The Date from Hell


My buddy had a cool car that failed him when it mattered most.

I started dating my wife when she was fifteen and I was sixteen. I had an after-school job that paid me $56.26 every other week. I spent every penny trying to earn that woman’s affection. Such is the sordid lot of a guy like me — decent personality and reliably funny but not much to look at. I clearly had to hustle.

I ultimately got the girl. Some 39 years later, we have had some pretty epic dates. Dinner at King Stefan’s in Cinderella’s Castle sitting by the window for the fireworks at Disney World was memorable. So was the hot tea and cheesecake at the Twice Brewed Pub on a cold dreary day abreast Hadrian’s Wall in England. However, a dear friend found himself on the unfortunate other end of the spectrum. His first date was the sort of thing to make a grown man cringe.

This buddy is a simply epic friend, the sort who would do anything for you and be cheerful doing it. When he was going to take a girl out for the first time he wanted it done up right. After a week’s preparation he arrived at her doorstep in his snazzy Camaro ready to meet the parents.

I myself don’t know the best way to win a woman’s heart, but I am
sure it does not start with accidentally killing her dog.

He’s a cool guy, and they were duly impressed. All systems were go. With the obligatory first impressions out of the way he opened the car door for the girl, strapped himself in the driver’s seat, and proceeded to back over the family dog.

To make things worse, he didn’t technically kill the beast. There was simply a horrible yelp, and the crippled pet dragged off into the surrounding woods. Now my buddy had a decision to make.

Does he leap up and give chase after the wounded creature, planning to do what exactly if he caught up to it? Administer first aid, CPR, last rites? His date’s dad came to the rescue and said he would take care of it. He told them to go on and enjoy their evening. Good luck with that.

Fresh flowers can go a long way toward melting a woman’s heart.
The promise of flowers followed by an inability to follow through,
however, is an undeniable setback.

En route to the restaurant my buddy announced that they needed to stop by the florist. He had arranged for some fresh flowers to be ready for pickup that evening. His date was duly impressed and told him as much.

They pulled into the parking lot of the florist only to find that the shop had gone out of business between when he had called in the order and when he was there to pick them up. The door was locked and there was a hand-lettered sign in the window explaining as much. If you’re keeping score, that would be strike two.

Utterly frustrated by now, my pal pulled back into traffic and headed toward the restaurant. Just at that moment something catastrophic failed in his late-model car. The vehicle was still drivable, but he told me later that the racket it made was a brain-piercing screeching noise of steel on steel. He likened it to a flock of crack-addled banshees screaming Metallica inside an oil drum. That would be strike three.

He pulled over at a handy lot, shut down the dying car, and turned to the poor girl for a confab. It seemed their burgeoning relationship was simply cursed. Regardless of your take on fate, providence, or destiny, this date was undeniably terminal. By mutual acclimation they agreed to call it a day. He nursed his shrieking automobile back to her house and dropped her off.

Thankfully her dad and the injured dog were nowhere to be found. The cursed couple both had a good laugh, and he returned home to start anew. Life subsequently took them in different directions.

Love is the strangest of human pursuits. It is at once diaphanous and unfathomable yet breathtakingly strong. A lover spurned can go from depthless passion to insensate hatred in an instant, while a mother’s love will willingly pit a petite young lass against a charging grizzly such that you’ll question the ultimate outcome. Love is weird like that.

We’ll never understand it despite the efforts of philosophers, poets, and crooners literally uncounted. However, in this case, love was simply doomed, cursed from the outset due to providential forces beyond our capacity to grasp. Who knows, had it worked out that sordid evening perhaps one of their kids would have grown up to become a serial killer or the next great Democratic presidential contender or some such. Who are we mere mortals to question the machinations of fate itself?

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