Every so often a really good laugh just happens without regard for whether it makes any sense or not.
The other night, at dinner in a restaurant, another customer’s phone sounded loudly and I burst out laughing, in the middle of a bite, with the memory of a story my brother told me once (which had produced the same effect and in the middle of a meal again!) about his experience with such a ring tone.
He was the pianist at a large urban church where there were many people gathered to celebrate the baptism of a child. As the young one was lifted into the air for introduction to the congregation, all were hushed to hear the announcement of the child’s new name. Suddenly, in the silence and on the highest possible sound setting, my brother’s phone rang and the building was filled with a booming “quack, quack, quack” ringtone, three startling duck sounds that just exploded into that special moment.
All eyes were on my brother who was seated at the piano in full view of everyone right up front beside the baptismal font. He scrambled to find the darn phone but he just couldn’t get to it and, sure enough, another, louder triplet of “QUACK, QUACK, QUACK” sounded out before he could grab it and … “pulverize it”, I think he said!
So, back at the restaurant, the folks at the table with the quacking phone were away from the table at the buffet so they hadn’t heard it ring. They were totally mystified when they came back and noticed that I was dissolved in my chair, trying valiantly to save my eye make-up and laughing to the point of breathlessness — you know the feeling. I was pointing at the purse on a chair near us but I was still unable to explain the humour.
I finally had to say something about my behaviour. However, when I finally managed to choke out the story my brother told me and his situation with a “quacker” in a public place, the lady did not seem to understand what I was trying to say and was not at all amused. I was still laughing and having trouble making a complete sentence as I described the loud quacks in the church but she looked confused and soon began politely backing away. She apparently had no idea what I was talking about because not only was it not her phone but I think she had never even heard of a “quacking phone!” So, there we were at the food bar — me trying to snort out the reason I found a quacking phone so funny and her looking concerned for her safety.
I snorted down a bit of humble pie with my fortune cookie on the way home that night.
Colleen Crossley is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.