Thursday, August 10, 2006

Help, I'm locked in and I can't get out! (originally posted October 4, 2005)

Do you remember the old, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials? That’s how I felt this past week as Laura and I spent a few days at the Shore in Ocean City, MD with Kevin and Brenda Rutt from the church. We had many “side-splitting” moments but the climax occurred after a rousing round of miniature golf (which I won by one stroke…that has nothing to do with the story but I felt the need to include it).

We had just completed the 18th hole (did I mention that I won by one stoke?) and had turned in our golf clubs. Our next stop was the seafood buffet at “The Wharf” but first I had to make what I thought would be a “quick stop” in the men’s restroom. It was one of those “one-man jobbies” so I entered, closed the door behind me and turned the deadbolt to secure the door. I accomplished the purpose for which I had entered, washed my hands (something only 50% of men do after using the potty) and returned to the door. I was feeling very good (after all, I had won the golf game) and was very hungry.

To my dismay, the deadbolt was stuck. No matter how hard I tried to move the latch, this thing wasn’t going anywhere. I tried to turn the knob with such might that I broke a blood vessel in the palm of my hand. I knocked and yelled but no one was near enough to hear. I was trapped. I could feel the oxygen quickly evaporating from the tiny little cubicle (Okay, maybe that’s a stretch…but did I mention that I won the golf game?). Finally, I heard Brenda’s voice from outside the door wanting to know what was taking me so long (she wasn’t in as good of mood because she could not add me to the long list of men from Grace Church that she had previously defeated on the golf course).

When I finally convinced her that I was really trapped, within seconds she and Kevin and my wife were standing outside the men’s room door. Unfortunately, they were so busy and preoccupied with laughing at my predicament, they could not help me escape. As soon as one of them had subsided laughing enough to get help, they went and found the only employee of the golf course that afternoon. As fate would have it, his name was “John.” (somehow I find humor in that irony). John grabbed the keys to the deadbolt thinking that he could quickly remedy the situation. Unfortunately, the tumbler was shot and the key had no effect. John began to pound on the lock with a hammer, each glancing blow causing an ear-splitting echo inside what had now become a torture chamber and what I feared would certainly become my tomb.

Every once in a while I would hear my wife tell John, “Go wait on your customers, John, we’re in no hurry.” I’m now yelling at the top of my lungs, “No, John, forget your customers and get me out of this prison!!” John tried, but to no avail. Kevin tried, but to no avail. Brenda took pictures. Laura just laughed. But finally, two heroes came along. These were two men who built houses and had brought their families for a game of putt-putt. Once they ascertained the gravity of the situation, they took control and in minutes had me free. John felt bad. He gave us another round of golf on the house. This time Kevin and I tied (that’s okay…I won the first round)!

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