the one thing that most people first ask when i tell them about erika is “is this an imaginary fiancee?”. most of the time i can convince them that she is real. once that is done, many people follow that question with “well, how did you two lovebirds meet?”. since i get that question so often (at least 3 times), i figured i’d save some time and just publish it here. so here it goes:
one day, while walking through the park, i came across a juggler. naturally, he challenged me to a juggle off. being a gentleman of honor, i agreed. for those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a juggle off, the process is simple. there are 3 rounds. each round, one person chooses a selection of items and must juggle them for one minute. if that person is successful, then his or her opponent must complete the same task. if they fail, the the challenger gets a point. if they succeed, no points are awarded, but the challenger must buy an ice cream cone for the challengee. at the end, the winner is the person who has the most points when multiplied by the ratio of boys to girls in their hometown school district. it seems odd, but the arcane rules of juggle offs date back many thousands of years and are not to be challenged.
round one progressed quickly, with my challenger selecting 3 baseballs and 2 golf balls. i easily answered that challenge and responded with 4 robin’s eggs and a wad of partially chewed bubble gum that i scraped from the underside of a nearby bench. this proved challenging, but in the end we both prevailed. at the end of round one, we both had no points, and had purchased ice cream (i chose chocolate, he vanilla) for our opponent.
round two is where things got interesting. upping the ante, i chose a 4 foot long tree branch, with moss, the spare tire from a 1984 chevy caprice, a footlong hotdog with peppers and onions and a badger. the trickiest part of this ensemble was preventing the badger from eating the hot dog in mid toss, but i discovered that if i sang softly to the badger as i was juggling him, he remained docile and didn’t go after the delicious treat. unfortunately, my opponent was able to mimic this trick and was also successful. for his round two selections he selected 12 blades of grass and a homeless man who was sleeping on a nearby bench. after succeeding with that, i took my turn. i had a good rhythm going until the homeless man awoke at the apex of one of my tosses, and on the way down flailed out with his right arm, striking me in the cheekbone, and causing me to accidentally inhale one of the blades of grass, thereby disqualifying me. point to my opponent, as well as another dish of ice cream (cookies ‘n cream this time).
round three began with a bang as my opponent attempted to juggle a running lawnmower, a box of thin mint girl scout cookies, 4 gerbils and a lighted cigarette. unfortunately one of the gerbils turned out to be a chain smoker who made short work of the cigarette, thereby disqualifying his effort. i knew my selection for the final round would have to count. strategically, i selected 7 dishes of ice cream, thinking that my opponents over indulgence in this creamy delicacy would cause him to falter. unfortunately, it proved untrue, and i lost the contest .52522 to 0.
dejected, as i left the park i tripped over the curb and injured my tibia. knowing there was a medical practice nearby, i stopped in for some analgesics and diuretics. as it so happened erika was working that day, and we immediately fell in love.
and such is the story of how our love blossomed.