At my favorite cigar shop, they have a giant Jenga set made out of cut 2x4s. What dominoes are to my old Columbus neighborhood, Jenga is to this Pittsburgh haunt. Rules are strictly enforced:
- Thou shalt use only one hand.
- Thou shalt touch only one block at a time.
- Thou shalt touch a maximum of three blocks during one turn. This last rule is a motherfucker. If your first three blocks are stuck, well, you're yanking on one anyway.
I had absent-mindedly stopped the stack from falling by touching a second block.
Courtney saw it. "CHEATER!" she shrieked, extending her finger in accusation.
I was at a crossroads, I knew. Yes, I could cop to cheating. Courtney and I would have a nice laugh about it. Then I'd take my future wife out to dinner. We'd have a great "how we met" story for the rest of our lives. Her family and our children would lovingly address my Christmas gifts to "Sleazy McCheats." And eventually, at my funeral, my lovely pearl-haired widow would tearfully say that by going to heaven, I'd cheated even death. Everyone would chuckle warmly, shaking their heads. Oh, that John.
"I DID NOT EITHER CHEAT!"
"YES YOU DID! YOU TOUCHED THIS BLOCK RIGHT HERE WITH THAT FINGER RIGHT THERE!"
Earl was there, selling out his gender. "You totally cheated, man."
"SEE?!" Courtney whirled at me. Caught, I had no choice.
"I DID NOT EITHER FUCKING CHEAT AND FUCK YOU, EARL."
And thus did I have dinner solo that night. "He ate meatloaf alone and watched an old Simpsons episode" is a decent eulogy, too.