BEFORE THE HILL

Jill and I weren’t always a couple. In fact, before 1997 we didn’t even know the other existed. As in, alive. Crazy, I know. But true.

And many people may be wondering: “Jeff, how the ever living hell did you dupe that beautiful college girl with the bright future into dating a man with calloused hands who smelled of rotten produce all the time and is stupid and ugly? How did you do that, you dumbass jerk?”

The relationship began, in earnest, with a dream.

“That’s a stupid thing to write. You’re stupid.”

We met on a blind date. Jill’s sister, Julie, wanted to find someone to take Jill’s mind off of Jill’s wonderfully handsome and brilliantly wealthy ex-boyfriend with the powerful thighs. She wanted to find a rebound guy for Jill. A disposable companion until someone new and real and worthy came along.

Julie mentioned all of that at work one day and her co-worker Wendy said “Hey, I know a guy!”

And without asking “What does he look like? Does he have a job? Is he currently in the throes of a raging coke addiction? Is he some sort of genius serial killer who operates a four-state network of dungeons with other sadistic monsters?” without any investigation into my background, Julie said, “Great. Let’s set them up!”

“Cool! He’s a really-“

“Shit, Wendy, I didn’t ask for his life’s story! I said he’ll do!”

So we all went out in a big group to Durbin’s on the south siiiiiiiide. I sat right next to Jill at a long table full of pizza and people and Jill turned her chair until she was facing away from me.

Then Julie asked me what kind of pizza I wanted. I told her “Surprise me!” figuring it would just make it easier than going back and forth with “What do we have? What’s this one? Is it good?” Julie rewarded my consideration with an epic eye-roll. She slapped pizza with a stubbed-out cigarette in it and said “Here, this one’s got tobacco topping, just for you, assface!”

The cigarette thing may not have happened. But suddenly, Jill, and everyone she came in with, got up and left.

Bye.

I sat there with Wendy and her boyfriend Brian and we all shrugged. For like 40 minutes. In silence. Then we left.

Don’t ask me how the lines of communication were reopened. But at some point, a phone call was made that put Jill on one end and me on the other. I think I called her after much convincing from Wendy.

“But, Wendy, you saw it, she couldn’t look at me and then they all just left.”

“Quit being a pussy.”

And it was in that conversation, with Jill tethered to the wall via her parent’s landline phone, when I gave absolutely zero fucks and told Jill my Bert & Ernie dream.

Bert and Ernie were bowling. It was Bert’s turn. He rolled his ball and hit the center pin dead on, leaving himself with the dreaded 7-10 split. He was pissed.

Ernie, being an oblivious dickwad, turned to Bert and wagered, “Hey Bert, if you pick up this spare, I’ll give you my small intestine.”

That seemed to scorch Bert’s ass. Ridiculously determined, he grabbed his ball from the return and hurled it down the alley. He missed both pins.

Ernie laughed in that dumbass way of his.

With fury in his veins, Bert just took off and ran down the alley, sliding feet-first into the pins, sending the 7 and 10 flying.

He was still sitting there, with his legs stretched out before him, laughing and reveling in his absurd revenge when the pinsetter came down and chopped off both of his legs. It sliced them cleanly enough, but as the bar slid away to clear the pins, it drew out the white stuffing from Bert’s plush legs.

The last thing I saw: an overhead view of Bert sitting in the bowling alley, his severed legs trailing stuffing, his face upturned and screaming.

I told this dream to Jill. And a few weeks later on our first alone date I told her that I had tattoos. And somehow we’ve survived.

23 Comments

  1. I do not underestimate the role that my tattoos played in seducing my husband. Thank you tattoos!

    • jeffandjill

      10/07/2014 at 3:20 pm

      Jill made it clear that if she had known that I had tattoos before we met, then we never would have met. She’s since greatly changed her stance on tattoos and just about everything else.

  2. Quite the first date story! I don’t think I’ve had an official “date” in my life. Met all my beaus at school or work. Never had that horrible blind date experience (thank God).

  3. It must have been the awesome dream you told her about. Good job since you both won in the end. Great post!

    P.S. Many of us are still extremely curious about what prompted Jill to ask you if you are even attracted to women. Stop dodging that one!

    • jeffandjill

      10/07/2014 at 3:50 pm

      Maybe I will write about the whole “are you even attracted to women” convo when some distance can make it funny to me. It might be a while. But here’s something to up the curiosity: she’s not the only one to ever wonder that!!! In fact, I may be the only one who’s ever not wondered.

      • Well, here’s how I met my husband: I interviewed him for a job. I was working at a crisis mental health center in West Oakland, and we were looking for either someone of color or another female, since most of the social workers there were white males. I was almost positive that he was gay–so much so that I told our psychiatrist (who was gay) that he was, and that even though he wasn’t female or of color, he was kinda a minority anyway. Well, he got the job and we were married in less than 18 months. Lots of gay men flirt with him still, but I’m here to tell you that he is most definitely attracted to women!

        • jeffandjill

          10/07/2014 at 8:53 pm

          That’s an awesome story. Good thing you hired him. Jill kinda hired me too. But that’s a different boring story. Sounds like you and your husband both won too.

          I’m amazed that I set off anyone’s gaydar.

  4. From now on, in addition to PSLs, you will hear, “Quit being a pussy.” One of these days I’ll write up how my eventually-to-be husband with Frankenstein monster hair won me over with a batch of lemon bars plus a batch of Toll House cookies delivered during a Dickens class. Because that happened.

    • jeffandjill

      10/08/2014 at 8:38 am

      That’s goddamned hilarious! And I love that you were accurate by using “Frankenstein monster” and not just Frankenstein. It makes all the difference!

      • We met in a Dickens class–we were both English majors. I have read Mary Shelley 🙂

        • jeffandjill

          10/09/2014 at 9:30 am

          I’m a petty man. A petty, bitter, twit of a man. And it always bothers me when people don’t say “Frankenstein’s monster” when referring to the reanimated corpse. I have problems.

  5. I wore a black bra under a light yellow polo shirt and had an exploding vagina the night I first hung out with my husband. The dude smolders and it’s contagious. I cannot deny it.

    • jeffandjill

      10/09/2014 at 9:26 am

      Exploding vagina. Sounds like a drink. “I’ll have 2 exploding vaginas and a drippy dick.”

      I wore a black thong under white short shorts.

  6. I can see how that would be a life-changing dream. I think my life just changed. For good or ill I’m not sure yet.

  7. I think this story may have changed my life. For good or ill it remains to be seen. Cigarettes in pizza I can understand. Bert getting amputated? Fine. Bowling though. Unacceptable.

    • jeffandjill

      10/09/2014 at 9:28 am

      I’ve changed my stance on bowling after The Big Lebowski. But nothing will change my desire to see Bert’s legs get severed. Ernie can do so much better.

  8. The weird thing is, this story makes PERFECT sense! Both the dream and how you two ended up together.
    Because the universe has a totally random sense of humor.

  9. That dream though. What the fuck.

    My first date with my husband was at a festival type thing that took place on a street made up totally of bars. It was awesome, except he wasn’t old enough to get in any of the bars. I should’ve told him to quit being a pussy.

    • jeffandjill

      10/09/2014 at 9:33 am

      It’s proven that telling a man to “quit being a pussy” is the mental override switch to get him to do anything. If you told a man: “Quit being a pussy and order a PSL and then dye your hair pink and watch The Notebook with me,” he’d do it. Not that you’d want to stay with him after that or anything.

  10. Thank you for the mental image of Bert in a bowling alley with his legs ripped off. You didn’t mention it but my imagination filled in the details of him simultaneously doing the eyebrow thing while spasming like he was doing The Pigeon.

    • jeffandjill

      10/10/2014 at 9:13 am

      Doin’ the wah-wah
      Pigeon!
      Doin’ the wah-wah
      Pige-AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!! MY FUCKING LEGS! THIS DEVIL MACHINE HAS TAKEN MY FUCKING LEGS! OH YOU HORRIBLE GODLESS BASTARDS, MY LEGGGGGGGSSSS!

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