Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Saga of J. E. Taime

Back when my wife and I were first dating, we lived in different cities. This had advantages and disadvantages, but for the most part it worked pretty well. The biggest difficult that I can remember centered around, well... flowers.

I should start by explaining that my wife and I both read a lot. So, one of the things we did in our early dating was to exchange books. It gave us new things to read when we were apart, and new things to discuss when we were together.

One of the authors I introduced to my wife was Laurell K. Hamilton, in particular her Anita Blake books. The title character in these books makes her living by raising zombies; in her spare time, she helps investigate supernatural crimes and executes rogue vampires. Early in the series, she is courted - rather aggressively - by the Master of The City, a powerful and sexy vampire who is prone to murmuring endearments in French and sending batches of a dozen white roses with a single red rose tucked among them.

So we're dating, and we're in different cities, and an Occasion rolls around. I think it was the Beautiful Woman's birthday, but at this point I'm really not sure. Whatever it was, it was the sort of occasion that merited flowers. I was due to visit that weekend, but I think The Occasion was on a Friday; in any case, I wanted the flowers to arrive ahead of me.

So I called up a major floral company (I won't say whom, but it was an 800 number) and placed an order. As a nod to the Anita Blake books, I asked for a dozen red roses, with a single white rose placed in their midst - a nice inversion of the symbolism, as I saw it. And, for the note, I had them put down "Je t'aime". Simple and elegant; elegant and simple.

I'd forgotten that we were in Texas.

The flowers didn't arrive on Friday. They arrived on Saturday, looking about four days old. The arrangement was, at least, correct - a single white rose amid red - but they'd even managed to screw up the note. Instead of reading "Je t'aime," as I'd intended, it said:
To: {The Beautiful Woman's real name}
From: J.E. Taime

That pretty well did it. Clearly, we decided, this wasn't just a near-complete SNAFU on the part of the florist. Oh, no. There was no mistaking it: J. E. Taime was making a move on my woman. J. E., I decided, was obviously something of a good ol' boy, and more than a bit of a womanizer. Equally clearly, he worked for the florist.

So I called them up, and demanded to speak to him.

Okay, no - not really. Actually, I called them up and complained about their utter inability to get anything right. But that's neither funny nor interesting, and the idea of ol' J.E., in his cowboy hat and his oversized belt buckle, sending flowers to my wife... that was funny.

At least to us.

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