Series of strange events too much for wise guy

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Jul 01, 2007

Arnie is one of those people who believes he knows everything. What irritates me is that I think he may be right. In our 30-plus years of friendship, he has remained unfailingly one step ahead of me.

Whenever I do anything, it turns out that Arnie did it first, did it better and knows more about it than I do. When it comes to the occasional friendly wager over a sporting event, fishing trip, political election or what-have-you, he always seems to win. Just once, I'd like to get the better of him.

Last month, I thought of a way and headed over to his office to set my plan in motion. All I had to do was tell him about the events of a typical day.

"Just wait till you hear this, Arnie. You aren't going to believe it," I said. "I always thought that weird things happen around the full moon, but I had a day recently that really takes the cake. It all started when I read the morning paper. There was not one article about global warming, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina or even our troops in Iraq. I knew it was going to be a strange day."

"Big deal," was his reply. "You never read anything but the comics in the back of the paper anyway. Even then, all you do is look at the pictures. You should have tried looking at the front page."

"I'm serious," I continued. "When the mail arrived, things got really strange. I did not get one solicitation for a new credit card, and (hold onto your hat) not one letter offering to save me money on car insurance."

"I have to admit, that is a little hard to believe," he said. "Or, was it a Sunday or holiday – in which case you aren't being totally upfront with me?"

"I am playing it straight, Arnie," I assured him. "And, you ain't heard nothing yet. There were two journals in the mail that very same day and not one article in either of them about pain management, business management or alternative medicine."

"I'm starting to get seriously concerned about you, Mike," he replied. "We'd better get the scavenger system checked on your anesthesia machine. It looks like you have been getting too many whiffs of the gas."

I assured him I was perfectly lucid and continued my story. I had saved the best for last.

"While driving home that very same night, I was stopped behind a young lady in a convertible who was waiting to make a left turn," I told him. "And she was not, I repeat not, talking on a cell phone."

"That's enough!" Arnie yelled, his face turning a little red. "Nobody is going to believe a story like that. I will have to call your wife to come drive you home. Obviously, you are delirious."

"I guess you don't want to hear about the other driver who waved to me further down the highway and didn't have one finger extended," I said.

"No, I don't," he said. "This story of yours is ridiculous."

"I can prove every bit of it, Arnie," I said.

"You're on," he replied. "I'll bet a steak dinner that you can't prove a day like that ever actually happened."

And so, a wager was made.