Gina was worried about Andy. It had been almost a year since he had quit his job at the animal hospital to open his own private practice, and this was the first time since then that he had come home from work in a bad mood.
She decided to see if she could coax it out of him, whatever it was that was bothering him.
She walked to the entrance of the living room and peeked in. He sat there, stone-faced, staring at the TV.
“Hey babe…sooo…how was work today?”
Andy looked up at her. “Terrible. Do you know not one person–not ONE–mentioned Vet’s Day to me?”
“Huh, yeah. That’s a shame–our veterans sometimes aren’t given the respect they deserve, that’s for sure.”
“What are you talking about? I’m talking about Vet’s Day. What does that have to do with veter–”
Andy stopped mid-word. He and Gina looked at each other and both realized at the same time the mistake he had made.
“Oh–Andy, it’s not “Vet’s Day”, it’s Veterans’ Day. Oh, I should have known something was up when you kept talking this morning about how today was “your day”. I’m sorry.”
“No, not your fault. I’m an idiot. God, and I was so short with everyone all day because I thought they’d forgotten Vet’s–oh no. You know that guy Roy I told you about, that guy that has that cute, fat bulldog Rudy?”
“Well, Roy’s a Vietnam veteran, and every time he brings Rudy in I always make a point of thanking him for his service. Roy that is, not Rudy.”
“Yeah, yeah, I got that.”
“But today I didn’t because I was mad at him for forgetting Vet’s Day. Oh man, I’m an idiot. I have some phone calls to make.”
Andy got up and went into the bedroom, where he spent the evening making awkward phone calls to his staff and his patients’ families. And to his great relief, each one of them forgave him.
But they didn’t forget. “Vet’s Day” ended up becoming a goofy tradition at Andy’s practice; every Veterans’ Day he was inundated with joke gifts (usually in the form of some tacky stuffed animal dressed in military gear), and often accompanied by notes which said something like “I remembered VET’S DAY. Please don’t be mad at me!” Andy returned the favor by providing his services free of charge for the day to any veteran or active member of the Armed Services, and Roy and Rudy were always first in line.
Andy loved it. It was his yearly reminder that, while he was pretty much an idiot, he was also surrounded by kind and forgiving people…who happened to have good senses of humor. You really couldn’t ask for much more than that from either customers or colleagues.