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Smoking ballast at movie ends with a marriage
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You may have seen the AT&T ad campaign for its Internet service. Some of the pieces are pretty funny, and I saw one this morning that was just hilarious.
Three generations of one family are sitting in the living room, wondering what to do because the Internet is out. The mom asks the grandpa to tell stories, and he tried to start out with one about how he and grandma met.
That got me to thinking. My children never got to hear their grandfather tell them how he was the chief electrician on a hospital ship in WW II and my mom, as the head nurse, wanted a phone in her stateroom. It was a 45-minute job but the old man drug it out for two weeks, using the repetitive delays as an opportunity to get to know my mom.
Well, when my mom finally figured out how easy a job it was, she did not talk to him for two weeks! Apparently they made up, or I would not be here.
The boy was two and the girl was still in the oven when the old man died, so they have had to hear that story from me because mom was not much of a story teller. And now with the birth of Dylan Grey Campbell and whomever his future cousins may be from the girl, I have to wonder if I will be around long enough to tell them how had it not been for a light burning out followed two years later by me being stood up for a girl, they would not be here.
Let’s face it. I have a congenital heart defect (which appears to be in check), I work 50 to 60 hours a week most of the year and I am big as a house, so betting on the over for me might not be a good bet. Having said that, this is for Dylan and any potential future Campbell grandchildren:.
When I was in training in the Army, movies on base were $1 or $1.50. I was watching a $1.50 movie when a fluorescent ballast started to smoke, so the theater was cleared and we were all given chits for a movie “…up to $1.50.”
So the next night I went to a movie and it was only $1. The manager would not let me in with my chit – he said it had to be used on a $1.50 movie. This manager was a senior non-commissioned officer and through his thick accent appeared to be an immigrant. There is nothing wrong with that, but little infuriates me more than when my tax dollars pay someone’s salary and they cannot grasp the nuances of the English language.
I blew up. I was furious. I even called an MP over to force him to let me in. (I was not quite on the even keel in those days I am today.) The MP told me there was nothing he could do, so I demanded my money back. Through extremely broken English (how this clown ever made his rank I do not know) the manager told me that I had to go to the office on the main base during the day. I did so. And in doing so, I met a little filly and we had a fling for a while. (In jest, she was given an award from her coworkers for going above and beyond her duties in pursuit of satisfactory customer service.) As usual, I got dumped but I remained friends with her best friend (Carol). 
Two years later I was back at my old base for an eight-day training class. Over the weekend I drove to New York to visit an old girlfriend – one of the few who did not dump me – and I had a date back on base Sunday night.
Well, that date stood me up for another woman. I called Carol to see if she wanted to see a movie and she did not, but she invited me over for dinner. She introduced me to her neighbor and then her neighbor and I went to see a movie: “The Deer Hunter.” (Not a first-date movie, by any means.)
Something must have worked because that neighbor and I have been married for 35 years. I hope someday to be able to tell my grandchildren about how without my stubbornness combined with seemingly unrelated events years apart, they would not be here. (That, and the old man’s cavalier smoothness some 70-plus years ago!)
But should I not be around long enough for that, the boy and the girl can clip this column out and save it for them.