I saw the funniest. . .

. . .movie last night.

Maybe you’ve heard of it.

Fifty Shades Of Grey?

It made Showgirls look like Shogun. I laughed through the entire movie.

I kept telling my equally entertained girlfriend that we were lucky we weren’t seeing this in a theater because we’d be attacked by a throng of besotted women.

I was asked. . .

. . .my opinion of a guy and, after a second, I said, “He could get along with Hilter.”

“Oh,” came the reply. “Because he can get along with anyone?”

“No. Because he’s an asshole too.”

Dinner Party

On Thursday I’m told we’re going to a dinner party. I sigh the lonely sigh of a guy knowing he’s not going to have any fun for between two and eight hours. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the food will be great, at least I’m told it will be because that has been the biggest selling point to get me not to throw my patented ‘no fucking way is that going to happen’ rant.

I’m told I was told about this two months ago when it was first conceived. And I may have been. But if she thinks I remember it then she either hasn’t met me or forgets that if there’s an event I’m going to have to go to and I sure as hell don’t want to, its going to leave my head space before it grabs hold. I don’t want that nugget taking place It might take a place that could have held a great script idea or a joke about baby poop and dog food.

But, as with all other events that are not connected to my friends or my work, I take the high road. I figure there will be at least a few other guys there in the same boat. They don’t know any of these people and don’t want to be there. That can be a good bonding moment for two guys. As long as there’s beer and a TV. If not we’ll chat for three minutes then sit around staring at the floor until we’re released from this deserted island.

I was even more sure it wasn’t going to be fun-filled for me because of these scary words, “Its people I graduated with.”

Oh please, don’t do that. The only thing worse than going to a dinner party with people you don’t know is going with people you don’t know who graduated together. Because you have to know, if you’re even a wee bit normal, all their going to talk about is their good old days at Dorkass High or Screw U! And there is nothing in the world more boring than hearing good old day stories about people you don’t know, will never know and would kill if you ever met them.

I’m in my office a couple hours before the big event when a friend visits. He wants me to do something for him and I’m glad to do it. While I’m doing it he and my girlfriend start talking. When I’m done we converse for a little while before he begins his exit.

“Do you want to grab a beer?” He innocently says.

“Sure.” My girlfriend says.

Now is this a dilemma or what? It seems the sieve of a head connected to my girlfriend has forgotten about this long planned dinner party. This is when the evil part of me pops up. Okay, pops up higher than usual. I could say to my friend, ‘What a great idea. Let’s go.’ and never mention this party.

But the reality is she will remember sometime during the festivities which will mean not only will she be freaking out beyond walking through a spider web but she’ll lash out at me for not reminding her. So, when we finally arrived at the party, she’ll spend the first third of the party telling everyone what an asshole I am.

And is that the first impression I want to give? Again?

“Don’t you have a dinner party tonight?”

That fact bolts across her face. She hastily explains this fact to my friend who could not give a shit. But, on his way out, he did give me a sympathetic glance.

“Its worse that you think.” I tell him. “Its old school friends.”

“Better you than me.” Which would be the answer from any of my true friends.

Its an hour before the blasphemous event so we decide to grab a beer near the house. This is the debriefing part of the event. Its not as important as the event but it is a vital part of the evening. Its different for everyone but, me personally, I have to be reminded not to bring out any blue material; if I must say something stick to the basics; don’t make fun of anything potentially controversial; don’t make fun of anyone; don’t make light of a serious situation; generally, shut the fuck up.

I start to get a queasy feeling when I was told that, within the last few days, three or four couples have backed out. That’s created some tension I guess. I don’t care. People cancel things all the time. I’m notorious for it. But I’m doing the math and that deletes some potential allies. Not good for me.

While we’re leaving my girlfriend tells me about this one guy who’s going to be there. She tells me that he’s distraught because his dog recently died. Oh, he’s going to be a barrel of laughs.

“It was a poodle.”

“He’s gay.”

“It was a standard poodle.”


“See? That’s the kind of things you can’t say.”

“I’m not saying anything bad. Just pointing shit out.”

“Don’t point shit out.”

And that’s how my pre-event pep talks usually go.

We get there and, because of the cancellations, there are only five people, all from the same graduating class, there. Four of them are women. I stood there for the first twenty minutes eating shrimp while listening to three conversations going on around me. I don’t know how the math of that worked out but it did. It seems they could tag team one another to keep the conversation going.

While I just ate shrimp.

You don’t know just how much people talk until you can add nothing to the conversation. I don’t know any of the people they’re talking about. I wasn’t at any of the situations. I’m basically a plant that blinks.

And eats shrimp.

Little by little people wandered into other rooms to continue their conversations. I sat at the kitchen table where, every now and then, someone would walk over to get something to eat and maybe ask a question. Mostly about how my girlfriend and I met and what I do. Everyone was polite but where do you go after that? Do you want to get into a conversation with someone you’ll be working from ground zero with or jump into a lively conversation about how some guy in your class was an asshole?

No one wants to meet anyone bad enough to miss that.

But it was fun because I brought beer.

The poodle guy sat across from me and told the same stories, in the same order, four or five times in a row. I knew it was just because he was drunk so I just sat there. But it was funny when he tried to convince one of the women that she did not, in fact, know he was gay in school. She, on the other hand begged to differ and I had to side with her.

“When did you know I was gay?” He asked me.

“About three hours ago when my girlfriend said poodle.”

I know I wasn’t supposed to do that but, come on! I’m only a man! In such a target rich environment I have to take the shot. I did it mainly because I knew he wouldn’t remember. Well, I would have done it if he was sober too, but, at least I can have that defense when I tell my girlfriend what I said. And I will. Because it was the highlight of my night. Besides beer.

I’m finally told my pardon has arrived at the wardens office and I am being released. I quickly say good-byes to people whose names I don’t remember and head for the door.

“Wait! Don’t go.” Says the other guy there. I smile and tell him its time for us to go but I’ve had a lovely time. “No! Come on! Let’s dance!” He grabs my hands and begins to, for lack of a better word, dance with someone who was best described earlier as a plant.

I watch him, bemused, for a moment. It was a harmless moment until I heard,

“Twirl!” He raised my arm making an arch wanted me to twirl under.

I look at him for a moment, plant still, and say,

“I’m not much of a twirler.” I put my hands down. “But you can if you’d like.”

People are laughing and having fun so I took that opportunity to say our final good-byes.

Walking down the stairs my girlfriend asked if I had a good time.

“It was a night I’ll always remember.”

“We should hang out.”

I innocently said to a female colleague.

“Great! But sex is out of the question.” She replied.

“That’s fine. Vaginal sex will do.”

Cellphone Addiction

I know, I know, you think I’m going to bash cellphones. That I’m some Luddite wishing the world were a simpler place. Hearken back to the olden times when polio was flourishing and the median life expectancy was that of a fruit fly.

But it’s not like that. I like technology. I remember the days I’d have to leave my house to find out if it’s thiamin or thorazine that’ll knock you on your ass. Hell, even in recent memory there was a time to find that information I’d have to trudge from the living room to the other side of the living room to use the computer to find that out. Now I just have to pick up a cellphone.

Cellphones can guide you somewhere; help you purchase thiamin or thorazine; let you play games; text a friend halfway across the globe to ask them what time it is where they are; find out if it’s thiamin or thorazine you want to buy. And what’s that other thing it does? Oh yeah, let’s you talk to people.

And therein lies the problem.

What is the need to have a phone to your ear the moment there’s an alone moment? I’ve known a guy for five years. I can’t tell you if he even has a right ear. There’s always a phone pressed up against it. I’m thinking he doesn’t have an ear. That he’s using the phone as some cloaking device. That he’s embarrassed because his ear looks like a crispy, burnt up leaf.

At least I hope that’s true. Because if it’s not that guy has a serious problem. He actually thinks he’s important enough or has a level of wisdom that people need to hear every moment of the day.

Less than an hour ago I had three different people walk into my office because, one would assume, they had something to speak to me about. Each one of them, while entering, had a phone pressed to their head. Each one of them, after entering, held up their free hand to wave me off as if the deli guy is with someone but wants to assure me he knows I’m there. And these people, who I may or may not want to talk to, came in to my office specifically to speak with me. And they put me on finger hold? Well, that makes me want to whip out a finger of my own. If you catch my drift.

See? It’s not the cellphone or the technology I have issues with. It’s the talking. I’ve been told I can be an interesting conversationalist. Many people have commented positively on my rapier like wit. But there is no way in hell I think I’m so interesting I have to call someone the moment I’m alone to let them know about the wonderful beef stroganoff I had.

But I seem to be alone in this fight.

It’s a sickness that tells the people you’re with that you’d rather be with anyone else in the world at this moment. My girlfriend and I were invited to someone’s house for dinner. Just the three of us. How cozy. We’ll really get some in depth conversations going. But the moment the hostess completed her story and someone else began talking she’d reach for the phone. I couldn’t believe it. Is that the way of the world now? Invite over the people you least want to converse with then spend the night talking to your real interests?

I don’t carry a cellphone with me. I know! How dangerous! What if I’m in a accident? How will the authorities be summoned? Do you know how many pre-cellphone accidents I’ve been in? More than is considered healthy. Do you know how many pre-cellphone accidents I’ve been in where rescue personal showed up? All of them. Proving help arrives with or without a cellphone.

But what if there’s breaking news and we’re first on the scene? What if there’s an injustice? What if someone’s passed out on the floor pissing themselves?

Let’s take them one at a time, shall we? Do you think your cellphone footage is anywhere near that of a trained news photographer? Don’t be delusional. As far as you being on the scene first, what good is that if the footage is jumpy, one tenth of the screen and most times not focused on the event. If you see injustice wouldn’t it be better to put down the cellphone and right the wrong? As far as the last one goes, have you no common decency? I remember when friends used to help friends out of embarrassing situations. Now you plan them.

“One more shot and Cliff’ll start singing ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ then piss himself. Everyone! Get out your cellphones!”

When people ask me why I don’t carry a cellphone I lay it out to them. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not going to bail you out. I’m next to a phone nine plus hours a day. If you can’t remember to call me in over a third of a day it’s not that important. Then there are the people who go all in with, ‘But what if I want to talk to you?’

Why do you get to choose? I have a theory, that I’m making up as I type, that you have a finite amount of words to speak. Hit that number and you’re done. And that number increases exponentially when using technology. So, the theory is, if you’re having a conversation with someone and you use one thousand words one thousand words is deducted from your life total. But, if you’re on a cellphone, the word count triples. Whoa! Cellphones really are killing you.

So come on people! You’re not that powerful or interesting. Put down those cellphones and drive. Put down those cellphones and do nothing. Put down those cellphones and walk into someone’s office and speak directly and immediately to them. No one needs to be connected every moment of the day. Next time you’re alone, before you pick up the phone, give yourself some time to have a random thought. You’ll be surprised at the things you’ll come up with when you’re not competing with outside stimuli.

Do that a number of times and you may actually have something to talk about.

And always remember, the person you’re calling probably rolled their eyes and groaned when they saw your name pop up on their cellphone. Just the way you do whenever you get a call.

A guy was. . .

. . .trying to compliment his wife in front of me. It was kind of sad. I mean, if he fucked up to the length that he’s having to go through this he should have just purchased her flowers and saved everyone a lot of time.

“And you should have seen the dress she was wearing the other night. It really turned heads.”

“Why?” I ask. “Was it made of hooks?”

While working. . .

. . .I’m standing there while two people have a discussion/argument. The problem was they were stuck in the mire. Neither would budge and, in my world, endless repetition is considered boring.

Being the so called expert in their subject I tried to help. Shed a little light on the situation, if you will.

“I’m pretty sure I can help get to the bottom of this,” I offer. When I offer that I usually don’t get a response such as,

“Are you sure?”

I look in my hands. Yes, those are the keys to the building so, yeah, pretty much sure about this.

“Of course I am!” I use my pretend helpful tone. “After all, it would behoove you to remember I graduated summa cum last in my class.”