There butt for the grace of God go I...
I’m not really sure what this story is about. It might be about the universality of certain things, or perhaps about connection, or first impressions. Doesn’t really matter, I guess. It’s just a story about 30 seconds of my life, and sometimes if people can’t escape my presence quickly enough, I tell them about it.
My youngest brother -- who’s 10 years younger than I am -- graduated from high school in 1993. The night of the ceremony, it happened to rain -- a virtually unheard-of summer event -- and the whole thing was moved to the school gymnasium.
The students/stage/ceremony was in the center of the room. The bleachers had been pulled out like at a basketball game, and the luckier parents and guests sat there -- the unlucky ones (that would be my wife and me) sat on the floor in front of the bleachers.
We had found a bare patch of hardwood immediately in front of the bleachers. Immediately behind us, on the lowest row of bleachers, sat an elderly Japanese couple. The woman looked in her 60’s, pretty and very normal-looking, but he appeared to be about 300 yrs old – he had an oxygen tube in his nose, his skin was parchment-like, and he mostly just stared straight ahead with little or no change of expression. I wondered if he even knew where he was.
Eventually, the ceremony started. A couple minutes in, a young couple came in late, and began to look for an open place to sit on the crowded floor. They were crouching and tiptoeing over the seated people, and eventually ended up right in front of us. The girl might have been 17 or 18, and had on running shoes and those tiny little nylon running shorts people used to wear. Now, being married and all, I would never have noticed that she had, if I may say so, great legs and a world-class rear end, but for the fact is that she was standing two feet in front of me and she was bending over in order not to block the view of the people on the bleachers. In fact, as the two of them stood there looking for a spot to sit down, her barely-clad hips were approximately six inches from the front of my face. I felt I knew far more about her than I did about most people I had met.
I glanced over at my wife. She looked at me, raised her eyebrows and began to grin at my discomfort. I leaned back slightly, to give the girl more room, just as she bent over even further -- the eyes-to-butt distance did not change. I moved my head to the right. The girl -- still searching for a spot -- chose that moment to turn her body to the left. The butt followed me. I leaned all the way back against the knees of the old man behind me, and still the out-thrust butt hovered in front of my vision. There was no escape.
It seemed like this went on for several minutes, but was probably only about 30 seconds -- the young couple eventually found a seat, and once more I could see something other than bare legs and tight nylon shorts. My wife was shaking with silent laughter, and my face was red. As I glanced around to see who might have noticed my little encounter with the Butt of Destiny, I saw the old Japanese man. He had stopped staring vacantly ahead and was looking at me with what looked like the faintest shadow of a smile. Then he leaned very slowly forward, put his mouth next to my ear, and whispered, “You. Are. Ver’. Lucky. Boy...”