I was in the orthopedic ward of the hospital the other day--the waiting room, to be exact. I had arrived there by way of a knee injury that I prefer not to explain lest you, like my doctor, pronounce my motorcycling behavior as "self-destructive" and "tantamount to a death wish."
Minding my own business, I buried my nose in a natural healing book I'd brought as a hopeful way of avoiding places like this in the future, with the likes of doctors like that wanting to operate if it fit their expertise, and wanting you to "live with it" if it didn't.
We all sat quietly, presumably pitying ourselves with "Why me?" or berating ourselves with "What was I thinking?" for whatever had happened to deliver us here. I and my partners in needless suffering remained quietly withdrawn, some with eyes fixed on the obligatory television, broadcasting vacant Regis Philbin crap. Anything not to hear someone else's problems.
Anyway, the mood now set, a bright moment indeed flashed briefly and quickly in the midst of this.
An elderly gent had returned to the room, having just seen his doctor. He looked to be at least in his seventies, tall, sporting a dashing gray warm-up jacket, and somewhat hunched with frailty, but he was loud of voice. He approached a seated couple he'd obviously chatted with during his prior wait. Whether the near-yelling was for their benefit or his, I'm not sure, but all ears and eyes were upon him as he stood over them, delivering the following monologue:
"WELL, YOU FOLKS, IT WAS NICE MEETING YOU. THERE'S SOMETHING I WANT YOU TO KNOW. I'M SICILIAN--MY NAME'S CAMPANELLA. YEAH, CAMPANELLA, THAT MEANS 'LITTLE BELL.' MY WIFE USED TO CALL ME HER 'LITTLE DING-DING.'
HEH HEH, YOU FOLKS HAVE A NICE DAY."
The couple on the receiving end nodded and smiled politely, along with one or maybe two others. Little Ding-Ding ambled out the door, escaping us. We returned to our solitary ills.