I’ll Be Holding a Red Rose, by Lucas Gardner

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Hey Sandra,

Just wanted to say I can’t wait for our blind date this Friday! I’ll see you 7 o’ clock sharp at Maguire’s Pub. Since you don’t know what I look like, I’ll be holding a red rose so you can identify me.

Here are some other ways you can identify me.

If the weather is warm and pleasant that day then I should be nice and relaxed, so I’ll be wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and you’ll find me lounging in one of the booths, leaning way back with my hands behind my head as if floating leisurely in a pool, sipping a drink out of a coconut that I brought from home because Maguire’s Pub doesn’t serve coconut drinks. If it’s raining, my arthritis will be acting up, so you’ll find me writhing around on the floor holding my knees and wincing like this: “Ow-ow-ow, my knees!” If it’s cold that day, you’ll find me warming my hands over an indoor garbage can fire that I started. So, that should help you identify me.

Here’s just a few more ways to spot me.

Our date will coincide with the Red Sox/Phillies game and the bar will almost certainly have the game on. I bet big money on the Sox, so if they win, I will be the guy smoking a big fat cigar and gregariously flipping through a big stack of money that he’s holding in front of his face. “I’m rich, baby. Rich!” I’ll be saying. If they lose, I will be the one pleading with the bartender for a drink on the house, promising to pay him back later. “You know me, man!” I’ll be saying.

Depending on what music is playing at the bar, there will be some other things to look out for to help identify me. If it’s rap music, I will be the one at the bar ranting to a stranger about how no one plays instruments anymore. If it’s country music, I will be the one at the bar ranting to a stranger about how only older country stuff like Hank Williams is good. If there are no strangers at the bar to rant at, I will be saying these things out loud to no one in particular. If it’s any other genre of music I will probably just be nodding my head along to it subtly. Also, I weigh 550 pounds, so look for that.

Depending on when I get out of work that night, I may not have time to eat dinner before the date. If I don’t, then I’ll be cranky and you’ll want to look for a guy standing in the corner with his arms crossed, just kind of pouting and glaring at people as they walk past, periodically stomping his foot on the floor. “Hmph!” I will say as I stomp my foot. On the other hand, if I do have time to eat, I will be the one sort of patting his belly, probably still wearing his dinner bib, looking content.

I will be birdsitting for a friend that morning and their bird is known to peck strangers. I picked up a book on how to domesticate birds, but I’m not sure if I’ll have time to read it before then. If I don’t, I will be the guy covered in bird pecks. If I do, then you should look for a guy who isn’t covered in bird pecks—that’s me, your blind date.

When you account for all these different factors, there are hundreds of different possible variations of how I might look on the night of our date—you should memorize all of them so you can identify me. I will be the guy in a Hawaiian shirt leisurely drinking out of a coconut while counting a stack of money smoking a cigar while ranting about rap music in a bib looking content covered in bird pecks OR I could be the guy warming his hands over an indoor garbage can fire pleading with the bartender for a drink on the house while ranting about country music and throwing a tantrum in the corner with no bird pecks on his body OR I could be the guy writhing on the floor rubbing his arthritic knees while smoking a cigar and counting money and nodding subtly along to music in a bib looking content covered in bird pecks, and so on.

And I’ll be holding a red rose.

See you soon :)

Lucas Gardner is a comedian and writer in New York City. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and more can be found at LucasGardnersThings.com, on Twitter, or in his novels.

I’ll Be Holding a Red Rose, by Lucas Gardner