Hazel Gambit

LITTLE ORPHAN MILLIElittleorphanmillie

Kelly, Mick. “Little Orphan Millie.” The Simpsons. Dir. Lance Kramer. Fox Network. November 2007. Television.

Years ago at a wedding reception, after the ramble of speeches, the newlyweds announced a game. Relieved to have escaped at last from the interminable capering of two witless brothers giving the funny speech, we joined in with enthusiasm. We would hurl questions at the bride or groom about their spouse in an attempt to unearth gaps in their knowledge (whose mystery might otherwise have threatened to infect the union with romance).

As questions from the gallery of chortling, larrikin cousins descend into juvenilia, the bride in a lull turns her back on the groom and asks,

“What colour eyes do I have?”

The groom makes to answer, and then stops. A look of the most astonishing terror flashes across his face. It lasts just a quarter of a second, but in it you can descry every anniversary or occasion he ever forgot during their courtship. You see every time he forgot about her lactose allergy or bought her an album for Christmas that she already owned. Memories from the aftermath of a hundred thoughtless acts of caddishness crack like thunder across his brow.

He recovers his smile, but then he stammers. He pauses. He coughs. In his head, I imagine him rifling through images of his beloved. There, he sees her reflection in a windshield hovering over the road. Here, they run hand-in-hand across a hillside, ecstatic in the rain. But why does something always cover her eyes?

He has run out of time.

Facing the same conundrum, Homer Simpson confessed his ignorance. Our groom shows more art.

“Hazel,” he says, “You have hazel eyes.”

She turns around in slow stages.

She has eyes the colour of zinc.

“I have bluey-grey eyes!” she says.

A tragedy poises to engulf us. But wait:

“Right,” he says, “Right: hazel”

Aha! Now he just maintains that he believes ‘hazel’ means the colour between blue and grey. Genius. Hazel Gambit Accepted; mate to white.





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