Monday, April 7, 2014

Right church, wrong pew

We've all been show up late, thinking your appointment was for 2 when it was 1 all along...or you spill your entire cafeteria tray, including the salad and gooey dessert...or you're trying to call a coworker in the middle of the night because there's an emergency at work, but you don't turn on the light so as not to wake your dozing bedmate, and you wind up calling some random stranger who didn't have to get up for five more hours (and tells you so...)

Doesn't matter who you are, something like this will happen now and then. The gracious among us shrug, make apologies as needed, and go on with life in good humor.  The bumptious oafs among us bluster and thunder, blaming their appointments secretary for telling them the wrong time, some phantom person who just tripped them, or the "stupid phone company" for giving them the wrong number. 

So that's why Senator Dan Coats (R, Indiana) gets a tip of the hat today.  On Thursday, he was supposed to be testifying at a Senate hearing on defense appropriations, which sounds as soporific as it can be.  Instead, he wound up in the wrong room and began addressing a crowd of Treasury operatives.   If you have the same opinion as I do about 99% of meetings I ever attended, which is that if all the people at the meeting had been back at their desks working, rather than sitting around a boat-shaped table, a lot more would have been accomplished, then you understand why the solon saw the usual assortment of people in suits and figured he was in the right room.  But, after someone handed him a hastily-scrawled note ("HEY!  You are in the WRONG ROOM! Back out now!") he was good-natured about it, and packed up his briefcase and left, presumably headed for the right spot.
Old yearbook photo

There came a time in my life when I felt like Senator Coats, and no one was handing me any notes.  In my first day of Towson High School, I stupidly asked a senior for directions to my Biology classroom, and he waggishly directed me to a classroom about five miles from where I needed to be.  I sat in that classroom as a thin teacher named Mr R. Blaine Gainer began laying out the curriculum for his English 11 class, and my 15-year old brain, honed to razor sharpness from a summer of watching "Where The Action Is" and consuming as many Kool cigarettes and cans of Schlitz as I could obtain, cleverly deduced that I was in the wrong room.  After about ten minutes, I somehow found it in me to excuse myself and leave for the right room, and I left to a trail of snickers and chortles from a roomful of juniors.

Flash forward 31 years, and I found myself entering the mausoleum out at Dulaney Valley for my father's funeral.  Right across the way from Dad's crypt is the final resting place of guess who?  That's right.  I hope Dad and Mr Gainer have lots to talk about in there.  Nice to know they have something in common.

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