Thursday, February 04, 2010

If You Don't Hear From Me By Monday, Send The Authorites

MY WIFE is fun, in a worrisome sort of way. She just called me at work, and said, "If we went on a mystery date, would you prefer tonight or tomorrow night?"

I didn't ask her to elaborate; it would have done no good. However, from past experience, I know that whatever she has in mind will be interesting, entertaining, relatively harmless, and something I'll enjoy. She has done this to me before. So, I said tonight would be fine.

And you may have read about something like this happening to me before. Here is a re-print concerning such occurrences. Before reading it, though, would you do me a favor and make a notation on your crackberry (or whatever device you kids use for a notepad these days?) If I have not written, by Monday, something concerning whatever happens to me tonight, would you please send the cops to Watertown and have them start nosing around for my remains? Thanks much.



This past Friday, I went on a mystery date. Unlike in the Milton-Bradley board game from the 60's with the cheesy-catchy commercial theme song, my mystery date was guaranteed to be dreamy. This is because it was with MY WIFE.

"Oh, that's so sweet!" the females are saying, while the males are thinking, "Whipped!" Wrong on both counts, conventional-thinkers-trained-by-TV-to-react

My expectations were grounded in reality. Although those who would sell you mutual funds are required by law to tell you that past performance is not an indicator of future success, I know MY WIFE. She always comes through with the goods. I'll give you a few examples of what I'm talking about, but first let's go back to the genesis of this story.


I was at work, doing whatever it is that I do, when I got a phone call.

"Jim Sullivan", I said.

"Hello, Jim Sullivan", MY WIFE replied.

After a bit of small talk, she got down to the reason for the call.

"How would you like to go on a mystery date next Friday?"

"Next Friday? The 1st?"


"Ummmm, sure. OK. A mystery date?"



And that was that. Exciting stuff, eh?


I had no qualms or trepidations about said mystery date because MY WIFE had surprised me a few times before. Those were good times, so why not this, too? For instance, she has twice thrown me surprise birthday parties. I had no clue either time. Considering the circumstances, why would I?

The first surprise birthday party was at a McDonald's. Yes - Ronald McDonald, The Hamburglar, You Deserve A Break Today - that McDonald's. Who throws a surprise birthday party at a McDonald's? MY WIFE, that's who.

There was a particular McDonald's we sometimes went to when we were in my mother's neighborhood, so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary when she suggested we stop there to grab a bite before heading to my mother's house. When we walked in the front door of the restaurant, there were 14 or 15 relatives and friends waiting - my mom, my stepfather, my grandmother, my uncle, nieces, nephews, etc. I ate cheeseburgers and fries, got the love from a whole bunch of my favorite people, and marveled at how MY WIFE could have possibly set this whole thing up with a straight face.

"“You're throwing Jim a surprise party where?"

"At The McDonald's in South Weymouth."

"Golden Arches, Mayor McCheese - that McDonald's?"


"Ummmmm... Black tie and tails?"


The next surprise party, a couple of years later, was at an Italian restaurant in Newton. Again, it was a place we frequented, so I was utterly clueless when she suggested we eat there. Of course, having already had a surprise birthday party thrown for me, I never expected another one from the same source, which no doubt figured into her thinking. We walked in the door and, again, a whole bunch of relatives and friends showed me the love, albeit this time with frutti di mare and wine instead of fries and thick shakes.

I am now very wary when MY WIFE suggests going out to eat anytime near my birthday. This, of course, means she'll never do it again. Unless the idea is to make me think that she'll never do it again and then she'll do it. Yes, I'll still keep up my guard.


Another time, she shanghaied me. Literally, by the dictionary definition, but if you don't know the dictionary definition don't look it up yet or you'll spoil the story that follows.

She said she had a surprise for me, but she wasn't going to tell me what it was. This made sense since, if you tell someone something, then it isn't a surprise anymore.

It was an overcast and drizzly day. MY WIFE led me on a journey, in the subway, to Boston's waterfront. The dark skies and slow rain only added to the feeling of mystery. It's one thing to be surprised at a restaurant, because when you're going to a restaurant you know the worst thing that can happen to you is getting a crummy meal. Being led on a trip to the waterfront, in the rain, makes you think of every noir film you've ever seen. It didn't help that, when we got there, she took me out on this rickety old pier with big gaping holes in it. We stepped over the gaps in the pier - a misstep would have landed us in the drink - with the seeming objective being a rundown and shabby old building at the end of the pier. I was seriously starting to think back on recent events to see if I had done something worthy of being bumped off for.

MY WIFE went inside the building and indicated that I should, also. So I did. She spoke to someone and he handed her a key. We then went back outside, onto the rickety pier again, and MY WIFE told me to follow her, which I did. She led me to a gate that led to some stairs that led us down to an actual dock. Once on the dock, we walked to one of the six or seven boats moored there and climbed aboard. It appeared that whatever it was I was being bumped off for, the job was going to happen at sea.

We were greeted by a woman with muffins.

She turned out to be the owner of the boat, a marvelous little cabin cruiser named The Golden Slipper. Turns out that MY WIFE had seen an ad in The Improper Bostonian that stated that the boat could be rented out as a sort of floating hotel room, so she did and here we were. The Golden Slipper was a lovely place to spend a night. It was 40 feet long, with the below deck area divided into cozy sleeping quarters, a sitting room with TV/VCR/stereo and a comfy couch, and a fully-functional galley complete with essentials such as coffee, milk, and - courtesy of the owner who was just leaving - muffins.

We had a wonderful time! I especially enjoyed sitting out on the deck in the captain's chair, having a smoke and pretending I was actually well-off enough to afford such a nice toy. The small waves lapping against the side of the boat were very conducive to all bedtime activities. All in all, it was one of the nicest nights I've ever spent anywhere.

And so it was, with such a nice track record to comfort me, that I had no fear concerning whatever MY WIFE might have had planned for our mystery date this past Friday.


I was to meet MY WIFE at her place of business at 6pm, from where we would go to wherever it was we were going. I usually get out of work at around 5pm, so this gave me plenty of time to drive there. As it turned out, I had even more time. As it turned out, I should have used it, too, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

My boss decided to let us go around 4:30 or so, in order to get an early start on the long weekend. It surprised him slightly when I told him "thanks, but no thanks". I explained that I was meeting MY WIFE at 6pm, so it wouldn't do to leave so early.

"Where are you going? What are you doing?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know?!?"

"Nope. It's a mystery date."

He understood, actually. He was the one I had called to tell him that I had been shanghaied when I missed work the day following our night on The Golden Slipper.

I hung around the office until about 5:20, doing some minor bits of work, and then hit the road with what would have appeared to have been plenty of time to get downtown. I decided to forego the Mass Pike and instead took Route 9, saving the toll.

It was a mistake. By taking Route 9, I put myself right into the middle of pre-game Red Sox traffic. By 6:00, I was still only on Boylston Street by the Prudential Center. I finally reached where MY WIFE was waiting for me, 20 minutes late, and beeped at her as I passed by, headed for the parking garage by Government Center. After leaving the car at Center Plaza, I walked back to meet her. Since I didn't know what it was we were doing, I hoped that my lateness didn't ruin things.

Thankfully, whatever we were doing wasn't going to happen until 8pm, so it was OK. Actually, she wanted to have dinner first, so we went to The Kinsale, an Irish-themed pub/restaurant on Cambridge Street. We enjoyed a nice dinner - roast pork loin for me; scallops and crab cake for her - and then started walking in the direction of Quincy Market.

Along the way to whatever it was, we stopped to look at some entries in the Cow Parade, a collection of fiberglass bovines scattered across the city and painted in whimsical themes by various local artists. It was fun, but I had been assured that this was NOT the surprise.

We walked all the way down to the end of Faneuil Hall and then started back up the other side. When we got about halfway, MY WIFE led me inside. I still had no idea where we were headed. As we actually reached the middle of the inside of the building, I finally got it. We were headed upstairs to The Comedy Connection.

The Comedy Connection, as you might have guessed, is a comedy club. OK, that would be fun, but whom were we seeing?

I looked at the poster with pictures of the performers. Excellent! Josh Blue, recent winner of Last Comic Standing, was the headliner. Appearing with him were two of the comics eliminated prior to his win, Michelle Balan and Kristin Key. This was a tremendous surprise! I thought that Josh Blue was one of the funniest people I had ever seen and MY WIFE knew this. When she happened to see an ad for his appearance, again in The Improper Bostonian, she bought the tickets.

If you didn't see this edition of the show, I'll tell you just a bit about Josh Blue. He has cerebral palsy. He does a good deal of material about his disease, but with or without that material - with or without the disease - he is just plain flat-out hilarious. A great deal of his humor is visual, and even the material that doesn't have to rely on sight is spectacularly enhanced by his one-of-a-kind delivery, so I won't try to transfer much of it to the written page. I don't think I could do it justice. Suffice to say, if you see that this guy is coming to a club in your town, go. You'll laugh so hard you'll get a headache from the lack of oxygen. I did.

The openers, Michelle Balan and Kristin Key, were both good. Key is so blue she'd make old-time "party comediennes" like Rusty Warren blush. Balan isn't afraid to trot out a few swears, either, but her material - since she is a bit older than either Key or Blue - is slightly tamer. Josh Blue works in a manner befitting his last name, which he acknowledged might have been a surprise to the audience that has only seen him on the TV show. He said that, if they were dismayed by it, to just pretend that he had extremely well-timed Tourette's Syndrome.

Well, what else can I say except that it was a great time and I thank MY WIFE for another sweet surprise. I'm sure it's not the last one I'll get. And whatever the next one is, I'll again have no worries about it before I find out just what it is. I implicitly trust MY WIFE, and that's no joke.


Still true, of course, and I was only joking about sending out the cops. Unless you don't hear from me by Monday.

Soon? With more better stuff?


Buck said...

Ah, no worries. By that I mean you'll be back on Monday with an amazing tale... past performance IS indicative of future success in this case. There's no doubt in my military mind.

Apryl said...

Hey my kid got bit in the face at that South Weymouth Mickey D' careful.

South Shore people can be hazardous to your health...I know I'm one of them.

Unknown said...

Your wife sounds awesome! What great mystery dates she has planned for you!

CiCi said...

Your wife could have a side career as a surprise date guru. Awesome surprises. Now I think I like her better than I like you. Hmm. I will have to show hubby this post. We do not go out or surprise each other mostly because hubby needs structure with his bipolar disorder. But maybe we could do something on a smaller scale. This is great. Makes me feel happy happy just reading it. (That is a double happy on purpose.) Smile.

~j said...

how fun....can't wait to hear about your date!

Eleonora Baldwin said...

YOUR WIFE is my hero even more now. Those mystery dates are great, they show how well she knows you and how much she loves you. The boat date sounds great, as does the Comedy Club catch.

You are a very lucky guy.
Ciao and have fun!

Lola xx

Jazz said...

I think you're probably safe. Can't wait to hear about it.

Hilary said...

YOUR WIFE is a GEM. But of course you know that.

I haven't heard the name Rusty Warren in years. My parents had a couple of LPs that my ex and I found and laughed over quite a few years back. I just sent him the link. Too funny.

Have a great time. :)

Eddie Bluelights said...

Have a great date and break, Jim.
I may have to have a break from blogging for a while - hip is awful. See you ~ Eddie

Saz said...

my kinda woman your wife...where do we find her kinda men then?? who enjoy this stuff...rare indeed...

saz x

Sueann said...

Oh what fun!!! Your wife is the best!! You are going to have a terrific time but you may be late for work. LOL!

Chris said...

Good luck and have fun!

Ananda girl said...

As you well know... your wife is a treasure! I can't wait to hear what she has done for you this time. Big grins... enjoy!

Anonymous said...

The only surprise I ever want in my life involves Benjamin Franklins.

Millions and millions of them.


Chris Stone said...

your wife sounds like a lot of fun! the boat night was a magical idea.

Michelle H. said...

It sounds like you'll have a great time. Rock the town!

Anonymous said...

YOUR WIFE is a star, but what an example to the rest of us. I gave JP a surprise Birthday party just the one time. He muttered and groaned all the way there-enjoyed the party but made me promise never again. He truly hates surprises. I love 'em, as I keep telling him, but I guess surprise haters are also surprise giving haters, if that makes sense.

i beati said...

I remember the zamboni date very well..I'm off to an all day wrestling tournament//sk

Unknown said...

What a fantastic wife you have Sully! Can't wait to hear what marvelous stuff she has in mind for this particular mystery date. What a lucky man you are!

Karen said...

So fun! Can't wait to hear about your date :)

Land of shimp said...

I liked the subtle, subliminal undercurrent of "If you say anything in the least disparaging about any of this, I will have you know that you are insulting MY WIFE by implication, and that I take very seriously indeed, bucko."

I would never dream of insulting your wife, by implication, or otherwise. I love that she's fun, and that you are willing to go along for the fun. Furthermore, I accept that a Mystery Date is actually fun for many.

But when two Tauruses marry, as is the case in my marriage, where neither of us believes even a little bit in astrology, but saying that is easier than saying, "The two most stubborn, definite personalities met, and recognized in each other a person they were unlikely to crush by virtue of just being themselves..." life is long path of careful negotiation between love and compromise, and that aforementioned, "Have I mentioned we're both mules?" thing.

Surprise and mules = balking.

So I admire the Mystery Date. I admire the adventuresome spirit, and the ability to simply continue to be happy TOGETHER. But my head is filled with images, completely unrelated to YOUR WIFE, or YOU that are making me wince. For us it would be wisdom on the level of screaming, "BOMBS AWAY!" and jumping into a lion's den, slathered in BBQ sauce. MY HUSBAND would likely tell you that if he did that to me? The above applies, but before the saucing, he'd have to apply a vice to sensitive bits and parts to truly convey how dangerous it might be.

I'm glad it works for you. Pssttt...tell YOUR WIFE...that we have an insect museum out here that is the strangest, most random thing ever.

Just in case you survive this mystery date, she may need suggestions for ones to come.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of ways to tell your spouse "I love you" -- and your wife has certainly found a great one. What creative, well-thought-out ideas she has!

Chuck said...

Have fun! If I see you on the news, I'll be sure you had a good time...

Carolina said...

I'm glad we have some recent photos of you, in case you go missing ;-)
Your wife is jealousmakingly original and lovely and worth her weight in gold.
Looking forward to the story.


CSD Faux Finishing said...

Sounds like you're in for quite an awesome time no matter what! I loved Josh Blue, they finally got it right on one of those shows & awarded the really funny man the award. How much fun to have seen him live! Hear from you Monday(?)...

word verification - ingester. Could this mean you two went to dinner??? Hmmm...

lime said...

i can't wait to hear what sort of surprise she has cooked up this time!

and yes, josh blue is hilarious. funny, funny dude.

Unspoken said...

YOUR WIFE is a gem :)!

Rhea said...

I remember that Mystery Date game. My older sister had it. Poindexter was the date no one wanted.

Unknown said...

Hi, Jim. I must've missed this the first time around, because I don't remember reading it. Looking forward to reading about the latest surprise date.


Bruce Coltin said...


Janet said...

YOUR WIFE is awesome. That sounds like so much fun. I love the idea of a night on a boat. But I'd rather it be a sailboat, actually sailing. I miss those days.