed, had once been blond. You couldn’t say it was long or short. A hair clipper and shampoo had not been acquainted with his scalp for some time. He fidgeted in his seat awaiting his turn at what accidentally passes for justice.

“As is the case in our criminal justice system, Monday mornings for many courts are arraignment days. In municipal court this usually involves handling all of the cases where arrests were made from Friday evening until Monday morning. The usual gamut runs from domestic violence, assaults, petty thefts, your odd peeping Tom, the DUIs who couldn’t bond out, and, of course, the public drunks.

What a Job

There is a small courtroom in the basement of the jail which is reserved for arraignments. This was more cost effective than transporting our unwilling guests downtown to the municipal court building. There are never defense lawyers there. The entire exercise is to “process”. We let them know the charges, ask if anyone wants to go ahead and plea or have a court date set, and assign a court appointed lawyer for those who qualify. In and out, in and out. If you do this job long enough, or as my predecessor warned me, too long, you get to know the customers (prisoners). We have quite a few frequent flyers. It is a bad thing being on a first name basis with the bailiff and the clerks, and worse yet, the judge.

A very pretty young lady appeared at arraignment who had been arrested for DUI. She had been at a wild party and foolishly decided to drive home. Not only do the police cars have video cameras but so does the station where the official intoxilizer machine records their alcohol levels when they “blow” into the tube. This lady was so drunk she was cussing up a storm and raising hell making threats against the police, the mayor, the governor, and there was some mention of her third grade teacher.

Party On

“Lady,” the arresting officer pointed out, “do you know you are being recorded and the judge is going to see everything you do?”

“Wad you say?”

“You’re being recorded. The judge is going to see this.”

“Where the damn camera.” She demanded. The cop dutifully pointed it out.

Suddenly, she pulled down her tank top shook her substantial assets at the video recording and said as loud as she could, “Hey Judgie baby, I’m Stephanie, baby. I ain’t drunk or nuthin. Let’s party.”

The cops added the charge of Indecent Exposure. Perhaps, a first for the police station. I think the officers just wanted to show off the evidence, so to speak.

Her turn came and I asked her how she wanted to plea to DUI and Indecent Exposure?

“I ain’t pleading to not nuthin, not nuthin at all cause y’all ain’t showed me the evidence.” She said.

“Ma’am, we don’t show you the evidence here, we just set a trial date if a person does not want to plea guilty.” I explained.

“I ain’t pleading, I ain’t saying anything more cause y’all won’t show me the evidence y’all are hiding. What y’all all afraid of, huh. Ain’t got nuthin on me?”

The prosecutor was on the ball. “Judge, I know this is highly unusual, but can we please show her the evidence now?”

“I ain’t going to no room with no cop. Y’all show me right here. That’s right. Show me.” She demanded.

“Ma’am, you don’t want to do that in court in front of these people.” I suggested.

“Do too,” she quickly imparted.

“Ok. Please set up the monitor and show her right here and right now.” I ordered.

That old adage to be careful what you ask for applies. She didn’t know she was the evidence.

So they played the full recording. Car swerving, being pulled over, falling down in the grass, and wanting to go pee.

When we got to the “Hey Judgie” part she reddened, slumped down as far as she could in her chair, put her hands over her face and sheepishly said she thought she might as well enter a guilty plea after all. I dismissed the Indecent Exposure charge. I understand the tape has become a staple at the P.D. and all beginning DUI officers are required to see it. By coincidence, a great many cops now volunteer to make DUI arrests.

An irate local businessman appeared in front of me one Monday morning. He had gotten so drunk at a football party he tried to walk home, lost his wallet, cell phone, and one shoe somewhere along the way. Our trusty constabulary swept him up from the side of the road and since he reeked of alcohol they tossed him in the drunk tank. He managed to sober up right at the moment the clerk motioned for him to come forward.

“Where the hell am I”, he incredulously asked as he limped his way to the front.

“You’re in jail.”

“Did the Saints win, where’s my wallet, where’s my shoe, oh, yeah, where’s my wife?” At least he had his concerns listed in order of his priorities. I like an organized person.

“I can’t be drunk cause I’m here.” Inescapable logic.

“Sir,” explained, “I think you have that reversed. You were drunk and that’s why you are here.” He was released. Embarrassed, but released. That’s what we did with the Public Drunk offenses. We just let them sober up and come Monday morning they were released with “time served”. Sort of like Otis the town drunk on the Andy Griffith Show. Off he went, still a good bit hung over. I was later told he called his wife to come get him, but after two more hours of waiting he called a cab. How he got back in his house much less paid the cabbie I don’t know.

Otis, the Original Professional Alcoholic

Casinos are everywhere and a mixture of transients escaping the cold weather or looking for menial jobs brings in the public drunks. They can be most interesting and sometimes the most pitiful. Sadly, former military members appear in their ranks at levels that did not exist in years before. Homelessness is the common denominator. Sadness is the rule.

Finally, we came to the poor guy who kept staring at me all morning. “Mr. Endris, you are charged with Public Drunk, sir.” I said.

“Public Drunk. Public Drunk. Why I never! I’ll have you know sir I am a professional alcoholic!” He boldly and indignantly declared.

“Good Lord. They weren’t supposed to pick you up. I am so sorry. This jail is only for nonprofessional drunks. Why, you have no business being here.”

Suddenly, the gentlemen pulled at his coat, adjusted his shirt collar and straightened right up. I reached all the way over the bench and shook his hand and he gladly reached back.

“It’s these rank amatures who give you professional alcoholics a bad name. I am tired it. Officer, you release this man instantly. He is a professional.” I ordered loudly. The Bailiff smiled.

He stood there and for a second we bonded, as they say we had a moment. He was proud of being a professional alcoholic and duly recognizable by a court of law as such. He adjusted himself and didn’t say another word, but as he left he turned around and gave me a little salute. I saluted back.

The criminal justice apparatus, especially on the lower rungs, has a multitude of flaws, and this court level is where most citizens come into contact with the system. There is no place to properly house and treat people who habitually suffer from substance abuse. Unless you have access to insurance, heartlessly you are all alone and at the mercy of the streets. The same is true of persons in need of mental health treatment. The overwhelming number of prisoners in jail should not be there and are suffering from untreated mental health issues. Treatment has the possibility of success. Incarnation has the certainty of failure. The cruelty of the system – and the politicians who refuse to recognize this human disaster and do something – is that society suffers from this uncaring neglect. Those who pass through the portals of the law are all in some way victims.

At least from time to time a judge can add a small amount of levity to the proceedings and thus humanize the process. People understand. It is not intended to be dismissive. Jail is no place for rehabilitation, only misery. If only, if only I could do more…

Wes Teel

Writer’s note. I am long retired but recall these stories as if yesterday. I trust you will understand the profound impact some of the defendants had on me. I occasionally wake up having what my wife refers to as a “court-mare”. She tells me to recess court and go home. Sleepily, I roll over and comply.

You See the Strangest Things in the Mississippi Delta

Flat, flat, flat. This could well describe one of my past girlfriends. My future wife ran her off some fifty plus years ago and still throws her looks up to me from time to time. “She was so mousy.” I am not entirely certain what mousy means and I am not about to ask. Of course, I am glad the so called mousy girl left my life because next in the dating line of succession was my beautiful wife.

Paul Simon sings in the song “You Can Call Me Al”: He ducked back down the alley, With some roly-poly little bat faced girl.

I like that song. Not sure about the roly-poly little bat faced girl though. Poor darling. I shudder to picture her. Don’t blame me for Mr. Simon’s ugly shaming. Or maybe the girl was some sort of vampire. I don’t know. I’m just glad my wife decided to settle on mousy for my former lady friend. In comparison I can live down a mousy girl. I would never recover from a roly-poly little bat faced girl. That would haunt me.

Romance always has two sides to the story. My version differs. She says she had to pursue me for months before I asked her out. I say I was playing hard to get. She says she gave hints. I say I thought she was dating someone else. She says she flirted with me. I say I had no idea. She says I only wrote her one lousy letter when I went off to be a summer camp counselor. I say I was pretty busy and anyway I was in the Sick Bay and was able to set aside the time to write the said one lousy letter. That’s my story and I would not tell it that way unless it was 100% true – mostly.

Ah, back to flat, flat, flat. We were riding through the Mississippi Delta this week coming back from an appointment in Jackson. We took a back road going to Greenwood in order see the countryside and to eat at a wonderful restaurant, The Crystal Grill. It is a gem. More on that later.

Cotton, cotton, and more cotton

The Delta is a contradiction. Monetary wealth. Grinding poverty. The fella driving into town in his old pick up may be a millionaire, so don’t be quick to judge. Desperation on the faces of some people. Spirit and spiritually in the eyes of others. Dried up dusty picked cotton rows. The pure beauty of a deer crossing from one field to the next, ears alert as if his life depends on it, and it does. We are originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast where by comparison life is lived in the fast lane. The beach, casinos, hurricanes, traffic – fast, fast, everything so fast. But, here, the big river rolls on and the pace of life in the Delta mirrors the ancient stream. Slow and seasonal. What is next has been and will be again. Somehow the people feel it.

Driving on back roads is an intriguing experience. From the interstate you do not participate in the grit and life of the people of the Delta. They are not living at the pace of other people. They cannot. The roads are long and monotonous until you slow down and come to a little town or crossing. A small church out in nowhere is not uncommon. Otherwise there are soybeans and cotton fields. Old black men on porches will wave to you if you wave to them. Your curiosity makes you think what their lives are like. You wonder if their grandchildren have moved away, if their friends are still alive, if the awful heat of an August in Mississippi can be survived another year. But drive on you do.

We passed the most interesting political sign. A gentleman was running for Sheriff of some county I forget now. His name was Head. “Sheriff Head”. More and more Head signs appeared as we barreled down the ribbon of semi even pavement. “Elect Head Sheriff”, one enormous sign read. I, no, I couldn’t have seen that, could I?

“GIVE HEAD A CHANCE” it read.

Now that is a slogan worth remembering. I wanted to stop and take a picture of it. “You are not stopping”, my wife told me.

“But, honey, I have to have a image of that marquee. No one would believe me.” Oh, what a joy to be on this guy’s campaign staff. TV ads saying, “Head to the Polls”, “He’s way a HEAD in the polls.” What is Mr. Head’s day job? Could he – forgive me – run a Head Shop? The possibilities while not endless are exciting and risqué.

“You just drive on. I’m hungry,” she offered. She gave me the look. She has a Masters Degree in Education and taught the public school children of our state for twenty four years before she had to medically retire. I know the look. I respect the look. I do not lightly disregard the look. Her mother taught for forty three years – mostly third grade. She had the look too. Her dad taught for thirty six years and was a high school principal. He had the look also. I thought I was going to experience it when I asked for my wife’s hand in marriage. He took pity and spared me the look.

When I am subjected to the look there is a line clearly delineated. You want to cross that line, you need to cross that line, you think about crossing that line. The look is a power much like The Force. You buck up your courage to try to cross that line.

“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda.

I pause. Yoda, fool you never had to live with a woman. What the heck do you know?

I drove on.

It was either an extraordinary disregard of common sense to have as a campaign slogan “GIVE HEAD A CHANCE” or – and this is the riveting part – an exercise in political courage. I cannot figure out which. But, you know what, I’d dang sure vote to GIVE HEAD A CHANCE. Come on, what self respecting mature and somewhat fun loving person wouldn’t GIVE HEAD A CHANCE, in the political sense, of course! I mean really.

In Greenwood there is a business we drove by called Kum N Go. Yeah, it made me pause too. What possibly could they sell there? Is it some sort of exotic sex store out in the middle of the Mississippi Delta? The Bible Belt? Say it ain’t so. A seedy escort service where the ladies arrive by pickup truck and not taxi? Is there a companion store called the Easy Kum N Easy Go? The mind boggles.

“Myrna, I’m stopping this car. I’m going in the Kum N Go. I have to see what the heck they are selling in there.” (There is such an establishment. I am not making it up.) I speculated, could they be supporters of GIVE HEAD A CHANCE? What a coincidence. Meteors crash more often in the middle of a prime time televised SEC football game. This must be fate. You cannot stop fate.

“We’re not stopping. I’m hungry.” There it was, the look.

I drove on.

Ah, the Crystal Grill. Our destination. It sits in downtown Greenwood. Our car bumped over the railroad tracks and right there on a corner is what looks to be a block long old, old brick building which seems to slump. Greenwood was once a thriving north Mississippi community. It’s population has been on a steady tailspin. Except for growing cotton there are no jobs to be found. All the young people move away. Fast. There is the feeling of being in another time and place. The father of our friend Katherine was the mayor years ago. He ate at the Crystal every day according to her. I can see why. Today, the mayor is a woman. What would he think about that?

We enter. The place coined the word quaint. The floors are laid in an ancient tile pattern. You can buy a Crystal Grill T shirt advertising the place is air conditioned. That must have been a novelty when it opened those many years ago. Underneath our table some of the tile was broken. I couldn’t care less and would have eaten on the floor. There is a room in the back where I suppose local business clubs must meet. A wonderful African American lady was our waitress.

I said I’d try the scallops.

“Un uh.” She said. “You don’t want that”.

“Well, what about the chicken?” I asked.

“Nope. You don’t want that neither.”

This was a singularly unique experience having a server telling me what I didn’t like. The last time was my mama telling me what to eat. I know the server was trying to be helpful and I appreciated her. She kinda had the look too. I bet she swatted her children when they were bad and hugged them the rest of the time. She had a heart. She was a real person and you could tell she enjoyed her customers. How the heck do all these people get the look?

“Ok. Can I have the fried oysters?” I willed her to say yes.

“Uh huh. You want that.” She affirmed. I sighed in relief.

“Creamed corn?” I looked up for guidance.

“Un huh.” She endorsed.

“Sweet tea?” Please say yes.

“Uh huh.”

My wife ate fried shrimp and loved them. My oysters were perfect. For desert we had the best coconut ever with meringue at least four inches high on top. How did they do that? Oh, yeah, why didn’t the waitress didn’t tell her what she could eat?

Coconut pie a la Crystal

There is in the small Delta town North Carrollton, Mississippi (trust me the community hardly seems capable of having a North and a South Carrollton, but it does) a most marvelous establishment called the Rayburn Trading Center. Run by Mike Rayburn. He sells antiques. Not like the fancy antique stores in some expensive building with exorbitant price tags. Mike smiles. It is a sincere smile on a white bearded face. He is a genuinely nice man. You can tell. He describes how he used to be a Boy Scout. So was I. He played baseball. So did I. He tells me about his open heart surgery so I hike up my shirt and expose the long zipper like scar running down my chest from a triple bypass. The Zipper Club we call it. Zipper Club members are required by our bylaws to discuss our medications. Membership dues are simple. Develop arteriosclerosis and/or have a heart attack. I choose the heart attack entry fee. We bond.

His shop contains unique objects. He has no fancy building. The entire staff is him. No sales pressure technique. You can look all day if you want. And, my wife would if I didn’t start acting antsy. We love this place and we have purchased several pieces of furniture from him and innumerable small objects. Go there if you get a chance.

P.S. Mike will bargain with you.

I have touched only a tiny fraction of Delta culture. There is much, much more. I still wonder about Mr. Head. I hope he wins. And, I don’t care what my wife says. I’m going in the Kum N Go next time we pass that way.

Wes Teel

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

She was mad. I had failed to heed her warning and she was hot…not hot in the sense that oh, man, she’s hot. But oh, God, she is hot now. I better run. Fast. We had failed to communicate. Since about the second grade I began to perceive boys and girls were different. Not just physically either. I couldn’t quite explain it. I am sixty nine years old and I still cannot explain it.

“Change the names. You can’t use real names. And, while we are talking about what you write, not one mention about what happened at Ship Island, and don’t you ever use my name!” She commanded. “Never, never ever tell the beached whale story. I mean it. You better never tell it again.” She was serious in that special way wives get when you know your life is in danger if you cross that line. You want to cross that line. You need to cross that line. But, in the end, assuming you have the desire to live another day, you don’t cross that line.

I threw down my computer tablet. Frustrated because I asked my wife to proof some material and she very kindly read it and offered some constructive suggestions. I don’t like having to reevaluate my work. It’s perfect on the first draft, or so I believe. Is it a man thing or a writer thing? But, I asked for it and she delivered. I just didn’t like what I was hearing. I knew she was right but I didn’t want her to be right. I wanted her to agree with me. My sincere and repeated apologies finally prevailed and we were friends again.

There is a famous line from he movie, “Cool Hand Luke” played by Paul Newman. In it the warden (Strother Martin) tells Luke (Paul Newman) after having the guards beat his ass, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” It wasn’t in the script. Martin just made it up on the spot and ad libbed it. His words rung so true the director left it in and since 1967 when the movie came out these words are in the public consciousness.

Women and men do not communicate the same way. There is a wonderful article in PscyhCentral by Richard Drobnic in July 2018 entitled 5 Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently. The following ideas are taken from it.

Men are directional. They think and speak in a straight line. There is a known direction to the process. Women on the other hand use communication to discover how they feel and what they want to say. They see it as an exercise in sharing and intimacy and bonding with the one they love. It is circular with much repetition before coming back to the issue at hand.

Men tend to be problem solvers and want to efficiently arrive at a solution. Not women though. They aren’t always searching for a solution but seeking someone to listen.

My wife often says, “Let’s talk.” This is an invitation to have a conversation about something. I’m sitting there thinking, “Why doesn’t she just start talking?” She’ll also announce the topic. “Let’s talk about the house.” As opposed to just going ahead and launching into a discussion about the house. It is setting an agenda for her. That’s kinda ok. At least I know what I am supposed to talk about.

To her, the objective is to engage in dialogue back and forth. To me, I just want to answer the question and solve her problem. Neither method is right or wrong. Each represents a process addressing how to arrive at a solution, or in her case to arrive at how she feels about a solution. We are both hard wired in our brains for these approaches.

A guy I know was balking at his wife’s request to immediately take out the garbage. He told her he didn’t want to take it out. She said, “But, I want you to want to take out the garbage.” Well, dang it, he took it out, of course!

She was in terms of “woman think” assuming he should just take out the garbage because it needs to be done. He was thinking in terms of “man think” there a thousand more important things going on. I’ll get to that chore sometime, maybe even this week. The garbage comes Thursday. What is her rush?

When the woman initiates the conversation the man assumes she is seeking his advice. The woman doesn’t always desire a solution, she wants someone to patiently listen. The listening part is the solution for her. Men, including me, have an enormous problem understanding this aspect of “woman think?”

Ladies, listen up. When a guy is feeling stressed about a problem often he will withdraw into a private space. He does not want to talk about it. This is his coping mechanism. Subconsciously, by withdrawing he is seeking to destress. Women cannot fathom this behavior and interpret this as his not wanting to “share” which is an integral part of their relationship. Resentment can build up. She thinks he is unreasonably shutting her out of his life. Ultimately, if she trusts him and gives him some space he will re-emerge fully engaged.

Men simply don’t like being told what to do (even if we need to be told). For women it may be better to suggest rather than dictate. “You need to mow the grass it looks terrible.” The guy is thinking I’m back in he third grade again. What about, “Honey, do you think the lawn is kinda high?”

Women don’t want their feelings minimized by their partners. “Well, you’re just letting yourself get too emotional about this.” To a woman she hears her feelings aren’t important and she is being marginalized. How about, “Honey, I know you’re upset. Do you want to talk about it?” Which means, I am willing to listen non critically.

Well, that’s the lesson for today. It, here are some examples of our theme.

My wife said, “You need to wash the car.”

I heard, “Honey, keep watching the game.”

She said, “Let’s go out to eat somewhere nice tonight.”

He heard, “Let’s get a hamburger at McDonald’s.”

She said, “I just want to sit here and have you hold me now.”

He heard, “Let’s get naked.”

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Wes Teel

Never Waste a Good Story – Even If It Isn’t True

The terrible scar ran down his leg from above to his knee to his ankle. It had healed and coalesced into rivulets of hard reddish scar tissue above the flesh. The pattern was odd as if a giant blender had somehow been flicked on when David’s leg was in the way. Self consciousness never plagued him. He wore shorts all summer and never paid any attention to what anyone thought. I rather admired him for that.

One day I asked him what happened. He truly was a great guy and had become a friend. He was, as my mother in law used to say about her cat, “humble”. Painfully so – David, not the cat.

Calmly he said, I was plowing on the tractor one day and fell off and the disc cut me up. .” End of story. No details and no drama. Sgt. Friday of Dragnet would have been proud. Just the facts ma’am.

“David, is that what you always say to people?”

“Well, yeah. It’s the truth.”

“No, no, no that’s boring. You can’t be saying that to people. Farming? Come on. That’s not exciting, man. Be creative.” I explained.

“What you need is a good story and you have to make it exciting. You just have to use your creativity. Tell them something they have never heard before. Something they can see in their mind with vivid detail.” I said.

“You mean lie.” David spat out

“Now, I wouldn’t put it exactly in those words, but yes. Lie your ass off and make it cool. Make it electrifying. Heck, man, make it sexy!”

Bingo. Got to him. Even without the scar David was about as sexy as your uncle Fred. The one who wore his pants several feet above his belly button and greased his hair straight back and had black glasses thick as mason jar bottoms. That Fred. You know that Fred. Nice guy, but so boring he couldn’t excite a howler monkey if he drove a three wheeler through the jungle, much less a lady.

“Listen, he’s what you say. I was sky diving. It was 15,000 feet. A blue clear sky. Perfect. I adjusted my goggles and stepped out in the plane’s open door feeling the slip stream, took a breath, and as the engine hummed to a pause jumped out. God, it was so amazing. As usual everything was tiny. Cars and trucks were like ants slowly crawling down a thin ribbon. The world was big. I was small. Then, it was time to pull the cord. I hit it. No chute. Well, that can happen. We are trained not to panic so I pulled once more. Nothing. Just air rushing by. I fell so far. Finally, it dawned on me to go for the emergency chute and I did. Oh, God it deployed. But, something wasn’t right. I was spinning around in a sickening spiral. It had caught on the main chute. Nothing could save me. I thought I was losing the ability to think and then abruptly I landed and completely crushed a hen house some farmer owned. My leg came down on a sharpened plough on the side. And, glad to be alive, I couldn’t care less about he leg.”

“Wow, Jesus, that was great,”David screamed.

Pleased with my efforts, I asked, “Ok, you got that? Say it back to me, David. Just like I told you. Women will be so impressed and guys will hold you in awe. Can you do it?”

He nodded.

“Ok. Now tell me what happened?”

“I fell off a hen house and cut my leg.”

I give up.

I had a skin rash on my hand which thankfully cleared up. But, my cover story was I saw a poor little dog trapped in a hot car. I couldn’t find anything to break the window and the dog was suffering so I had to use my fist to bust out the window and it got all cut up, but I saved that dog.” Women weeped.

My wife has a scar on her knee due to surgery – shark bite.

I have a hearing loss in my left ear – used to play backup base for The Stones. Mick was a trip.

I have a beard – first grew it on my initial climb up Mt. Everest. Too cold to shave.

We have a dent in the front bumper of the car – happened late at night on a back road through the woods when I ran over some strange hairy 8 foot beast. I stopped but all I could hear was some unearthly primordial scream in the distance.

Never waste a good a good story – even if it isn’t true!

(Author’s note. No actual truths or political beliefs were harmed during the writing of this story)

Wes Teel

Neighborhood Chester

We built a beautiful dream house in a great area with good schools. It was all we ever wanted in a home. It had a pool, a hot tub, built in storage and closets in every crevice, a cooking island, large utility room, and four big bedrooms with en-suite baths, a parlor, and an open concept den/kitchen. We loved it.

One day after I moved in I asked a neighbor why didn’t we have Neighborhood Watch. I said I’d be glad to contact the Chief of Police about it.

“No need,” said my neighbor. “We have Neighborhood Chester.”

“What is Neighborhood Chester?”

“You’ll see.” He said cryptically.

I had no clue what he meant. Soon, to my horror, I did.

All communities in the south have their resident busy body. Usually a retired older lady who owns cats, goes to the First Baptist Church, knew your grandparents, and shuns trick-or-treating kids as if they carried the bubonic plague on their costumes. We had Chester. Neighborhood Chester.

Despite not being a lady or owning a cat, on all other counts he scored off the charts. His house was so blacked out on Halloween you would have thought a squirrel had fried himself by tragically tripping the power grid. He was a busy body, actually knew my grandmother, and he was a Baptist (deacon no less). His lighted Christmas yard displays were so bright pilots flying twenty miles away were momentarily blinded. The Space Station even recorded it from orbit.

No visitor, delivery boy, or extra inch of your grass went unnoticed. As soon as I got home and flopped into my easy chair after a hard day, Chester was banging on the door.

“Did you know you got a package today?”

“Ah, no Chester I didn’t. I was just wondering what that large box was sitting in front of me. Thanks so much for telling me.” He sat there waiting for me open it in front of him so he could note the contents. I didn’t. It drove him crazy. I loved it.

At the time, I served as a local judge. Often, and especially on weekends, police cars came by my house to have search warrants signed. Friday and Saturday nights were exceptionally busy and they came at all hours. A 3 am visit was not unusual. The first weekend we were in the new home was Labor Day Weekend. Lots of traffic. Lots of DUI’s. Lots of search warrants. I developed the art of going right back to sleep. Thirty years later this talent never fails me when the midnight call of nature beckons.

That first Saturday morning promptly at 7.45 am Chester came knocking on my door. “Did you know a bunch of cop cars were at your house last night?”

“Oh, man, I did.” I paused and didn’t utter another word. Of course, Chester was dying to know what was going on. Did he think I had a drug party and didn’t invite him? Did he think I had been beating my wife? (Never happens when you marry a girl from my wife’s family. More likely she’s beating you).

“Chester, I just can’t bear to talk about it. Not now at least.” Slowly and deliberately and with a terribly sad and depressed face I gently closed shut the door on him. This went on for awhile. Cop night at our house. Neighborhood Chester ramped up the next morning begging to find out what the heck was going on at my house. One Saturday he saw me mowing the grass and he came over.

“You the judge, aren’t you?” He offered. I later found out he had stayed up all night and asked an officer what was going on.

We had a pool and hot tub in the back. On occasional nights when the kids were away we would leave all the lights off strip down and sneak into out hot tub. It was wonderful. Then, after a few evening I got the creeping feeling someone was watching through the small slits in the high wooden privacy fence surrounding the property. Once I caught movement. I slipped out of the tub, tiptoed over and proceeded to pee through the fence at the sneaky voyeur next door. I hit my target because someone on the other side fell off his stool and scrambled into the house next door. Got him good. Never said a word about it to Neighborhood Chester.

Next Spring my family planned a camping trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As I washed out the pop up camper in the driveway Neighborhood Chester saw me and ambled right over.

“Y’all going camping I see?”

“Well, we were thinking about it.”

“Where ‘bouts?” He inquired.

Seeing no harm in it I told him about the wonderful campsite we found with a stream behind it and said we were leaving the next Monday. He said he thought that was nice and that he liked camping too. I thought nothing more about it.

It was late the night we arrived at the campsite. Luckily, no one was nearby. We had it all to ourselves for a solid week. A stream, campfire, and peace. Not even a tv and this was before the days kids needed inpatient psychological treatment if they experience cell phone separation anxiety.

The next morning I got up early and plugged in my coffee pot. Looking to enjoying an idyllic morning in the mountains I walked outside. Just then an all too familiar voice pierced my consciousness from the next door tent that mysteriously sprung up overnight like a poisonous mushroom …

“How y’all doing?”

Yep, Neighborhood Chester.

How to Embarrass Your Wife – And Live

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away we lived in married student apartments at Ole Miss. Yes, on campus there were housing units built after WW2 for former soldiers and their spouses. They were located across from the new law school. Many of our friends lived there also. A few units still exist. Years later on a football weekend we drove past the units and showed our children where we resided. They were incredulous and thought we were kidding.

“You were poor,” the oldest son said.

“Yeah, but we didn’t know it.”

Ours was a one bedroom upstairs unit. The rent was seventy five dollars a month and utilities were included. The stove was a built in contraption and the cooler was about the size of a small dorm component. The dryers in the laundry room downstairs were decrepit and wouldn’t produce enough heat to melt an M&M on a good day. Most of the time we hung our laundry outside in the back. This worked great in the summer but in the winter blue jeans stood straight up and bras, according to my wife, were not suitable to wear for 6 or 8 hours until they completely thawed. Failure to abide by this rule resulted in sudden fearsome yelling, goosebumps in uncomfortable places, and the most unmitigated shivering.

Upstairs there was brick latticework separating the apartments from view on the street. You could see clearly through them from the parking lot below though. The space between the front door of one apartment and the next was just a few feet and our neighbors were constantly coming and going.

One Summer day my wife was mopping the ancient linoleum floor. After finishing she was hot and sweaty and was planning on taking an immediate bath. She stripped down to nothing because she was going to throw all her clothes in the laundry basket. She was bare ass naked. Ah, a most pleasant memory, if I do say so. She was – and is – a pretty girl.

“Honey, do you think anyone will see me if I just reach out and hang the mop on the nail out there?”

“No, babe. Go ahead. Nobody can see a thing.”

I lied. A big lie. A lie that seldom avails itself of proper deployment. One must be circumspect when lying to your spouse. My wife has for years claimed she could tell when I lie by some sort of line etched near my mouth. I think this is not true and she asserts this to make me think twice about lying to her. But, here was my chance. She could not see me. I was sitting on the couch 15 feet away and her back was turned. Now, I am not advocating lying to one’s spouse, partner, or live in significant other. Far from it. But a strategic lie used for placing the “liee” (a word I have just coined meaning the recipient of the lie) in a funny situation is worth it. Sometimes. And, this was going to be a funny, real, real funny result. Such an opportunity does not come but once or twice in a lifetime. I was not going to pass it up.

I sprung from the couch quicker that Superman bounding over a tall building. The Flash would have been left in my dust. Spider-Man’s sticky net could not have contained me. In one flowing movement I shoved her naked out into the hallway and shut the door locking it in the process.

“Let me in,” I heard in a deep whisper designed not to alert the nearby neighbors. “You let me in damn it. You let me in. I mean it. Open this door now.”

“What?” I pretended not to hear.

“If the neighbors come out you will never go to sleep in my bed again.” She threatened.

“What?” I pretended.

“I will never cook again.”

“What? Who is that at the door?” I faked.

“If you don’t let me in this minute sex for you will be a fond memory.”

That one hit the mark. Meekly, I opened the door to a furious wife who grabbed her clothes off the floor and stormed into the bathroom without a word. That’s not good. After two days of begging and uncounted apologies I told her I was truly sorry. (This was a lie, of course) We finally made up and I pledged sacred oaths never to do that to her again.

All was well after that. We were love birds once more. Life was bliss.

Many years later I was asked to speak at a large convention and give a short humorous story as a warm up to the main speaker.

Yeah. I told the mopping nude housewife and leaping husband story. It was a mixed audience and the roar of laughter was gratifying when I sat down. My wonderful wife even smiled a little. I think. She is a good sport and mostly tolerates me. Afterward, a large crowd of ladies surrounded my wife. At the same time, a great many gentlemen came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed my story.

Driving home I asked my wife what all those women said to her. She looked at me, smiled with sweet and knowing amusement and said, “Oh, they asked me how come that bastard is still alive?”

She sure enjoyed those roses I sent her the next day.

Wes Teel

The Liar

You could not escape. Being snared in the men’s room while doing your business made it impossible to run without embarrassing consequences to one’s trousers. He always trapped you when you were most vulnerable – while you were eating, standing in a cafeteria line, trying to work, it didn’t matter. Charlie was right there spinning unbelievable tales. There was no getaway. No escape. He would latch onto an unsuspecting victim and begin an outlandish tale of inventions which Edison would envy. I wish he had not been such a simple minded but nice person. Shooing him away would have been easier.

“You know I’ve invented a way to have free electricity for your house?”

“No, Charlie, haven’t heard that one.”

“Yep. Well, see you collect all the tin cans you can get your hands on. Get ‘em from your neighbors or the dump. Wherever. Then you hammer them flat. Flat as you can get. Next, nail them on top of your roof With the shiny side up. Then you connect them all with wires. All you have to do then is run a wire to a battery and the current will flow. The sun’ll heat ‘em up and all the energy will flow to the batteries. Instant free electric. You’ll save a fortune.”

“Charlie, that won’t work.”

“Will to. I already rigged it up to my house and we ain’t paid a electric bill in years.” Then he walked off.

I was going to ask how the current magically flowed from the tin cans into the batteries. I was going to ask if he had a patent. I was going to ask if he sold any units. But, he walked off. This invention shall therefore remain a deep mystery.

Charlie Snyder perpetual motion machine

I have not made up Charlie. He was real flesh and constantly irritating blood. I have to admit I kinda liked him with all his spellbinding insanity and lies. New and unsuspecting people were particularly vulnerable prey because Charlie actually sounded like he knew what he was talking about. Much like certain politicians. Often, as he spewed out nonsense you would be taken in and somewhere deep down a small part of you wanted to believe him. Then suddenly your brain shuttered and you would be transported back to reality. There is no doubt at all he believed every word he said. Or seemed to.

My next encounter with Charlie was when he claimed to have developed a perpetual motion machine. It involved massive steel beams pivoting on an axis. They were weighted on both ends with old rusty Ford truck engines. He swore the Fords were the best. Once started the slender girders swayed back and forth and back and forth forever. Batteries collected the amassed charges. Never mind fierce winds, friction at the intersection Of the beams or slowing down due to gravity. Charlie swore it worked. And he had one on his farm.

There is a large national trucking company called Schneider Trucking. Charlie claimed to own it. One day I asked him how come his name was Charlie “Snyder” and the truck line was spelled ”Schneider” Trucking.

“That’s simple”, he offered. “They misspelled my name wrong on all the trucks and it would cost too much to fix it. So we just left it that way.” Dang it. I thought I had caught him.

One day while a group of us were sitting in the break room drinking coffee Charlie bounded in and suddenly told us he flew a helicopter in Vietnam and worked for the CIA.

“Charlie,” we said. “you didn’t work for the CIA.”

“Did too.” He didn’t miss a beat. “We flew drugs out of Laos and gave the warlord money. One day we dropped off a whole bunch of money to him. Must of been 10, 20 big old crates of $100 bills. But there wasn’t any drugs. He was going to cheat us.”

Humoring him, “ Well, Charlie, what’d y’all do with the money?”

“Couldn’t take it back, you know. So we blowed it up!”

“You blowed up millions of dollars, Charlie?”

“Yep. Blowed it up.” We fell out laughing.

Charlie was an entrepreneur. Somehow he managed to steal a truckload of appliances. He dug an enormous hole in his backyard and secretly hid the entire rig underground. For months he sold discount stoves and refrigerators, TVs, and the odd microwave from under the kids’ swing set. There was an entrance way through the outhouse. Unfortunately, his daughter accidentally ratted him out to her class at third grade “show and tell” and the teacher happened to be married to a cop. Poor Charlie. The judge did not buy his explanation about not knowing how the tractor trailer got there. One lie too many.

He should have gone into politics where the bigger the lie the better. Clearly, his talents were wasted. I read his obituary recently and looks like he is dead. Unless, of course, that’s a lie.

Wes Teel

The Fart Defense

City Court in Mississippi towns, and I suspect most everywhere, is a place where traffic tickets, minor disputes, neighbor arguments, and assorted misdemeanors are adjudicated. Most folks make the trek to the Clerk’s office and pay the ticket albeit begrudgingly. Those few disgruntled citizens eager to explain themselves or offer some excuse which will hopefully persuade the judge to go light or even dismiss the charges show up in the courtroom. The depth of dismay at having to fight a charge is evident. So too is the height of hope that one might avert the consequences if just the right defense is offered.

A lower court judge quickly becomes a lie detector with a high degree of accuracy. It is not just the explanation but the attitude of the defendant, the body language, eye contact, and dang it the plain novelty of the defense which you intrinsically know to be true. Some stories simply ring true. You can feel the truth vibes. You can also feel the lie vibes like waves of crap being thrown at you. Experience teaches. Having raised two active boys didn’t hurt either. I once had a mama appear before me who swore, “My boy has never told a lie his whole life, judge.” I told her, “Lady, his name must be Jesus Christ because my two boys lied all the time lady!”

The clerk called the next case. “James Dedeaux”, a Frenchman and we have a lot of them in south Mississippi. We have Boudreauxs, Necaises, Sauciers, Morans, Heberts, Landrys, Trahans, and finally Ladners, a great many Ladners. I married one. I never met a Frenchman who wasn’t a character of some sort. My father-in-law used to say there are two types of Ladners, the school teacher Ladners and the moonshiner Ladners. He was a teacher Ladner. My wife got a double dose of French heritage. Her mother was a Dedeaux and her father a Ladner. Her Mother didn’t speak English until she started first grade.

The old grizzled farmer wanted to tell his story. He had been wronged and by God it wasn’t his fault. He wore “overhauls” as we often call a garment better known as overalls. They were dirty and one leg was stuffed down into an old boot and the other barely hid the other boot. A brown dried up crusty substance was on the soles. I didn’t want to know what it was! If he had a tooth in his head I didn’t see it.

“Mr. Dedeaux,” I said, “sir, you are charged with running a stop sign. What do you say about it?” Very few lawyers appear in municipal court thank God, so it is best to cut to the chase once the prosecutor finally shuts up and ask the defendant what happened.

He looked around turning his head to the back and then straight at me and then to the back again. I was looking at a human owl.

“Well”, he said. The well was pronounced weeel. “It was like this judge.” He turned around again looking from side to side. “I seen that stop sign. Now, I didn’t see no cop. I seen that stop sign.” Again, he rotated his head to the right, back at me, and to the left again. “I couldn’t rightly stop. You know what I mean?”

I didn’t know what he meant. He yanked his head back to the right and to the left once more. Was he looking for help or someone to back him up? “I was agona stop see, but I had me some red beans and rice for lunch (a staple fare in South Mississippi) and I seen the stop sign and I had my foot on the brake.” Once again he performed the owl movement with his head.

“Judge (pronounced Jedge) just then come a big fart and I had to lift my cheek up to let it out you know?” Actually, I did know and had the scene seared in my brain. “I couldn’t hardly hit the brake with that old fart acoming out.” The courtroom burst out in laughter. My bailiff laughed so hard snot came out his nose, tears ran down the clerk’s cheeks, and I had to turn around in my chair and do the owl move myself.

Ten minutes or more passed before we calmed down. All the while the Frenchman laughed too enjoying the uproar he had caused and he still continued to swivel his head around to take in the audience reaction. I was earnestly hoping he had not eaten red beans and rice before court.

I composed myself somewhat and said, “Mr. Dedeaux I want you to know I believe every word you say, but look here fella we got a rule here in Gulfport. You are required to to swallow some Beno or GasX before you hop in a truck after you eat red beans and rice. Man, that stuff can be fatal. Now go pay that lady $40 bucks over there and remember in Gulfport DWF Driving while Farting is illegal.”

Justice was served once again.

Wes Teel

Law School and Other Surreal Experiences

I did not know what to expect when I began law school at Ole Miss. From the age of ten I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t know any lawyers. Oh, sure, I watched TV lawyers and foolishly thought being a lawyer would be glamorous. My first contact with the legal profession was when I knocked the crap out of a kid in the ninth grade.

The little bastard was picking on me all through the first half of a football game and about four play into the second half he kneed me so hard in the back I dropped my drink. I am not a violent person but even a cornered mouse will turn on a cat. I wheeled around and slugged him in the mouth … sort of accidentally dislodging one of his front teeth. The next day his dad was furious and that is how I met our lawyer in his office. I was impressed and I never heard another word about he incident. Now, that’s a lawyer. I was hooked.

My friend Greg from college was with me that initial day as we sheepishly entered the large courtroom that also served as an auditorium in Farley Hall – which will always be our Law School. The initial indoctrination and orientation for L1 students dragged on until a little firebrand piss ant named Professor Aaron Condon took his turn. “Look on your left and turn to your right. One, if not both, of those people won’t be here at the end of the first semester …” Greg suddenly became violently ill. His bladder almost emptied and his lower intestine became increasingly vocal. “Teel,” he whispered, “I’m out of here. I wanted to go to graduate school anyway.” He meant it too. I settled him down as Mr. Condon droned on and somehow Greg regained his sanity. But, he was a changed man after that day.

Ole Miss Law School – back in the day

We became even closer friends and had a two person study group meeting most days to compare notes and go over cases. Weekends were spent in the law library preparing for the next week. After that first semester we had the knack of law school and continued studying together. One cool Saturday morning in March I banged on Greg’s door and he shouted, “Go away. I’m busy till Monday. Go away.” That was strange but I complied. Monday morning I got a frantic call from him. “Teel, Teel, get your ass over here right now. Skip class. Don’t even get dressed. GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE!” I did.

Turns out my buddy had a lady friend from Memphis over for the entire weekend. They never left his apartment and perhaps never left his bed. She must have been something.

“Teel, I’m ruined.”

“What the hell is wrong, man?”

Meekly he answered holding his crotch, “I broke my dick. My dick is broke. It’s the size of a loaf of bread. Please look at it.”

“I am not looking at your dick.”

“I can’t go to the infirmary (on campus). Oh, God, they’ll know I broke my dick and kick me out of law school, and I can’t tell my mama anything about my dick,” he cried pitifully.

“Man I am not looking at your damn broke dick, I am not putting soothing lotion on it, I am not putting it in a sling, and I am not bandaging it either.” I said firmly.

Greg was truly desperate. He couldn’t pee, and he couldn’t even sit down, Class was out and no way would contract law cases prevail over penis problems. Finally, he hit upon the brilliant idea of going to a doctor in Tupelo an hour away. So off he went. How he drove there in withering agony I will never know.

Greg remembers pulling down his jeans exposing his swollen member. The doc took one look, then looked at Greg, then another glance at his “thingy”. “Wait on the table.” This is never a good sign. The doctor stepped out and after an insufferable duration he returned with his partner. This is never a good sign. The other doctor looked, and looked, and looked some more. Greg said he poked at it and then both of the doctors left the room. This is never a good sign. In a few minutes they came back with a medical book. This is never a good sign. Page after page they flipped as my buddy was sweating like a pasty faced freshman trying to order his first drink on the Square with his newly minted fake ID card.

Greg’s tortured mind envisioned the next step would comprise cutting off his penis to save his life – or what was left of his life. He was quite willing to go through with the procedure if it would just stop the pain. He later told me the pleasant memory of that Memphis girl would have sufficed him for a lifetime.

Finally, one of the doctors delivered the definitive diagnosis, “Son you screwed too much. You’ll live.”

“You’re not slicing off my dick”?, Greg whined.

“Well, you near ‘bout broke your dick, fella. But, nope. Ice that thing. It’ll go down.”

“Yeah, but will it ever go up again”, Greg begged?

It did – go down that is. And it must have eventually gone ack up too because I represented him in one of his divorces. But that is another story. This tale is my most memorable one from Ole Miss Law School.

The lesson here for all Law School students is simple. Study good. Screwing bad.

My wife once asked me if I ever wished I had taken a look at his dick. I kinda do, you know. I’m not gay or anything but any guy who won’t admit to stealing a sideway glance at the man standing next to him at the urinal is a lying dog. Just for comparison sake, of course. Looking back, Greg’s anguish, well, it may have worth one little quick peek after all.

Wes Teel