The following happened in a far more gentle and innocent time, before the death of irony (Thank you very much, ill-informed Alanis Morissette), before the death of truth, before “collusional” (street slang combining collusion and delusional) presidents, before apparent fake media, and before 9/11. Most importantly, before my divorce.
This is not to say that it was a golden age, far from it. There was still poverty, pestilence and mass murderers.
This is all a roundabout way of saying that 1991 was still a time where coincidence thrived, and was omnipresent. Not like today, where or whence coincidence is as extinct as good manners and decent driving.
It was June 1991, at a Caribou Coffee® near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the land that made Schlitz® famous. I was killing time before I had to kill time in rush hour traffic. Keep in mind, these were the days when I was perpetually late for everything.
Just to clarify, I corrected this by recognizing all the times I was accidentally punctual, and applied all that data to everything I did. Now my nickname is too early Ed, but I digress.
As usual, I had my back to the front door. The last thing I ever need is a dumb conversation with someone who thinks they know me because of inadvertent eye contact. But if they truly knew me, they would leave me the living fuck alone.
Here is where the coincidence factor kicked in. Sitting behind me was the authentic oddball, Jeffrey Dahmer. He’s mumbling to himself. The only words I can decipher are “leg of lamb” followed by an inappropriate burst of laughter.
For the first time ever in my life, words of wisdom from my lunatic mother made crystal clear sense. Never ever make eye contact with people who talk to themselves about food and laugh.
At the time, I did not know this was “the” Jeffrey Dahmer, “the” serial killer cannibal, “the” Milwaukee Monster. He was merely the pervert weirdo who committed indecent exposure at the Wisconsin State Fair.
Like an unexpected tsunami, pure obnoxiousness burst into the coffee shop in the form of Kim Kardashian, aged ten and a half. She stunk to high heaven of excess, a victim of Daddy’s girl syndrome. This was made more apparent for she was accompanied with her nanny and a man driver.
Her voice was shrill and privileged, “I want a venti® Frappuccino® with extra caramel and whipped cream, and make it a double shot of espresso.”
“Two things, Lady Kimmy K,” the nanny paused and looked around hoping people did not notice her loss of dignity. “The last thing you need is caffeine, and two, they don’t have that here. This is not Starbucks®.”
“Two things back to you, “I know this is not Starbucks® and two, you’re fired. Jeeves, take me to the nearest Starbucks®.”
Without looking, Bob, the driver, who was not named Jeeves, held the door open, “As you wish, Lady Kimmy K.” It appeared he was more comfortable of swallowing his pride for the paycheck.
As abruptly as they had changed the mood of the coffee shop, they were gone, leaving behind a baffled nanny, an incoherent Jeffrey Dahmer, and the piped-in smooth jazz interspersed with sensitive singer-songwriter pap.
This event changed my life forever, and it was there and then that I decided my son, Ed Sheeran would be a smooth jazz musician.