...Not that that in and of itself is especially noteworthy; I speak with friends during afternoons all the time. But this particular conversation is noteworthy in that it lead to this blog post. And I'll explain how if you STOP BEING SO GODDAMN PUSHY AND LET ME OHMYGOD.
Anyway, Noa is an extremely funny writer (and, from all accounts, a rather talented and gifted stand-up comedienne -- but you wouldn't know because she has, for whatever reason, refused to YouTube her act, which is stupid in 2011 cause, like, social media or whatever). One of my favorite things I've ever read is her account on things people would take with them if there was a fire. It's a riot. And she's pretty funny every other day, too. But today, she's not feeling too funny.
"It's weird to be a comedienne," she didn't say, because she HATES when she's called "Comedienne" - she insists she's a gender-neutral Comedian. Which is why you'll be seeing me refer to her as Comedienne throughout the rest of this and any other post I ever write involving her.
Anyway, she lamented that "...People get pissed at you if you slip up or are just not funny. I've stopped telling people what I do because I usually get their follow-up comment of, 'Well do something funny then'."
And having known many Comedians and Comediennes in my life, I've seen that happen more times than I can count. But it's not unique to just those who tell jokes. "Oh, you're an artist? Draw something for me!" "Oh, you're a weightlifter? Flex for me!"
And of course, I cannot tell you how many times I've heard "Oh man, you're a writer (or author)? I better watch out or you'll write a story about me!"
No. No, I won't. Because fuck you, that's why.
In order to end up in one of my stories or blog posts or articles, you have to be interesting. People who say the above prove, by the mere fact that they even bothered to say it, that they are NOT interesting. They are the opposite of interesting. They are every bit as boring and mundane as the assholes who hear my name and ask if I "Pee out of your cock! HAHAH" or are "As proud as a peacock! HAHAH" or ask where I'm going with that gun in my hand.
Congrats. You've joined the cast of thousands who has repeated one of the several exact same jokes I've heard since I was in 4th grade. You rule.
But in talking with Noa about inane horseshit that boring people lob at us, she did remind me: there was one guy who, when finding out I was a writer and asking that inane and droll question, did end up with a story about him. I just never found a place to post it on Mentally Incontinent (see what I did there? Two words, two links, two books... I'm clever dammit) back when I was writing the books, so it exists solely as a few lines of notes and a memory. But I'll share it with you now. Don't worry, I'll keep it short.
I was at a "party" in 2004 (And I use the term loosely, because "party" usually means a fun gathering where frivolity is experienced, while this was more of an "obligation" because it was the housewarming party for the CEO of a company I quit working for in 2001 named Peter, and while I was friendly with some of the remaining staff, I HATED Peter with a passion. Mostly because he was a money-obsessed dick), and there was a particularly obnoxious guy there.
He was a douche who was the friend of the CEO's new neighbors. "New money" types, who are utterly incapable of discussing anything that isn't themselves or how much money they had. He had walked up and joined the little conversation circle that had formed between myself, a few of my former co-workers and friends. And he loved interrupting.
"Oh man, you worked on that Victoria's Secret site?" He asked during our reminiscing of that project. "I'd LOVE to have worked on that... All those hot chicks..."
Yeah. That type.
Anyway, when someone brought up how much they were liking what I was doing with the first book's site and some of the stories, the guy piped up and asked "So you're a writer?"
"Well, I write..." I said, prompting my usual casual dismissal of the label of "writer" because it brought with it a self-consciousness I wasn't really able to face at that time.
"OH MAN, are you going to write about this?" he asked with a smile that practically dared me to interlace his bleached ivories with a few black keys.
"Uh... No?" I replied.
A short, awkward silence, and then "Well you should! It's a great party!"
"Yeah, okay..." I said, trying to hold back a much more fiery reaction. This was someone else's home, and furthermore, a social setting where I was merely a visitor. Rather uncharacteristic of me to try to be pleasant, I know. But I was trying.
A little later, someone else was telling the story of how our former director of development shot a girl in the chest with rock salt during another party, and the douche pointed at me and loudly declared "Oh man, YOU should write a story about THAT!"
"...I did," I replied.
He just laughed. He pulled the same shit twice after that with other peoples' stories, and then proceeded to tell us all a tale about how he "...totally nailed two girls at once!" at a party in college.
"You should write about THAT!" he said, once again pointing at me.
I sighed. "Dude, come on..." I said.
"What?" he replied with the same damn smile that I couldn't tell if it was his being a smartass, or if he was genuinely serious and just smiled like that. "I just figured you're a writer, right? You might need material!"
"I'm good on material," I replied.
"So I'm not worth writing about?" he asked.
I was very frustrated. I was at this precipice of just going after him and declairing him a total fucking waste of skin, but the fact that I was trying to be respectful just kept winning. And I loathed its victory.
"It's not that you're not worth writing about," I said through grit teeth. "I... Look, I write about my life and my stories, okay? Their stories are their stories... Your story is your story."
He looked at me a bit askew, then asked "But you said you wrote about that shotgun story... That wasn't your story."
I shook my head a bit. "Yes it was," I replied. "I was there. I saw the whole thing."
He looked at me strangely. He then adopted a bit of an attitude and got confrontational. "I see how it is," he replied. "You're just an egoist."
Yes, egoist. He said egoist. I don't know where he heard or read that term, but that's what he called me.
The other people in the conversation circle were getting uncomfortable. It wasn't a pleasant thing. Things had turned a bit sour, in that way where people don't quite know if it's going to last long or not, so they hang around with a silent timer in their heads for how long they'll tolerate it before going to get another drink.
Furthermore, I was getting looks from people which clearly stated they were flabberghasted that I was holding my tongue. It's not like me to hold my tongue. So I stopped.
"...Fine. You want to know why I won't write about you?"
"Yeah!" He replied.
"It's because you're boring," I answered. "And I'm not trying to be insulting. This is most everyone in life, most of the time. This is boring. You are boring. This party? Boring."
"I'm having a good time," he said with attitude. "I don't know what your problem is..."
"It's not a problem, it's... Okay, look, for a story to be a story, there has to be a beginning, a middle and an end, right?"
"Well yeah," he said.
"Right, so, what's the beginning of this story?" I asked.
"That there was a party?"
"...Sure, okay, there's this party... And then at this party, I'm talking to some friends and then what?"
"We had a good time?" he answered.
"Fine, and then what?"
He sat silent. "I don't know, the night's not over yet!"
"Okay, so once upon a time, I was at this party where a bunch of people had a good time, and then the party kept going. The end." I stared at him. "Good enough?"
The people in the circle who knew me chuckled. The ones who didn't quite know me smirked. Him? He just kept on not learning his lesson. "Well you don't have to be a smartass about it," he said.
"Yes I do," I replied. "At least being a smartass adds some action to the damn story. So now we have, 'Once upon a time, I was at this party where I was a smartass. And then it kept going. The end.' That's infintely more interesting than your version."
We stood there as he grit his teeth. "You know what?" he finally asked. "That's fine, you go on and write your little stories. I'll keep making millions."
I smiled. "Fine," I said. "You want a story?"
He just stared at me.
I walked up to him. "Hold this for a second," I said, handing out my drink.
He looked at me defiantly.
"No, seriously, hold it for just a second."
He reached out and took my drink. I then immediately slapped him across the face -- not so hard as to leave a mark or seriously hurt him, but with enough force to let him know, he'd just been slapped.
He gasped and looked at me completely agog. I took my drink back, turned around, walked the few paces it took to retake my spot in the conversation circle, and smiled. "I think I'll call it, 'Who Wants To Slap A Millionaire?"
The circle, recovering from being taken aback, all broke out in laughter.
It was clear he wanted to challenge me, but given the immense size disparity between us, common sense prevailed. He turned on his heel and walked away.
A few moments later, Peter the CEO politely asked me to leave. I obliged happily, knowing that I'd finally done what so many writers, comedians, artists and creative types had always wanted to do.