In a small town, everyone knows who you are and there is no place to hide.
And that is why not growing up there causes problems.
At the hardware store or the Quickie-Mart, when someone calls my name, I will want to hide because I rarely remember theirs.
It happened again last week while attending a silent auction at the Legion Hall.
I headed for the two-dollar beer while my wife made a beeline for the bidding tables. An hour later, she slid onto the stool next to me and fidgeted like a little girl. She wanted to tell me something – but didn’t want to just come right out and say it.
“Okay….what did you bid on?” I asked.
“A day of house-cleaning services!!!!”
I told her it was the best idea she ever had – then excused myself.
In a panic, I located the bidding sheet and discovered she was engaged in a bidding war with one of her cousins. So I found her cousin’s husband and since I couldn’t recall his first name, winged it using his last.
“Anderson, we got ourselves a problem.”
“What’s up?” he asked.
“Your wife and mine are both bidding on an afternoon of Sheryl’s House-Cleaning Services.”
“Ask yourself what your wife does before anyone comes over?”
“Uh, she cleans the house.”
I shook my head and corrected him. “You both clean the house.”
“I once spent an entire weekend helping her clean because the furnace guy was scheduled for Monday,” I told him. “Tell me this, is your wife really going to let Sheryl see how messy her house is?”
“Good Grief!!” he said, suddenly realizing his predicament.
“I considered out-bidding them,” I said, “perhaps with a bogus name but since everyone knows everyone around here they would suspect something is up. Since neither of us is into a weekend of deep cleaning, do you have any better ideas?”
“Let me think…,” he said.
“Do you know anyone who actually needs their house cleaned?”
He looked down the length of the bar. A couple of stools away, two twenty-somethings were hiding under their ball-caps while staring at a basketball game on the big TV.
“Hey Doofus,” Anderson called to the nearest kid, “You want your apartment cleaned?”
“We’re sending Sheryl over to clean your rat’s nest.”
“Alright Greg,” he said turning to me, “Use his name to double the bid and I’ll cover you for half.”
“Only one problem,” I said.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“I don’t know Doofus’s name.”
Anderson looked shocked.