I’ve heard this joke told a bunch of different ways, but it always makes me laugh. Here’s one of the iterations I found on the internet.
Many years ago, while doing my part in the service of our country, I was stationed aboard an old LST (Tank Landing Ship) parked alongside the piers on the Amphibious base in Little Creek, Virginia (Norfolk). In the evenings, and on most weekends, when not on duty, I would spend my time playing One Pocket in a small poolroom located just around the corner and a couple of blocks down from the base’s main gate.
In those days the game of One Pocket was new to me, having played only the rotation games, but the challenges and difficulties it presented had intrigued me enough to want to learn more. Through the mentoring of a grizzled old Bos’ns mate named Bob, I would learn more than I ever thought I could about One Pocket, or ever thought I should, about love.
Bos’n Bob was the owner of Bos’n Bob’s Bar and Billiards, retired from the Navy, and an accomplished pool player. Especially One Pocket. A string of dust laden trophys sitting along the backbar attested to that fact, and if asked about his tournament wins he was more than happy to tell you the stories as long as you paid for the drinks.
Late one night, while practicing breaks, Bob walked up to my table and stood there, quietly. I looked up at him and asked if there was something bothering him. I had known Bob, for only a couple months, but by the expression on his face I could tell there was something on his mind.
He nervously shifted his weight from one foot to the other and said. “Yeah, there is somethin’ I been wondering about. I been wondering if you could do me a favor?”
“I don’t see why not.” I responded. “After all you’ve done for me I probably owe you one or two, at least.”
“Well, it’s like this.” Says Bob. “I got this daughter see. She’s about your age, pretty as hell like her mother, but she don’t get out much. I was wondering if you might take her out to a movie. Maybe get something to eat. I’ll pay for everything.”
I thought about it for a minute then said. “Sure Bob. Why not. Anyway, I’d hate to pass up an opportunity for a free dinner.”
“That’s great.” He said with a big smile on his face. Then all of a sudden the smile clouded over. “There is one thing I need to mention.”
“My daughter is in a wheel chair. She was real sick when she was a baby and lost the use of her legs. I got a van with a ramp and everything if you want to use it, but if you back out of the deal I’ll understand.”
I saw the pained look on Bob’s face and realized how much he cared for her. “Not a problem.” I said. “How about Saturday night”
I showed up a Bob’s house at seven that Saturday evening. I had cleaned up pretty well, too. White shirt, thin black tie, grey slacks with only a few wrinkles, and I had even trimmed my mustache for the occasion. Bob answered the door and invited me in. “Have a seat.” He said, motioning toward the sofa. “She’ll be out in a minute.” After what seemed more like an hour, Bob pushed his daughter into the living room.
When I saw her my mouth opened but I couldn’t speak. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Her hair was long and golden and parted in the middle with a slight curl. Her eyes were a deep blue, like the ocean. Eyes you could get lost in, never being able to find your way back, and never wanting to. Her skin was fair, her cheeks were pink, and her lips were full and pouty. It was love at first sight. We left the house that night and began a romance that would last until the end of summer.
Late one evening in early September, we were sitting in her back yard listening to music from a portable radio, and enjoying each others company. The moon was full and the stars were out. She was sitting in her wheelchair, and I sat close beside her in a lawn chair.
I put my arm around her shoulders and we kissed. We had kissed before, of course, but this time seemed different. There was more ardor in her kisses. More passion. After a time we breathlessly separated and she looked deep into my eyes and asked. “Would you make love to me?”
I didn’t know what to say. Of course I wanted to.
“How? How can we…” She kissed my cheek.
“Push me over to the tree by the fence and help me up so that I can hold on to that low hanging limb.” She said.
I did as she instructed and we made love.
No sooner had I helped her back into her wheelchair, the backporch light came on. I could see Bob’s sillhouette in the glow of the light. He called out my name.
When I got to the porch he looked at me with menacing eyes.
“I saw what you did.” He said.
“You did?” I replied with a shaky voice.
“Yes. I saw what you did and I wanted to thank you.”
“Thank me? Thank me for what?”
“For putting her back into the wheelchair. Most of the guys just leave her hanging in the tree.”