The Trolley Driver
As my wife and I leave the house to celebrate our anniversary a day early, I leave you with this love story.
Once upon a time there was a trolley conductor, very reliable and honest, who was so in love with a beautiful young woman that he finally mustered the courage to ask for her hand in marriage. He was not a wealthy man, and she had very expensive tastes, but she did love him, and so she resolved to learn to make do, and consented to be his bride. They began their life together in a tiny apartment, with few possessions, but a lot of love.
They were very happy for quite some time, but eventually, the young woman’s craving for the “good life” got the best of her, and she began spending beyond her poor husband’s means. Consequently, he was forced to get a part time job to pay for her lavish lifestyle. Before long, it became necessary to work full-time at both jobs to make ends meet. He would rise early in the morning, drive the trolley all day, and then rush to his second job, arriving home late at night and collapsing, exhausted, into bed. His wife had become so self-centered that she scarcely seemed to notice.
Finally, he could take it no longer. Physically, he was a wreck, and mentally, he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He came home one evening after a day on the trolley, flopped on the couch, and fell asleep. His wife shook him awake.
“Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” she asked.
“I’m quitting my night job. I can’t take this anymore. It’s killing me,” he groaned.
“But how will we pay the bills? You don’t make enough as a trolley conductor,” she whined.
“We’ll just have to cut back.” he replied, “We’ll have to eat out less, sell the second car, and move to a cheaper house; and no more shopping sprees.”
“No,” she snapped, “I will not go back to that wretched lifestyle. If you will not support me in the way I have become accustomed to, I will leave you!”
Now the poor man was really on the edge. “Do you mean to tell me,” he said, voice shaking, “that you would rather have me lose my health, not to mention my sanity, than give up these luxuries?” By now, he was so worked up that his vision was becoming blurred, and there was ringing in his ears.
“Oh, stop whining. Be a man!” she retorted. “It can’t be that bad!” That was too much. The poor, stressed man snapped, grabbed her by the neck, and strangled her. When he came to his senses and realized what he had done, he called the police and turned himself in.
His trial passed quickly. On the advice of his attorney, he entered a plea of “not guilty by reason of insanity,” but the jury was unsympathetic, and the judge was even less moved by his sad story. He was convicted, and sentenced to death.
The day of his execution arrived. He had eaten his last meal, and had his head shaved. As he walked the last mile to the execution chamber, he thought about the last months of his life, and the overwhelming burden he had been laboring under. He was almost relieved that it was all over. He was led to the electric chair, sat down, and strapped in. The hood was placed over his head, and the cap was strapped on and wired. The switch was thrown.
Nothing happened. The switch was thrown again. Still, nothing. The wiring and connections were checked, and another attempt was made. Again, nothing happened. The unfortunate trolley-driver still sat there, alive and unharmed. After several more unsuccessful attempts, the prison warden took the execution crew aside and demanded to know what the problem was. “Is there something special about this guy that protects him from electrocution?” he asked.
“No, there’s nothing special about him at all,” was the answer. “He’s just a poor conductor.”
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