My Giraffe Call is Open here! Stop in and leave a prompt!
All of a sudden, I was back in fourth grade, with Miss Cardigan the substitute looking at me over her glasses. “Norman?”
“No, ma’am.” I used the same smile on the secretary that I’d used on Miss Cardigan. “My mother named me Norm.”
“That’s an old name for someone so young.”
“So I’ve been told. I’m not sure Norman would have been any better.” I added the joke-that-wasn’t-a-joke. “She was a statistician.”
“A… oh!” The secretary got it. Miss Cardigan had gotten hung up on the “was” and missed the joke. “Well, are you?”
“Five foot ten, ma’am, brown hair, brown eyes. I work in an office and I commute twenty-five minutes to work. I got to church once in a while and I jog, but not as much as I should.” It was rote by now. Every five years I changed it up, just enough to keep with the times. The bones of the story were true enough – it was just the things I didn’t tell that made it a lie.
“Does that make you the norm?”
She was sharper than most. “Well, ma’am.” I gave her that disarming smile I had so much practice at. “She could have named me Mean.”
It would have been more accurate, in so many ways.
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