“Lon Struckhausen, that’s the silliest thing I’ve heard this week!” roared the Soupster.
“I know it sounds crazy, but my sweet Laura loves her little Schnitzel like he was her baby,” said Lon, picking up the receiver on his early touch-tone avocado-colored kitchen wall phone, while the Soupster sat at the kitchen table.
The Soupster looked across the table and regarded Schnitzel, the ferret, perched upright on his haunches, looking like an annoyed and furry ornamental pepper grinder.
“Hello, is this the Snuggli company?” Lon said into the phone. “I want one for pets, extra-small.” He have his payment info.
“What?” Lon shot a surprised look at the Soupster. “But my credit card should be fine!”
Lon hung up the phone and brought his laptop computer over to the table. “Let me just log into my credit card account… wait a minute.”
“What’s wrong?” asked the Soupster.
“It won’t recognize my ID,” Lon said. “Laura must have changed it.” He went back to the wall phone and called the credit card company.
After punching in a bunch of numbers to navigate a rash of options, Lon reached a live human being. As the Soupster listened, Lon had to recount his high school team colors (navy and green), his mother’s maiden name (McNulty) and his favorite pet (not Schnitzel).
“My wife’s birthday?” said Lon into the phone. “Why, it’s September 18, 1968.”
“Really?” said Lon, glancing over at the Soupster. “Only 3 percent if husbands can correctly name their wife’s birthday without counting on their fingers? That’s in your experience?”
“And 100 percent of wives immediately know their husband’s birthday, again in your experience?” Lon said. “And you have 20 years working the credit card customer service phone lines?”
“Wow,” said the Soupster to Schnitzel, who ignored him.
“And most of them also know their husband’s social security number by heart?” said Lon.
“I guess that’s admirable,” said the Soupster to no one in particular.
“I think they learn it in Girl Scouts,” Lon said. “There may be a badge.”
“What’s that?” asked Lon into the phone. “When they separate the boys and girls into different gym classes?” Lon laughed and hung up.
“That guy thinks they have the boys playing dodge ball,” said Lon, “while the girls perfect advanced memory skills.”
“Just order Schnitzel’s Snuggli,” said the Soupster.
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