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What’s a guy to do?

The Sunday Column

Let’s start my story like this, then it will be fun when we zig-zag our way back to the beginning. My lost wallet was found in a ladies’ restroom in a Domino’s Pizza in the southside part of Pittsburgh a few weekends ago.

Huh! What?

When my column started in the late 2000s, it used to be called “What’s A Dad To Do” when it appeared in our magazine “Mirror Moms.”

When it moved into the newspaper section, it really didn’t have a title anymore. Once a guy came up to me and said — after reading one of my bizarre stories — ‘You should call your column ‘The *$#@ That Happens To Me.'” My guess is that my boss, Neil Rudel, would not take kindly to that, because he is a big fan of wholesome family entertainment.

The story starts with my daughter Julianna’s 21st birthday. She wanted to go to a place in Pittsburgh called “Joe’s Crab Shack” for lunch. We had to drive to Washington, Pa., where she is living for the summer while going to school at California University of Pennsylvania. Her boyfriend, James, drove us into the city because he knows where to go and doesn’t mind driving I-79 North, which reminds me way too much of the highway in that 1970’s movie “Death Race 2000.”

While at the restaurant, I can tell you I made a friend in the men’s room, where I went to clean off my shirt because, after I bit into my crabcake sandwich, part of it decided to find a new home on me.

While cleaning my shirt, I started to sing along with the song playing on the music system. It was Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Singasong.” A guy from one of the stalls yells out to me, “Good taste in music.” I said thanks. My son, who was there with me, was horrified that I was having a conversation with not only a stranger, but a stranger in a stall. Sounds like a Hallmark Channel movie title.

After dinner, we were walking back to the car. As we started to drive away, I had to go to the bathroom. I was told by James that we would find a gas station. We did. We found three of them — and none of them had public restrooms. Evidently, it seems that downtown gas stations in Pittsburgh want nothing to do with the public.

Across the street from one of them was a Domino’s Pizza. I was told to take my wallet in because they might ask me to buy something if they were to allow me to use the restroom. It gets better!

I go in and the guy tells me that I can use the bathroom, but that the men’s room is out of order, and I will have to use the ladies’ room. And I did not have to buy anything, which means I didn’t have to bring my wallet.

But because I am one of those guys who does not put his wallet in his back pocket, I put it on the paper towel dispenser inside the ladies’ room. I need a fannypack!

While living in Mifflin County, I once drove down a hill in Lewistown with my wallet on top of my car, the heat basically melting it onto the roof. I realized it when I pulled into the bank parking lot, got out to go to the ATM and saw it there, still on my car. And there was another time it flew off the roof of my car on the road in front of Champs in Altoona during peak traffic hours … how did it get there? Don’t ask!

But I digress.

It took me more than two hours, after we had returned to Washington, to realize I did not have my wallet anymore. When I realized where I had left it, my wife called Domino’s and asked them if they found her husband’s wallet in the men’s room. They said no. I told her the other restroom. So, she asked the guy to look for her husband’s wallet in the ladies’ room! Would have loved a camera phone after that question was asked.

Regardless, it was found, with all credit cards and cash in it. My daughter and James drove back up into the city that night and retrieved it for me. They then mailed it overnight, back to me, using my credit card to pay for the speedy delivery.

Good thing I wasn’t robbed because then Julianna wouldn’t have been able to give the United States Post Office $25 — using my credit card! — to pay for the overnight delivery. Add that to the $168 dinner bill and … I think next year I will just mail her $193 as a present and call it a day.

Scott Franco, a sports copy editor, writes a monthly column for the Mirror.

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