Words that changed the course of history

by Nancy Luck, Tucson, AZ

“You know Tom only asked you out so he could practice dating,” Ted, who sat next to me, told me in fifth period History. “Tom’s never been on a date, and he wanted to practice before he asked out that cute blonde cheerleader Laurie.”

It was the fall of my sophomore year in high school. I was as excited as if I’d been elected class president since this would be my first date. That is, I was thrilled until Ted’s words stopped me cold. I felt as deflated as a balloon with a hole in it.

“How do you know this?” I questioned Ted.

“Tom and I work together in the audio visual department in the library,” Ted explained.

I pondered long and hard what to do. Should I cancel my date with Tom? But as suddenly as a leaf drops from a tree, I thought of the perfect plan. I would keep my date with Tom. I would get back at him by showing him the worst time of his life. Tom took me to a school dance and then out for pizza. I pretended to have twisted my ankle, so we couldn’t dance. (Even though I loved to dance.) I didn’t laugh at any of Tom’s jokes while we ate pizza, even though I thought they were really funny. I “accidentally” spilled my soda all over him. He didn’t even get upset. He said accidents happen all the time, and he just cleaned it up. In my conversation I went on and on about what a sissy sport cross country was since Tom was one of the stars, even though I’d always admired the endurance of the runners.

By the end of the evening my mission was accomplished. I had shown Tom Turkey the worst night of his life. He hated me as much as I hated asparagus. I was feeling quite smug and as accomplished as a concert violinist until Ted confessed to me in history on Monday that he had made the whole story up about Tom wanting to date Laurie because he liked me and didn’t want me to go out with Tom. I was so angry with Ted for ruining my first date that I could have shot him with my dad’s hunting gun if it hadn’t been locked up in a glass case. The truth of the matter was I really liked Tom. But the damage had been more than done. From that day forth Tom would have nothing to do with me. I learned a lasting lesson from my first date – to give a guy a chance – he might turn out NOT to be the Turkey you thought he was but a real honest-to-goodness genuine Ham (a jokester with a heart).