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COLUMN: Don’t judge a pregnant book by its cover

Severo Avila

Severo Avila is Features Editor at the Rome News-Tribune.

Here’s why you don’t judge a book by its cover.

A couple years ago I was at a friend’s birthday party in Acworth. I only knew a few people at the party so as we were milling about and making small talk, I realized that most of the people I know are outside while I’m inside with all these strangers.

I’m usually pretty good about talking to people I don’t know. Here’s my strategy. I start telling very inappropriate jokes and some people walk away disgusted or annoyed BUT some laugh and those are the ones I gravitate toward. It’s a pretty good strategy to find out right off the bat who the more laid-back people are.

But anyhow, I didn’t know anyone inside the house at the time and I’m standing in the living room. I can see into the kitchen from where I am. A pregnant lady is standing at the kitchen counter and she’s openly pouring wine into a glass and sets it in front of her.

Well obviously, I assume that she’s pouring the wine for herself since no one else is around her. So as a conversation starter, I turn to the lady next to me (whom I do not know), I nudge her with my elbow and I lean in and say jokingly “Look at Preggo over in the kitchen. She just poured that wine for herself and is probably gonna give her unborn child Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I’m calling DFACS.”

I expected her to think that was funny, but she stares at Preggo then turns to me and says “That’s my sister.”

She walks away from me and goes into the kitchen to talk to Preggo and they’re looking over at me and laughing. Obviously, the sister is telling Preggo that I’m a hateful, judgmental idiot and they’re having a hearty laugh at my expense.

So now I’m uncomfortable because I’m standing in the living room surrounded by people I don’t know while Preggo and Sister of Preggo are laughing at me.

I’m desperate to escape the discomfort so I quickly glance around the room for a friendly face. Standing about 10 feet away from me is a guy sipping a beer. He looks really friendly and is laughing at something someone just said to him. So I figured he’d appreciate some good humor.

I walk over and I introduce myself and he does seem really friendly and seems to be enjoying that beer so I say “I think I offended those two women in the kitchen.”

And I show him who I’m talking about. Preggo and Sister of Preggo are still in the kitchen looking over at me. The wine glass is still in front of Preggo.

He laughs and asks how I offended them and I tell him the story. I tell him about my belief that Preggo is going to give her child Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and that I was prepared to call DFACS to save the life of the unborn child. Then I say that I told this to that strange woman who ends up being Preggo’s sister and now I’m embarrassed.

He thinks it’s really funny and we spend a few minutes imagining what the women are saying about me.

After about 15 minutes of doing that, he lifts his hand and motions over to Preggo and Sister of Preggo. He’s calling them over.

“What are you doing?” I ask him sharply.

“I’m husband of Preggo” he says with a big grin on his face.

At this point I’m mortified. I’ve insulted this guy’s wife and sister-in-law (however jokingly) and now they’re coming over.

The guy introduces us and forces me to tell the women exactly what I’ve just been saying for the past 20 minutes.

Surprisingly, the women think it’s hilarious that I’ve been so uncomfortable when they weren’t talking about me at all. And to make matters worse, the wine wasn’t even for Preggo. She had poured it for someone else at the party.

All three of them love the fact that I’m still embarrassed and promised me that they thought it was funny and knew I was joking about calling DFACS.

That was the first time I’d ever met them but since then we’ve become friends on Facebook and I just saw them this past weekend at a kid’s birthday party. The baby whose life I thought Preggo was endangering is now a beautiful little girl.

Moral of the story: Don’t judge a pregnant book by its cover.

On a completely unrelated note I’d just like to say congratulations to a few locals who were impressive this past weekend in their fitness endeavors. I always encourage people to get outside and get active so I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of some of these folks I know.

Terra Turner won the Women’s Masters division of the Twisted Ankle 10K and Half Marathon trail race held at Sloppy Floyd State Park.

Jamie Doss won the Male Masters category of the Roman Rumble 5K held at Ridge Ferry Park. The race is a fundraiser for Harbor House and lots of locals participated. Jay Stevenson was the top male overall winner. Katie Hardy won the Female 25-29 division while her brother, Brandon Rutledge, finished first in the Male 20-24 category. Tricia Smith won her’s as well and Chuck Shaw came in second in his division. Local man-about-town Danny Price placed fourth in his category while Ghee Wilson and Justin Karch placed fourth and fifth respectively in their division as well.

And though it pains me to give praise to my rival Brad Reeder, I have to admit that he placed second in the Male 35-39 age group and that’s pretty impressive.

Keep it up, Rome residents. Keep being active and supporting our community events.

Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune.