So there I was at my bank's drive-through window.
"May I have the tube please? I asked the young woman at the window . . .She gave me a blank look.
"The tube! I shouted at her over the intercom. "The tube! The tube! That stupid plastic thing I'm supposed to put my checks in and send to you through the vacuum chute so you can send me back some cash and also free suckers."
Much to her credit, the young woman didn't a) leave her post at the window, b) climb into my car, and c) start smacking me around, as well as pulling my hair even though I'd just been so snotty you'd have thought I was in the eighth grade again. Instead, with an expression of mild surprise on her face, she politely inquired, "The tube's not out there already? I thought it was already out there."
I said no, the tube's not out here already, although what I really wanted to say was no the tube's not out here already, duh.
At that point the young woman put out a general Tube Alert among her fellow employees, and before long I could see all sorts of heads bobbing up and down as various tellers checked around their stalls and so forth, searching for the missing piece of bank equipment.
It was then I happened to glance at my lap and notice THAT THE TUBE WAS ALREADY SITTING IN IT. Quickly I reviewed several case scenarios which would adequately explain how the tube got there.
CASE SCENARIO NO. 1: SOMEBODY WAS TRYING TO GASLIGHT ME.
Remember that old movie GASLIGHT with Ingrid Bergman, in which Charles Boyer keeps doing sneaky, underhanded things to make her think she's going crazy? Maybe that's what had happened to me - Charles Boyer put the tube in my lap.
CASE SCENARIO NO. 2: I HAD AMNESIA.
Or perhaps I was like those characters on soap operas who are always getting amnesia. But instead of waking up in the hospital with a good-looking and rich Greek stranger at the side of my bed claiming to be my lover, I woke up at the drive-through window with a tube in my lap.
CASE SCENARIO NO. 3: THE TUBE IN MY LAP WAS ACTUALLY A SPARE TUBE I BROUGHT WITH ME FROM HOME.
OK. You don't have to tell me. I'm being stupid.
CASE SCENARIO NO. 4: I WAS ACTING LIKE A LOSER AGAIN.
Basically, I define a loser as someone who keeps screwing up so that other innocent people (such as bank tellers) are inconvenienced. Clearly this was the case with me and the tube that I forgot I had already removed from the tube compartment.
So I admit it. I was a total loser that day at the bank. Unfortunately, the incident was not an isolated one. In fact, I have made a number of runs at being a loser throughout my lifetime. I remember the day I was teaching a freshman English class at BYU, for example, when I realized I had my skirt on backward. Instead of cooly carrying on like nothing was wrong, I emitted a sharp little scream in front of the class, then yelled, "Yikes, you guys! My skirt is on backward!" While this behavior did not technically inconvenience my students, it certainly alarmed them, and I pretty much felt like a loser that day, too.
Anyway, I went home from the bank and made a sacred vow to STOP BEING SUCH A LOSER! From then on I would turn in library books on time, attend all meetings where my presence was required and return phone calls.
Also, I would start buying wedding gifts in time for the wedding itself instead of sending something along to the happy couple a few years later. That's why I made such a big effort to get to a reception in Kaysville which I was invited to a couple of weeks ago: This time I actually had a gift, and I wanted to show off in front of all the losers there who didn't.
Things, however, did not go well.
For one thing, I got lost, which is pretty amazing given the fact that Kaysville only has two streets. For another, when I finally arrived at the bride's home where the reception was being held, her parents (Louise and Larry) answered the door in their work clothes "I'm guessing there's not a reception here tonight," I said, clutching my little wedding gift there on the porch.
"You would be right," said Larry. "It's this weekend." Then he gave me a big hug anyway and invited me in to look at family pictures, and it occurred to me that for a loser, I have some pretty terrific friends.