Charity events and galas have a basic formula: a delicious meal, live entertainment, a silent auction, and an appeal for financial support to keep things up and running. The bigger items in the auction were out of my scope of reality, but I happened to be the highest bidder for a dozen muffins from MiMi’s Cafe. Score. It’s great to finish the night with a breakfast plan for tomorrow.
The host asked me to do a quick video spot afterward to give them a soundbyte for their further promotions. To prep my thoughts I asked, “What kind of interview would you like? What information do you need?”
Actually, he’s a good friend of mine, and he truthfully oozes with love and respect for me. He quipped, “Frankly, Trish, we’re just looking for a cute girl we can exploit on the internet for cash. It’s a fundraising event, and the old men on the video aren’t bringing in enough.” Deal. Count me in.
(And thanks for thinking I’m cute enough to exploit.)
When I approached the videographer, he was very sardonic. “Oh, good. She’s ready now. We’ve been operating on her schedule all night long.”
Okay, first of all, not true. Also, “Hi. My name is Tricia.”
My friend here, who is running the show, asked me to wait until the end of the night to do the interview, so when you asked me as soon as I walked in the door, I deferred to the man in charge.
Also, may I never be the girl on whom the schedule hinges. Certainly not for my convenience. That’s not who I want to be, so a sideline comment like that isn’t going to rest well with me. I said, “Oh, no, that’s not the case, actually. But here I am now, all ready to go. Where would you like for me to stand?”
He didn’t want me to look directly at the camera; he wanted a conversational side shot. But instead of explaining it that way, he said, “Well, I’d like for you to stand there, and be like my wife: completely ignore me.”
Ah. So maybe some people think that’s a funny joke.
“Can you tell I’ve said that joke before?”
“I can. I’m just wondering if your wife knows you’re telling it.”
“Oh, of course she does. She’s my first wife. Of course we’ve been married for seventeen years, and she’s my only wife, so I like to call her my first wife. But I like to say that to remind her to play her cards right so I’ll keep her around.”
Aha. I see, I guess. I didn’t respond. I didn’t have a response. My friend, the master of the night, put his hand on my back – that gesture that says, I’m so sorry this is happening right now. I am embarrassed and melting smaller by the moment, and I just wish this weren’t happening.
We did the interview. I gave them some heartfelt words about grief and healing and loving each other well. When we finished, my friend put his hand on my back again – this time the gesture that says, And now is our chance to show him how insensitive he was. “Trish, why don’t you tell him your story?”
I don’t play the Widow Card very often. But for the respect and sanctity of marriage, I’m happy to whip it out.
“Well, my husband died suddenly three years ago. I was his first wife. I guess I didn’t play my cards right.”
Hey, so, Chauvinist Schmendrick, think next time before you make fun of your wife to a stranger and hint about choosing another companion for your life.