Thursday, January 3, 2013

'Gram of the Week (10/31/11 - 11/6/11)


Spec (that’s his name -- Spec) saw me do an Anniversary singing telegram recently at the Sovereign Motor Cars Mercedes dealership off the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn and it got him thinking. He’d been dating his girlfriend, Lena, since High School, and he was trying to figure out how and where he wanted to propose to her.

There’s just one big problem; his culture. He’s Albanian. And so is Lena. And there are rules. As I was to discover, it is a very, VERY conservative, strict, protective, family-oriented culture. They had to keep their dating private because if Lena’s brother or her family found out, it would be Bad-News-Bears for Spec. Like I said, he’s Albanian, too. It’s not like she was dating “outside” of the culture. I’m guessing the guys can be wild and crazy, but don’t even think about messing with their sisters!

Spec has a good job with Sovereign and even gets to drive a nice-looking 2011 white CLS as a perk. Lena’s in college now; specifically at the College of Staten Island for education. I assume by now, he’s made nice with the family. He already went to Lena’s Dad to ask for her hand in marriage. The only thing left was the proposal.

So Spec found out Lena’s classes and went to her professors. Professor Gold gave the OK and even went as far as telling the class at the previous lecture, that he was going to bring in Dr. “Fox”,  from the psychology department to talk about a new and exciting teaching technique the psychology department wanted to implement.

I show up to campus at the appropriate time. Spec is smoking like a fiend, nervous as hell, and drawing a lot of attention from campus security.  I asked “What are you nervous about?  I’M the one who has to sing! All you have to do is get down on your knee on cue and pop the question.” He made the mistake of waving his video camera around a little too liberally. Security came over and told him to put it away or they’d kick him off campus……and stop smoking; it’s not allowed. (I’m thinking he’s going to blow it before we get anywhere near the class.)

I agree to secrete the camera inside my lab coat (I’m a professor from the psych department, remember?), thereby making me an accessory to the “crime”.  Our window of opportunity was closing, so I said, “le të shkojë ” (“let’s go” in Albanian). I knock on the door, was greeted very warmly by Professor Gold and proceeded to ad lib my way through some BS about how the use of song is very effective as a teaching method and I was going to prove it to them by singing to them and then testing them. Lena’s girlfriend was also taking the class and was able to make hand motions behind Lena to indicate who she was (she looked nothing like her picture!)

Halfway through the song, I look at Lena and start to sing some very personal material (Philly Eagles fan, collects designer pocketbooks, sleeps with her socks on, wouldn’t kiss Spec on their first date, etc.) and she’s thinking it’s still part of the teaching technique and that she’s the guinea pig with all the personal info that I’m going to test the class on.

It wasn’t until:
“When you first dated Spec, it’s known
You changed his name on your cell phone
You renamed him ‘Lu’, no doubt
So your brother would not find out

C.S.I. is where Spec chose
To be the place to propose
So now he’s down on bended knee
And he’s asking……….”

At which point Spec walks in the room, pulls out a ring, gets down on one knee and asks,
“Lena, will you marry me?”

The whole class erupted. No one knew what was going on. They’re cheering, Lena’s crying, Spec’s crying, Lena’s sister is recording, and Professor Gold wanted me to talk more about the “singing teaching technique” !

Lena said “yes,” by the way. I hope they’re very happy and have lots and lots of little Albanian children. At the very least, just so Spec can continue the tradition and put his daughters’ boyfriends through hell when it comes time for them to start dating!


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