Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from Mrs. Mosley. She had just checked our phone messages and found one from a friend of ours. She related the message that another friend, Will, had suffered a heart attack last week and had undergone quintuple bypass surgery. It should be mentioned that Will is 33 years old and skinny as a rail. He also gets very little sleep, has odd eating habits and a very stressful job, so the heart attack wasn't all that improbable.
Needless to say, this news freaked me out. Will is one of my oldest friends from college and the thought of him getting this close to death is really distressing. Naturally, I called him up soon after getting off the phone with Mrs. Mosley. He answered at home (he's between jobs right now) and I started in with a purposely mundane, "So. What's new?".
And so the conversation went. I asked if it was stress, food, genetic or a combination of any of the above. He said mostly genetic and food, which surprised me. I asked all the other questions you'd expect: How are you feeling? How's your wife holding up? Is there a special diet prescribed by the doctor? And so on. During the conversation, he repeatedly referred to himself in the third person in terms of being a heart attack victim. I thought this was a little odd, but went along with it. Will can be weird like that, and I can imagine someone wanting to psychologically distance oneself from the person fragile enough to suffer something like this.
Anyway, I eventually said my goodbyes and promised to get together with him in a couple weeks after my vacation. I went about the rest of my work day, carpooled with Mrs. Mosley back home, and started to get ready for a trip out to the mall that night. As I did this, we talked about our day and, naturally, Will came up. I once again expressed my bewilderment that such a thing could happen to him. She responded kind of bewildered herself, saying that she didn't realize I knew the guy that well.
"What do you mean I don't know Will that well?" I asked incredulously.
"Not Will," she replied. "Will's DAD."
I froze where I was standing as comprehension hit me. It hit her as well, and her reaction was instinctual and expected: she busted out laughing. I immediately tracked down the cordless phone and punched in his number, all the while she was in hysterics and asking me how in hell both Will and I could conduct an entire phone conversation talking about two different people.
Will answered on the third ring and I said, "Hi. Did you find anything odd about our phone conversation this afternoon?" I then went into the whole explanation and comprehension dawned on him as well. "Yeah, I did notice there was something odd about the way you were speaking, " he said. Well, we all had a laugh at this (Mrs. Mosely continued to laugh hardest of all). I told him my relief that he was OK and expressed my sympathies for his father. I again promised to see him soon and said goodbye.
All this because she said "Will's Dad" and I didn't hear the "s Dad" part. Our only regret? We both wish that mine and Will's phone conversation was an online chat session so we would have a record of how the damn thing was structured. Pity.