71: Doing the Chicken Soup Dance

71: Doing the Chicken Soup Dance

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Doing the Chicken Soup Dance

An expert is a person who tells you a simple thing in a confused way in such a fashion as to make you think the confusion is your own fault.

~William Castle

We met on Match.com on December 8, 2008. Harvey was in New York; I was in Florida. The odds of our getting together were almost unimaginable. Yet here we were, two eighty-two-year-olds who stumbled onto each other on the Internet and were instantly smitten. I tried to follow the rules of the dating service… no telephone numbers, no addresses, pure anonymity… at least until I was sure that I wasn’t talking to an axe murderer, as my daughter suggested.

But Harvey was almost too good to be true. Handsome, witty, a former executive at CBS, a widower looking for love. Our e-mails via Match.com burned up the airwaves. We were writing day and night, and after a week, he was begging for my phone number and address.

“I need to hear your voice,” he pleaded. And after a brief resistance, I gave him my phone number. He called immediately, and his voice was warm and reassuring. We talked for more than an hour… about our backgrounds, our families, our careers… then I took time out.

“I’ll call you this afternoon,” he said tenderly.

“I won’t be home,” I apologized. “I’m doing a book signing.”

“What is that?” he asked.

“I have stories in two new Chicken Soup for the Soul books and I’ll be signing them.”

“You’ve written two books of chicken soup recipes? I’m impressed. You must be a great cook.”

“I don’t cook,” I laughed, “and they aren’t recipe books. They’re part of a series called Chicken Soup for the Soul. One book is Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Resolution and the other is Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Golf and Sport.”

“Let me get this straight. You’ve written an entire book about your New Year’s resolutions? I hope I figure in that. Have you resolved to keep writing me?”

“Well, yes, I have that, but this was written long before I met you. There are 101 stories for your mind, body and wallet.”

“Hm, so my wallet figures in there,” he said suspiciously. “I guess I’d better get a pre-nup!”

“Me, too. I have a daughter-in-law who’s a lawyer.”

“So you’ve made 101 resolutions?” he asked.

“Only two.”

“What do you mean only two? What about the other ninety-nine?”

“Somebody else wrote them.”

“You’re signing a book that you only have two stories in? What do the other ninety-nine people have to say about that?”

“I assume they’re just glad to have me selling their book.”

“Okay. And what about the other book… the golf one. Do you only have two stories in that one?’

“One.”

“You only have one story in the golf book, and you’re signing it, too? Well never mind. I never figured you for a golfer, but I’m happy to hear that because I’m quite a golfer myself. Maybe we can play a game when I finally meet you.”

“I’m not a golfer, and I did not write about golf,” I sputtered. “I wrote about football.”

“I see. So you play football. Now I’m really impressed. You wrote a story about football in a book about golf.”

“Listen, Harvey, I really have to get out there and sell a few books. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Why don’t I buy a couple of your books. How much are they?”

“$14.95 each.”

Harvey mused a minute. “I don’t want to be picky, but I was an accountant for CBS. How many words in the football story?”

I sighed. “Around 1,500 I would think.”

“Wow! You are really well paid at $14.95. That’s about a dollar a word. I guess that makes your Resolution book a real bargain with two stories in it. I’ll send you a check for $30. How’s that? What’s your address?”

“Harvey, Match.com doesn’t want us giving out our addresses.”

“Shall I send the check to Match.com then?”

This man was really getting on my nerves.

“All right. I’ll give you my address. But don’t come stalking me.”

“Stalk you? I’m going to marry you!”

“You are? All right. But first you have to buy my Chicken Soup for the Soul books.”

“This is blackmail. Are you signing them for me, too? What are you going to write in the front of them?”

“Hm, let me think about that. In the Resolution book, how about, “To the most exciting man I never met?”

“That sounds good. And in the Golf book?”

“I’ll write, ‘The ball is in your court.’”

Harvey was thoughtful. “The word ‘court’ really applies to tennis, but we don’t need to get technical. I’m writing the check now. Are you wrapping my books?”

“They’re practically in the mail.”

“That’s great. And I’m practically on the next plane down there.”

“In that case, why should I send them? Why don’t I just hand them to you when you arrive?”

“Why don’t you? And then I can write, ‘To the most expensive date I never had!’”

• • •

He did fly to Florida, and I did marry him, and he did buy my Chicken Soup for the Soul books… all of them!

 

~Phyllis W. Zeno

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