A Slight Misunderstanding

by Tom Ashley

(Based on an Overheard Conversation While Waiting for my Appointment at Sy Sperling’s Hair Club for Men)

“In defense of myself, I did NOT say you look fat! All I said was you look like you put on a LITTLE weight. I mean big deal, who cares!”

xx“indecipherable response”

“If you would let me complete my thoughts –  you NEEDED to put on a few pounds.”

xx“indecipherable response”

“Don’t you remember when we went to The Met a few years ago? And we were looking at the Rubens? Well THOSE were larger women and I told you then how they looked sexy … and beautiful, too! Remember?”

xx“indecipherable response “

“Well, I DO! CALM DOWN, CALM DOWN, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! Look, we’ve ALL gained a couple of pounds over the years. Well, even I HAVE, though not that many. I think there’s just a bit more of you to love.”

xx“indecipherable response”

“You don’t feel that way? A couple of extra pounds can help to smooth some wrinkles on a person’s face. It can make you seem even prettier. I hardly notice anymore.”

xx“louder indecipherable response”

“Are you getting angry with me? I meant this as a compliment. You BARELY had any wrinkles and as far as I’m concerned, you have NONE now!”

xx“even louder indecipherable response”

“HOLD ON! HOLD ON! As a matter of fact, just the other day I told someone your face, as far as I was concerned, showed NO SIGNS of aging. And you don’t even use Botox.”

xx“further indecipherable response “

“I think you’re taking this entirely the wrong way. Look, thirty per cent of the country is obese. And I certainly don’t consider YOU, of all people, OBESE!”


“Hello, hello? Are you there? Hello?”

I came to love writing fifteen years ago when I joined the writing workshop at the IRP. It became a learning and bonding experience.  Thoughtful critiquing led me to expand on memoir and fantasy, and the talent of others has proved a great source of inspiration.