Who’s Ben

During dinner last night there were news recaps of the Jodi Arias guilty verdict, various talking points and sound bites from the Benghazi whistleblower testimony, updates on the verdict of baby murderer Kermit Gosnell, and recounts of the Cleveland kidnappings and the harrowing escape of the three women held captive for 10 years.  In addition, reports of a potential IRS scandal and a possible unjustified Justice Department raid on AP had just broken.  All in all, it was a busy news night.

With so many current events to discuss, I was somewhat surprised when, during the weather report, Mom suddenly asked, “Who’s this Ben guy?”

I stopped chewing my pasta salad, and, through a mouthful of bowtie pasta, grapes and Feta cheese, asked, “Ben who?”

“No, not Ben Who,” she replied.  “Who is Ben?  I’ve been hearing about him all day on TV and I don’t know who they’re talking about.”

“Hearing about him on the news?” I said after I swallowed.  “What did he do?”

“That’s what I’m asking,” she huffed, wiping her mouth with a napkin and placing it on her now empty plate.  “They keep talking about how he got attacked or maybe mugged or something, but I don’t know who he is.”

And then, after almost four years of restraining himself during these often cryptic, frequently befuddling, and generally quirky mealtime conversations with his mother-in-law, it finally happened.  Bill could no longer hold in his laughter – or his final mouthful of milk – until he reached the safety of the kitchen.  Instead, he rose quickly from the recliner, took two jerky steps towards the kitchen door, stopped, snorted once, gagged down a chortle, and spewed milk out of his nose as he tried to escape.

Mom stared at the jet stream of homogenized liquid as it slowly soaked into the carpet, while I jumped up to render first aid assistance to my husband.

“Are you okay,” I asked, patting him on the back as he stood hunched over, an empty milk glass clutched in one hand and an empty dinner plate dangling from the other.  He nodded yes, straightened up and walked with whatever remained of his dignity into the kitchen.

“Better mop that up, it might stain,” Mom commented to his rapidly retreating back.

I followed Bill and found him leaning over the sink, splashing cool water on his face.

“What was that all about?” I asked, patting him on the back some more.

He sniffed a couple of time, dried his face with a paper towel and looked me in the eye.  “You know what she was talking about, don’t you?” he asked.

“No, but apparently you do,” I replied.

“Ben.  The Ben guy she was asking about?”

“Yeah, the Ben guy, who was….  Oh.  My.  God!” I whispered.

“Yup.  Benghazi.  That’s who got mugged!”

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