Paul Merrick is reportedly still trying to catch his breath after a visit to the Griffith Park Observatory yesterday resulted in the 32-year-old driving up, and then back down, the mountain in search of parking for a full hour before giving up and walking his out-of-shape ass to the top of the summit.
“Why isn’t there, ah, any, ah– hold on, just give me a minute,” said the pudgy accountant while his girlfriend, Elizabeth, looked on with a mixture of concern and embarrassment usually reserved for their monthly sex night. “They should, ah, ah, really add more parking, ah, excuse me. Parking spots, or at least a tram,” said Mr. Merrick immediately before throwing up a little and then frantically drinking half a bottle of water with a sense of urgency usually reserved for decathletes or the nearly drowned.
Mr. Merrick intended to bring Elizabeth to the Griffith Observatory to propose to the 28-year-old production assistant. “I know her, give me a second,” said Mr. Merrick. “Her favorite movie is Rebel…ah, I’m so out of breath, Rebel Without A Cause, so, love, me and her, engage.” But the romantic gesture was foisted, which may or may not be the right word, by his inability to climb the slight incline.
“It wasn’t meant to happen today,” Paul wrote on his phone and then showed me, the strain of talking while this out of breath just too much for him. “But I know when I do ask she’ll say ‘Yes.'”
UPDATE: Paul fucking died. I know, it’s horrible. Apparently, he had an undiagnosed respiratory illness which is why it was so difficult for him to catch his breath and not just because he was a fat piece of shit who ate In-N-Out twice a week as previously suspected.
“Paul was a really sweet man,” Elizabeth said in a statement to The Avocado, volunteering that she is still interested in dating if I know anyone. “I don’t want to sound callous, but I’m not getting any younger.”
UPDATE: Elizabeth and I are dating. As a reporter, I have been reprimanded by my editors for what they refer to as “a stunning lack of professionalism and tact,” but as a man, a man in love, a man in love with a woman, I apologize for nothing.
I met with Elizabeth days after Paul’s funeral to share my condolences and also get an update for our story. We usually wouldn’t write an update on a story like this, but our editors felt bad because internally we had made a lot of jokes about Paul prior to learning the cause of his death and felt we owed it to him. Elizabeth was devastated, obviously, and was surprised to learn that Paul had planned to ask her for her hand that day at Griffith Park.
“I had no idea he wanted to get married,” she told me. I asked her what her answer would be, to which she responded: “I would have definitely said yes.”
“The two of you must have really been in love?” I offered. But she said nothing.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes. Sorry. I was just–I was just thinking that I would have said yes, but I don’t know if, God, if I’m going to be honest, I don’t know if I would have been happy married to Paul. How awful is that to say?”
“It’s not awful if it’s honest,” I told her. She explained to me that Paul had been a perfectly nice boyfriend and was the kind of guy any girl would be lucky to marry. “But Paul dying has made me realize that life is so short and I don’t know if the life I always thought I wanted, settling down and moving to Burbank, having babies, giving up my independence – if that’s what I truly want. Maybe I don’t need to get married to be happy. Maybe I should just be single for a while,” she said moments before agreeing to go out with me that night on a date.
UPDATE: Elizabeth and I are engaged. While we have only been dating for two months, which I’ll admit is quick, it feels right. When you know you know. I asked her to marry me at the top of Griffith Observatory, the site of the climax of her favorite movie, Rebel Without A Cause, and less romantically also the site of her ex-boyfriend’s death. We took a Lyft to the top so we didn’t have to walk too far and I got down on my knee with the Hollywood sign and several other couples getting engaged in the background. It was the happiest day of my life.