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The Day I Knew Melody Loved Me

Fortunately, Melody and I were on Route 30, west of Plymouth, Indiana, on the way to her house in a 1977 Monte Carlo.

Our romance was tender because we looked each other in the eyes. I was twenty-two then, she was nineteen. People our age thought about life and marriage. Love was the catch. Were we in love? I thought we were. "Sirens go off and lights flash whenever I look at you, Melody," I told her.

"There is a state trooper behind us," Melody said.

Melody was right!

State trooper"What’s the problem?" This is what you ask a state trooper after he stops you and comes to your window. Try asking this when you’re on a date and a state trooper stops you. It makes you sound unfamiliar with crime in front of your date. It also puts your balls squarely into the trooper’s court, a thing which does not bother him in the least.

The trooper said, "You have no license plate on your front bumper."

Well now, was that all? This was a huge relief to me.

I said, "I know that, sir. The lady at the license bureau only gave me one plate."

I would have sworn to that in front of a television judge. But then the trooper asked, "Didn’t you know you were supposed to have two plates on your car?"

I didn’t know that. But I did know something the trooper didn’t know.

I said, "Sir? I believe state law requires me to have a license plate on the rear bumper only."

Do you see how you can impress your date by quoting state law to a state trooper without even knowing state law? Just always use the prefix, "Sir?"

The trooper said, "Just a minute," then he walked to the back of my car. This is a bad sign. Always remember that it was I who told you: This is a very bad sign. Whenever a state trooper stops you on a date, says, "Just a minute," then walks to the back of your car, it’s a very bad sign.

The trooper returned carrying his sunglasses. Always remember that it was I who told you: This is another, very bad sign.

The trooper was smiling. There has possibly never been a happier trooper. It was a good day for this trooper, and he looked to Melody and me like he was glad for the day that he had become a state trooper.

"Your two license plates are stuck together," said the trooper, who was happier now than ever before.

As soon as the trooper said that terrible thing ("Your two license plates are stuck together"), I looked out the window into the woods and saw a small clearing where I could build a hut of fallen boughs and live with cattle until memory of my existence passed. Of course. Stuck together. The lady at the license bureau hands them to you that way. You unstick them. Good Lord: You unstick them!

The trooper seemed anxious to drive back to his office, and I thought I knew why.

This left my date and me alone a few miles west of Plymouth on Route 30. This is where all the terror I just described took place. I was staring at the floor mat and she was…laughing. And when she stopped laughing, she put her hand on my hand and kissed me on the cheek. That’s when I knew it. That’s when I knew that this woman loved me.