I do it. Don’t you?
An Earwigging tale
I was in a pub, on my own, having a quiet meal. There were four elderly gents — nattily dressed, clearly ex-military — sitting across the way, drinking various beverages and gossiping. They were not trying to keep their voices down, though they must have known other drinkers could hear every word.
One of them was even louder than the others, very keen to be heard. All The Time. And even when the others were trying to hold a conversation about something else.
Must admit that I took agin Mr Loudmouth.
Anyway, Mr Loudmouth told a joke that he had (he said) told at the wedding of one of his three daughters. It was an OK joke. The other three gents laughed dutifully. I wasn’t convinced they really found it funny.
Mr Loudmouth clearly thought it was very funny, though.
And he was very pleased with himself.
Mr Loudmouth’s Wedding
The wedding took place in an oldy-worldy country church. The groom and his family were American, and so were much impressed by the quaint surroundings.
Mr Loudmouth, per tradition, delivered daughter #3 to her American groom at the altar where stood the vicar who had already officiated at the weddings of daughters #1 and #2.
There then ensued the following exchange —
Vicar: Who gives this woman?
Mr L is silent
(Father of the bride is supposed to say “I do” and then retire into obscurity.)
Mr L [whispering very, very softly]: I do.
[then shouting loudly]
AND THANK GOD FOR THAT!
According to Mr Loudmouth, everyone laughed. He had (he said) done a good job, because he wanted all the guests to enjoy the wedding and laughter was a good sign.
He clearly thought he had done wonderfully well. And he hadn’t — of course — retired dutifully into obscurity. He’d made himself the centre of attention.
I wasn’t surprised there.
Mr Loudmouth did not say what daughter #3’s reaction was.
Did she laugh?
Show leanings towards patricide?
Personally, I’d have tended towards patricide, though you may feel more undertanding for Mr L than I did.
I finished my meal and left.
I did not pour a glass of wine over Mr L’s head.
Tempted? Moi? What do you think?
Earwigging: and then?
Earwigging is grist to the writer’s mill. I haven’t actually used this story in a book — yet 😉
I thought I would share it with you first, though I fancy some version of it will end up in a book, eventually.
Or he could just be turned into a pantomime villain who gets his comeuppance in a ridiculous way. I could see him, dressed in his immaculate wedding suit and shiny shoes, pinned to the ground by an old-fashioned pitchfork across his neck and covered in rotting hay and cow dung. Everyone else would, of course, be laughing.
What do you think? Perhaps you have a more fitting end for him? The grislier, the better?
Earwigging : other tales?
I’m sure you, too, have tales you’ve earwigged and then used, suitably amended or bowdlerised, in stories you’ve shared with friends, or more widely.
The madly ranting cab driver? The gossip on the top deck of the bus? Something overheard in the queue or in the pub?
Don’t keep your earwigged tales to yourself.
Please do share.
We all need a bit of fun right now.