Failure

A guy came in with his kid. They were dressed fairly similarly in wrestling t-shirts, baggy, low-hanging shorts, a Marlboro cologne. They’re explaining their predicament. From their vernacular, I can tell this isn’t the first time in this specific predicament. They had the lingo down pat.

Although it’s not their fault, not their doing, or any other not that deflects blame from them, they are in a predicament that must be dealt with now because,

“This is the last day.”

This is another curious fact about people in this predicament. They always come to me on the last day. As if, after months of hearing the phrase,

“Get the fuck out by this date!”

They feel there is going to be a reprieve or change of heart. Trust me, that never happens. So that’s why they come to visit me as a last minute bailout. And also the reason why so many people come in here angry/flustered/stressed.

I’m talking to the guy who continues to go over why his predicament is not his doing. Okay, fine. I understand. You landlord is an ass because you haven’t paid your rent in months. Yeah, what a bastard! Can we get to the point where you give me money then, in a few months, I begin the task of chasing you for money?

The guy continues and then he uses a phrase I’ve only heard uttered in movies, during interviews with athletes, or by people who watch movies about athletes (by that I mean wrestling fans),

“Failure is not an option.”

I tear off his copy of the lease, hand it to him and say,

“Nope. With you it’s part of the standard package.”

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5 responses to “Failure

  1. Good old procrastination, fueled by unholy terror of reality. That’s what makes the world go ’round, I’m afeared!

    BTW The comeback line is divinely clever. That’s the kind of ego-flattening wisdom I aspire to be slinging when I’m an old woman (not much further to go!) and no one can feel okay about slugging me. Meanwhile I’m too chicken. But I’m takin’ notes!

  2. I was talking to someone the other day about the shit I get away with. I think some of it is people don’t expect to be in the middle of a comedy routine so they’re off guard.

    I also feel the phrasing is unexpected so it takes them a while to process. By the time they figure they should be pissed we’ve moved to the next spot on the bored game.

    I’m not saying people don’t get pissed, they do, I just don’t write about it. A main tenet of comedy is get to the funny and stop. Writing about someone telling me how rude I am wouldn’t be too interesting if I ended every but with it.

    Most times, once they don’t get enough satisfaction from me (I will apologize – yeah, okay, it’s not very sincere – but if they want a flogging they’re going to be left longing), they’ll want to talk to my boss so I give them his card and tell them when he’ll be in. 99.9% of the time they never call (but I do tell him what happened. He always laughs). That could be due to the calm down factor or when they told the story expecting support their friends laughed.

    I also count on that most people don’t like confrontation. They may have a moment of indignation but they can’t verbalize it. Besides, what good is it going to do? I’m probably better equipped to deal with that.

    As far as getting smacked, I find it never gets there quickly. People like to talk and yell then tell you what they’re going to do to you before any physicality.

    It’s like the ‘Be Reasonable’ bit. The guy walked in blustering and threatening expecting that was going to be enough. Even with all the threats, in the end, he left and I was unscathed.

    There’s a bit here called ‘Talkers’ where a guy kept threatening me only to have another guy chime in,

    ‘I don’t know how tough he is,’ states this gentleman. ‘But still being alive with a mouth like his makes me not want to try him. ‘

    And that guy doesn’t like me!

    So, along with perception, much of it is standing your ground and not letting them force you into reacting. That’s when trouble starts. If you don’t take their bait, they find themselves arguing alone and that gets tiring real fast.

    But I like your plan. It’s much brighter than the one I’ve chosen. But I’ve never been considered the brightest bubble in the pin factory.

  3. That is fuckin hilarious! đŸ˜€ Thanks B&G. I’m SURE I can work that in this week. In a self-deprecating way. It’s perfect.

  4. I’m tellin’ ya, I’d give good money to be as quick on the comeback as you are. Although like the bystander quoted above said, to keep upright would require either a supply of luck or ass-whippin’ lessons that I don’t possess.

  5. I’ve always said I’m too stupid to have fear. As far as being quick, it’s training really. I mean, it has to be. When I was a tennis pro people would ask me all the time if I ever smiled. I got tired of explaining so I’d say,

    “I’m working. Do you smile when you’re working?”

    I understood the vocation/avocation thing but it always struck me as weird that people would comment on that.

    When I wrote in radio I’d be there before 5AM writing jokes from the news; then we’d do bits as the day went on; if something happened during the show or there was an interview and the DJ needed a funny line we’d have to have a funny response ASAP; whatever it was it had to be fast and funny. The good thing is it was radio and it chews up jokes faster than a pitbull does a teething bone so the bad ones are quickly forgotten.

    Then I went out on my own and wrote for stations all over the place. It worked out pretty well (until I burned out) because I was on the East coast so I’d get requests from 5AM-1PM, write some for the next day, go to sleep, get up, go out to see music or to a comedy club where I’d meet with comedians to work on bits for them. After awhile you are just a spew machine. I’m not saying they were all gems but as long as you keep feeding the maw they’ll keep eating at your table.

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