Monday, March 23, 2015

"The One"

The confluential mentioning of legendary comedian Milton Berle and the arrival of our recent wedding anniversary impels my retelling – with warming pleasure and enjoyment – a story about “How do you know?” – specifically, “How do you know you are marrying the right person?”– which I believe is what I entitled the original chronicling of this memorable happenstance.

We had recently agreed to be married, and a subsequent Saturday had been arranged for us to shop for and hopefully purchase our wedding rings. 

Not entirely immune to the enticements of branding, we had decided to drive over to Beverly Hills, where things cost a lot but sometimes they’re worth it.   Tiffany’s.  And an, I believe, Paris-based now defunct in Beverly Hills bijouxery called Fred.  Plus a couple of other places – all of whom looked at us as if we had wandered in there by mistake – as well.

And we got what we wanted.

In a surprisingly short time, and with minimal disagreement.  SHE:  “I like this one.”  ME:  “Great!”  ME:  “I think I want that one.” SHE:  “Fine.”

If you were writing a short treatise on “How do you know you are marrying the right person?”, the response “When it’s a breeze picking out wedding rings” would more than adequately suffice.

But for us, it was only the beginning.

There’s a well-known delicatessen in Beverly Hills called Nate ‘N Al’s.  With lunchtime approaching, we agree to go there to celebrate the successful acquisition of our nuptial accouterments – “we agree” being the significant descriptive.

“Do you want to go to Nate ‘N Al’s to celebrate the successful acquisition of our nuptial accounterments?”


That would have been bad.  When you’re about to get married – and perhaps warily on edge – everything is an indicative signal.   

She sneezes.

“God bless you.”

SHE:  “Are you saying you’re religious?”

We had successfully overcome the “Nate ‘N Al’s Dining Challenge.”

Dr. M drops me off out front so I could get our name on the “Waiting List” while she parks the car.  I walk in and, finding it unexpectedly not busy, I am immediately escorted to a table.  I sit down and began perusing a newspaper I had purchased in case the “car parking” activity was an extended one.

Suddenly, I hear the male voice of the dining patron sitting beside me inquire,

“Excuse me.  Can I borrow your ‘Business Section’ for a minute?”

I reflexively say “Sure”, extracting the “Business Section” of the paper, and swiveling in the borrower’s direction to hand it over.

It is then that I discover that the dining patron beside me is…

Legendary comedian Milton Berle.

Though I live in a city famously populated by show biz celebrities, it is surprising how few of them I actually run into, my accumulated list so embarrassing short, it’s like they are deliberately avoiding me.  Wow, look who thinks he’s worth affecting the premeditated strategies of celebrities’ movements.  Sorry.  I shall try to restrict the hubris to a single paragraph. 

And now, back to our narrative.

I was really excited to be sitting beside Milton Berle.  Not to mention sharing my newspaper with him.  I didn’t even care if he gave it back to me, not just because I don’t care about the “Business Section” of the newspaper, but so I could then brag that the erstwhile “Mr. Television” had once pilfered my property.  What a jolly anecdote that would make!

It was then that Dr. M walked in, I waved her my whereabouts, and she came over and sat down beside me.  Being intuitive even before she studied psychology, Dr. M innately picked up on my uncontrollable excitement.

“I know,” she observed, affectionately squeezing my shoulder.  “It’s exciting picking out wedding rings.”

It was then that I shot her a series of subtle but definitively directed head gestures, indicating “Look who’s sitting beside me!”  She looked.

“Not that I’m not excited about the wedding rings,” I soto voce-ally explained.  “But ‘Uncle Miltie’ borrowed my newspaper!

Though I was oblivious at the time, I was passing through a make-or-break “Moment of Truth”, a telling test of priorities and values, the game on the line, its outcome possibly blowing our marriage arrangements sky high.

Fortunately, Dr. M was as excited about sitting beside “Uncle Miltie” as I was.

That, ladies and gentlemen,

Is how you know.

Postscript:  This morning, when I informed Dr. M that I’d be telling you this story and for confirmation inquired, “You were excited, right?” she replied, “Not as excited as you were, but I was excited.”  Which made me even happier.  For my sake, my future wife, though excited herself, had pretended she was as excited as I was.

Folks, you cannot get much better than that.


Pidge said...

On the same note...
Lunching in the very same deli, years ago, with my spouse, your buddy, I got up to go to the ladies room and spotted Stan Freberg talking on the pay phone at the back. (i said this was a long time ago)
Putting my immediate concerns aside, I raced back to the table to let Alan know that one of his favorite funny men was in the restaurant. We accosted him at the takeout counter and had a memorable chat. He seemed delighted to be recognized.
Alan was very impressed that I not only knew who Freberg was, but that I recognized him and remembered that one of his most prized possessions was the LP "Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America"!
There's no greater sign that you are well-matched if you laugh at the same things!

Bob Berlinger said...

Nice story. Is there a post-script? When he returned your paper, did either of you engage him? Did he sign the paper?