Welcome to episode 11 of Messin’ with Mark, God’s sitcom!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this series, let me tell you how it started . . .
When I was very young, Jesus was walking around in His heavenly area up there when he saw his Dad looking down through the clouds, laughing His head off. Curious, he walked over and asked, “What’s up, Pop?”
“Oh, just pranking that Mark kid again,” He replied.
“Again?” Jesus asked, “Why are You always picking on him?”
“I don’t know. There’s just something about him,” God said. “I mean, look at his face right now.”
Jesus looked down and started to chuckle, then stopped Himself. “Okay, I admit it’s kind of funny, but this is wrong. I mean, You created him. With all due respect, what kind of an example are you setting for the angels? We’re supposed to love and protect humanity, not single one out from all the rest for humiliation.”
God thought for a moment, then looked at Jesus and said, “You’re right. I should stop.” They looked at each other seriously, then said, “Naaaaaaaahhh” and laughed some more.
Jesus suggested that he make a regular show of his pranks on me. They named it Messin’ with Mark.
Remember Rodney Dangerfield’s bit about getting “no respect” from humans? It’s kind of like that, but on a cosmic level.
So, to today’s episode – my story from Chicken Soup for the Soul’s book, The Dating Game. Bizarre, but true!
Apparently, I’m not the only one in God’s sitcom. Every now and then an unfortunate co-star is cast alongside me, as you will see in this episode of Messin’ with Mark titled . . .
A Toe-tal Disaster!
Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn. ~Irvin S. Cobb
I was always a realist when it came to love. I didn’t believe in destiny or the idea of soul mates. I considered it a lot of superstitious hooey. That is, until it happened to me… a date that went so horribly wrong, the only possible explanation was that our union was cursed.
When I first saw her, I was dumbstruck. She seemed to be my dream woman in every way. Everything she said and did was just so… wow. She could have worn a potato sack and it would have looked like high fashion to me. She could have read an insurance policy and I would have savored every word that poured from her sweet lips.
After ogling her with the glazed expression of a barn animal for a few weeks, I finally got up the nerve to ask her out on a date. I was ecstatic when she said yes. I walked home ten feet off the ground.
The first sign that something was amiss came when I called to confirm our date. She said she had severely stubbed her big toe and was thinking about canceling. It wasn’t broken, she said, but it had swollen to twice its normal size. My heart sank, thinking she had changed her mind and made up the toe injury as an excuse. However, when I said she would be sitting most of the night — in a car, restaurant, and theater — she agreed to keep our date.
Sure enough, when I came to pick her up, she was wearing open sandals and the big toe of her right foot was heavily bandaged.
The first sign of the curse came about halfway into dinner. It was one of those restaurants with singing waiters. One broke into song so I lifted my chair to turn around, not noticing that my date had extended her leg under my chair to rest her toe. As I set down the heavy, wooden chair, one of the legs and all of my weight came down squarely on her injured big toe. She let out a yell that was louder than the singer’s amplified voice.
The other diners thought she was launching into a duet with the waiter. I apologized profusely, but she was in so much pain, she couldn’t respond. Eventually, she recovered and forgave me. After all, I couldn’t see her unnaturally outstretched leg under my chair. But I still felt like a putz.
After dinner, we drove to the theater. At least we would be safe there, I thought. No such luck. As the theater filled up, a large woman shimmying along our aisle to her seat stepped on the same toe with her heel. My date screamed for the second time that night. This was becoming downright mysterious. I was starting to think someone had a voodoo doll of her and was repeatedly stabbing the big toe with a pin.
I didn’t think her toe could swell any more than it already had. I was wrong. When the lights came up in the theater and I got a good look at it, I almost screamed, too. It looked like something out of a cartoon. I suggested taking her to the emergency room. She refused, saying she hated hospitals. However, my growing concern must have struck some chord in her heart because she asked if we could go to my place. I had mentioned that there was a swimming pool at my apartment complex, and she thought submerging her toe in the water might make it feel better. I was glad she wanted to spend more time together despite the bumpy start we were having.