NOT the ex-girlfriend (for illustration purposes only)

NOT the ex-girlfriend (for illustration purposes only)

The funny thing about the internet is that you never know what will come back to bite you in the ass. In my case, it was a very ex-girlfriend with a very long memory.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had my fingers crossed every time I log into Facebook hoping no one would issue me an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I don’t mind donating to a good cause but I am not the kind to take part in these type of things. To quote Austin Powers, “It’s not my bag baby.”

Yesterday, it finally happened and the challenge came from a most unusual source. I got a FB email from a woman I briefly dated in college (which literally is in the last century) who said “I figure pouring a bucket of ice water on your head (along with, maybe, a donation to ALS) will even the score from college!”

Okay then….sounds pretty juicy, right?

Now I must tell you that I have no interaction with this woman on FB other than that we’re FB friends. I know she’s gone on to become a well-respected doctor, she’s married and has a couple of kids but that’s about it. So I was shocked to see my name coming out of her mouth just before she dunked herself with the ice water. And of course, it got me to thinking about our 40-year-old date. What had happened that night in 1974 (!) that was so bad that she felt she had to “even the score?” I knew she was probably joking but still…that date had stuck in her mind.

So I told her I did not remember anything about the date. Now this is not entirely true. What I remember is me — a kid from the projects — pulling up to her fancy suburban house in my 1966 Chevy Impala to be grilled by her doctor father. He was Jewish, the chief cardiologist at the hospital where I was born, and probably not thrilled his daughter was going out with someone with my last name. Still, she was the one going to Fordham, a Catholic college.

Let’s just say I was a tad intimidated. My father was an elevator operator and I thought, maybe, just maybe, I was out of my league even being there.

So yesterday, when I asked what was so wrong about that date, she kind of let me have it: “I remember…having a really terrible time. My interpretation of that evening was that you appeared to believe that you were a bit superior – but that was just my opinion!” (I love that she tries to soften the blow by saying it was just her opinion. Umm, who else was there?)

Now dear reader, I do not remember any other details of the date but, while her criticism stings, she is probably right. It was a classic case of me trying to overcompensate for the insecurity I felt from her father and her surroundings. But she didn’t get that now or then so I apologized through FB and then it hit me — I am apologizing for something that happened 40 years ago to someone I barely remember.

Facebook is a can of worms, my friends…a strange, strange world where one can never escape one’s past and a charitable venture like the ice bucket challenge can be wielded like a club. Then again, maybe it’s true what they say about revenge — it’s a dish best served cold, ice cold…in a bucket! 🙂

  1. Ron says:

    Paul, that’s why you became a journalist: gotta tell it like it happened, painful as it may be. (That said, you know quite well, a lot of tabloid reporters would draw the line where the truth pertains to them. (So, um, I’m guessing that as a kid you were also a pretty devout Catholic and you took vows – to truth-telling or whatever, pretty seriously.) Just guessin.

  2. Paul LaRosa says:

    Ron, let’s just say I was a lot more devout then than now. 🙂

  3. Nina Lentini says:

    Great story.

  4. paul says:

    thanks…i just hope i don’t now get hit with more than a bucket of ice!!!

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