ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM

I was invited to a cocktail party in the city years ago during my freewheeling youth and soon after my arrival I realized I knew no one there accept the host and his wife who were busy schmoozing with guests and refilling glasses.

I ended up exchanging cliches and platitudes with a fellow in a green seersucker suit who, unfortunately, turned out to be an insurance salesman. He adroitly switched from small talk to actuarial subjects, starting alphabetically with accident policies and annuities. By the time he got to major medical and mortality tables I was looking around for an escape route and planning my exit scene. I’d planned to check my watch and suddenly exclaim, “Oh gosh, I’m late already! Sorry, I’ve got to rush!” And then I’d head for the door and maybe the nearest bar.

That’s when I noticed the attractive girl across the room who was staring at me fixedly and not paying much attention to the host who had just handed her a glass of wine.

I looked again when Seersucker Suit was finishing his presentation on surety bonds. Pretty Girl was still staring, but now she was walking toward me and smiling. I thought this could be the start of something big.

“Please excuse me, ” she said, reaching up to touch shoulder. ( I always liked it when pretty girls did that. ) “That’s quite all right,” I replied, trying to sound like Robert Redford. “What can I do for you, Miss?” She smiled again. What a great smile!

“I’ve been noticing your jacket collar is all twisted and it’s been driving me crazy. Please let me straighten it out. It’s one of my quirks. I hope you don’t mind.”

As she rearranged my collar I was hoping against hope that this was just her charming opening gambit, but then she turned to Seersucker Suit and said, “I think we should be going home now, Dear.”

It wasn’t a total loss. Seersucker Suit gave me his number and I ended up with a great life policy that protected the future of the much prettier girl I eventually married and our children provided I didn’t go in for skydiving or politics.

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