Permission from Paul
by: Philip Hassey

        After all the horrors of baggage, somehow I survived life, and eventually when the time came to pass I came to a liking of a girl named Nan. I also realized that I wanted to marry her. I suppose that seems like a quick jump, and it might be. But as these are the Shem Memoirs, not the Phil's Freshman Year memoirs, I am leaving out most of the non-Shen stuff that I can. However it went, I knew I had to ask her brother for permission to date her. That all had to do with the stuff I read in my dating crisis book I Kissed Dating Goodbye which is by Joshua Harris. A good book for a dating crisis.

        "Hey, Paul," I said as I walked into his room, after spending the evening having baggage about the whole thing.
        "Hey, Phil," he said. Somehow the way he said that made me decided that I would sit awkwardly on his bed and watch him do his homework for a few minutes. After about twenty of them, Paul looked over his shoulder at me, and demanded to know what I wanted,
        "What do you want?"
        "Nothing," I said.
        "Okay," said Paul, "You comfortable over there?"
        "Yup," I said. And nervously fingered the corner of his bed for a few minutes. After about fifteen of those, Paul looked over his shoulder again and gave me a look. Then gave me another look that confirmed the fact that he knew what I wanted, although I pretended not to realize that look on his face. He decided that what I wanted was less important at the moment than finishing his report on Mozart. He casually wrote the next three pages of his report, then nodded over his shoulder again to see that I was trying to count the dots on the ceiling tiles. He decided it was time then.
        "So Phil," he said.
        "Yeah?" I asked, innocently.
        "What do you think of girls?" he asked.
        "They're cool," I said.
        You could see that irritated him, and so he was forced to take the long way around the bushes, "So what do you think of Francis and his women?"
        "They're okay," I said, "He's got a lot of them."
        "Yep," said Paul. He suddenly realized that he had misspelled Mozart throughout the entirety of his report and so he did that by hand for a long while, since he wasn't up on Search & Replace things. I kept myself busy by pretending to acknowledge each of the bricks in the walls of his room with an individual caring look.
        "So," said Paul, as he looked around for another try, "You hang out with Nan a lot, huh?"
        "Yup," I said. Didn't want to actually get anywhere with this one, did I.
        "So," said Paul, preferring not to ask me if I wanted to date her, but seeing very little other way, "Is there something going on there?"
        "Maybe," I said, then quickly added, "Can I date her?"
        "Yes," said Paul, with a definitive note.
        "Thanks," I said, and quickly shot out of the room.

        The next day I asked her to date her, and maybe marry me, with the words, "As I stand on the edge of the universe holding nothing but a jar of imitation pickles, I wonder if you will hold them with me?"
        She said she would.
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