1950s-dateWho’s ready for another Typical Tracy flashback? Like Jimmy Durante said, “I gotta million of ’em!”

Everyone remembers their first date. Mine was with a boy named Michael. He had dark curly hair and a brilliant smile, and close to the end of our 7th grade year he asked me to go to the Madonna carnival in Fort Lee. Fort Lee was the town right next to ours, made somewhat famous by Roseanne Roseannadanna continuously reading letters from Richard Feder (of Fort Lee, New Jersey).

7th grade was turning out to be a great year, and the last few weeks of school were packed with activities. I was scheduled to sing “Close To You” by the Carpenters in the school talent show, and field day was just a few days away where I was hoping to medal in a race or two. And now my first date.

The day was a beauty, and I met Mike and a bunch of other friends at the carnival. We did the usual stuff you did at these rinky dink fairs – ate cotton candy, tried to get the ping pong ball in the gold fish bowl, and went on rides.

That, my friends, was my downfall. There was one ride that everyone was going on that spun you around a lot – and for the life of me I can’t remember the name. In any case, I was game to give it a try. What could go wrong?

The ride started out great. I was snuggled next to Mike as we spun around and around, up and down, and still around and around. I suddenly became very aware of the blur of the grass, and the crowds, and the buildings, and doubly aware of my stomach full of cotton candy. While I prayed for the ride to stop, my body decided that no prayers were going to save me on this day.

The next thing I knew there was vomit all over the leg of my jeans – and oh yes, it was mine. Typical.

The next thing I remember is sitting/laying on the concrete behind one of the gaming stalls – I was hoping it was the one with the darts and balloons. Maybe someone would miss and put me out of my misery. Mike was worried sick, and sat holding my hand. One of our friends kept shoving a pretzel in my face telling me that eating bread would settle my stomach. I remember slapping it out of his hands and watching it roll down the midway.

Before long Fort Lee’s finest got involved. I guess seeing a girl close to passed out behind the dart tent with vomitty jeans was a tad suspicious. After a few basic questions they had the paramedics check me out and before I could say Jack Robinson they had me loaded on a gurney and I was being shoved into the back of the ambulance. I saw Mike’s face before the doors closed; I think he was close to crying.

This wasn’t go well.

I was taken to the emergency room and was relieved to see my parents after a short while. I was already feeling better between the IV and the air conditioned hospital, and was eager to get out and go home. The doctor had other plans. His examination showed that my appendix was enlarged and needed to come out. Wha? Huh? AN OPERATION???

They took it out that very night. I was in the hospital for a few days, and Mike and his parents came to visit me. I was sort of glad that there had been something really wrong with me, because it gave me a decent excuse for my having puked all over myself. And I give him credit for coming at all. Lots of guys would’ve been like “nice knowin’ ya” after an episode like that.

I missed all my stuff at school too…the talent show, field day, all of it. But worst of all, I missed out on my first date. I never got to experience the rest of the day – hanging out as it got dark, feeling Mike slip his hand into mine, perhaps a first kiss.

After that school was pretty much over. Mike and his family went somewhere on vacation and by the time school started the next year we had both moved on to other things. We stayed friends though. We even went to a Springsteen concert together our junior year in high school, but just as friends. It’s funny – whenever I ran into his parents in town, they were always super nice to me; as if they kind of felt sorry that my date with their son was ruined, even though it was years ago.

Yes, my first date was certainly memorable. And I still have the scar to prove it.

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