This post may fall under the category of “only funny to the writer” or “had to be there”, and honestly I’m not sure if I can even write well enough to convey this story, but here goes.
We’ve been attending our current church, since we moved to Maine 2 ½ years ago. Our church may have one other black guy besides Dirt, but I think he goes to the 2nd service. Furthermore, Dirt thinks that guy is actually biracial, I don’t know. For all I know, Dirt may just be trying to preserve his status as the only full blooded African American at our church, but I’m not here to speculate.
Early on, Dirt was approached by a 65ish year old woman. She introduced herself and asked Dirt his name. She told him that she was sure she would remember it because he’s the only black guy at church. She hugged him and welcomed him warmly.
The following week she approached Dirt again and asked him his name, she had forgotten. He smiled and told her his name and she said, “Boy, you’d think I’d remember, since you’re the only black guy here”. Hug.
By the third or fourth week she had gotten it, “Jermaine”. This was the first week I had the privilege of meeting her and I even gave her a memorization tip, “Jermaine in Maine”. She asked me my name and I told her. We all celebrated her success in remembering Dirt’s name, she gave hugs and all was well.
By the six month mark she would pursue Dirt with open arms and proudly say “Hello Jermaine (extra emphasis on the Jermaine), I betcha didn’t think I would remember your name”. Hug.
By the end of the first year, we would spend the last moments of service praying that we wouldn’t see her on the way out. You get the picture. The charade was getting old.
Last week after bible study on Wednesday night she spotted him. She smiled and came right over to us.
“You’ll never believe this” she dangled.
Not being one to placate people for the sake of social grace, I blurted out, “You know his name”. Then evil thoughts crept in: Lady, it’s been over 2 years, it’s no longer a surprise that you know his name. Know what would really be a surprise? If you knew mine.
“It’s Jermaine!” she exclaimed, my comment obviously had no bearing on the course of the conversation. The show would go on as planned; there was no stopping it.
Then Dirt, in a desperate attempt to shift her focus off of him, give her a new challenge, “I bet you don’t know her name” he said, pointing to me.
“Can you believe it?” she said, completely ignoring him. “I finally remembered! ..It’s only taken me like, what, a year? ..and how many other black guys are there?”.
Then predictably, she opened her arms and went in for the hug. That’s when I figured it out. The name thing is just a ploy to get the hug. She’s after the hug.
Tonight as we were exiting bible study, Dirt headed down the hall towards the foyer. He spotted her and quickly turned around and headed back into our bible study room until the coast was clear. As he turned the corner to the room he heard it, “oooohhh Jerrrmmmmaiiinnnnee…” she called down the hall. Dirt boldly ignored it and frantically searched for someone to strike up a quick conversation with. She called again, “Jerrrmmmaiiinnneee”. He turned and she was coming after him with arms wide open.
Dirt and I have conjured up all sorts of deviations that we’d like play on her. Our favorite one to rehearse is telling her that his name is not actually Jermaine, that it’s Jimmy or Frank.
Another version of that game is to get all offended and flip the race card on her, "What? Just because I’m black you think I have an ethnic name?”
Another one is Dirt pinching her butt when she goes into hug him. I mean, it’s been 21/2 years and they’re still on first base, let’s progress this thing. Okay, this one is my idea.
So much for tonight’s bible study lesson on loving others. Uhg. I need Jesus.