I really need to learn how to say hello.
Or another way to start this off is by saying that I've got to stop putting myself in really awkward situations.
For example, my wife says that my phone conversation skills are awful, basically because when I call someone, I don't say hello. I just start talking, jumping right into the conversation without any introduction. It's basically how conversations were held at the Franco house growing up.
The biggest reason is that for the most part, I'm usually calling my family, and these people talk as much as me. If I don't start talking right off the bat, it could be hours before I get a word in.
You can literally receive a phone call from my sister, Cyndy, start listening, put the phone down, go do some laundry, clean the bathroom, come back, pick up the phone and say, "Ah ha," and go back to doing housework before she realizes you're not there.
I mean that in a good way sis!
But I am just as bad. When first moving back to Blair County in 2003, I suffered a very bad episode. Ann Marie had made me this wonderful dessert called "Pink Fluff." It's cherry Jell-O, whipped cream and other things. It's heavenly, the best dessert ever. So what do I do?
After finishing supper at my desk one night, I call my house to tell my wife how good this stuff was, and we're talking a phone call that was probably after 9 p.m. As soon as she picks up the phone, I say in a deep, smooth Barry White voice:
"I love your pink fluff!"
The person on the other side of the phone says "Excuse me?"
To which I reply: "Ann Marie? Is Ann Marie there?"
I had dialed the wrong number and absolutely freaked out another woman. I tried to explain myself. She hung up.
Obviously the woman didn't have caller ID, or there is a good chance I would not be writing this column from the Mirror building but from possibly the Blair County Prison.
But I never learn. Just ask the people I work with sometimes.
For instance, a woman named Kristin Heinbaugh used to work in the news department, and we became good friends. One Friday morning, I was grocery shopping at Martin's, and I pulled up in the same aisle as Kristin. I decided to surprise her by jumping up right next to her, putting my arms around her and giving her a big hug.
It wasn't Kristin. I hugged a strange woman who was ready to hit me over the head with a loaf of bread. Thank God we weren't in the canned meat section.
And just from that incident, again you would think that I would have learned my lesson. But sometimes, the little hamster inside my head stops spinning on his wheel and just falls asleep.
This time I pulled into the parking lot of a local Wal-Mart, parked my car, got out and retrieved a grocery cart. As I was going into the store, I saw my sister-in-law, Sue, and my nephew, Stevie, who at the time was probably about 10. So sure was I that it was these two people putting groceries into their car that I took my grocery cart and proceeded to shove into their cart on purpose just to get a laugh out of them.
It wasn't them. If it is possible to have two people absolutely give you the death stare at one time, it was done that day.
I am surprised that with my luck, they weren't related to the lady who I left the obscene phone call with, or the woman I assaulted at Martin's near the bakery department.
But maybe God is looking out for me. Hopefully, some day, when I get to Heaven (notice I said when and not if!), I'll follow the proper procedure to say hello to the big guy. I'll just make sure to get St. Peter to introduce us first.
Scott Franco is a member of the Mirror sports staff. If you are lucky, you don't resemble anyone he knows.