This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Finally Know What to Say!

David: Hi...

Eddie: Hi. What's wrong? You look like you just lost your best friend.

David: Worse than that. Everyone -- everyone -- on my mother's side of the family -- except me, because I arrived at the airport late and missed the plane -- got on a flight to New York for a big family reunion party.

Eddie: And you missed the flight? Wow, that does suck.

David: No, that's not it. The plane crashed. It went down about twenty minutes after take-off, with no survivors.

Eddie: That's terrible! [pause] I know just how you feel.

David: How could... How could you know just how I feel?

Eddie: Well, while you were on your way to the airport, so was I. Everyone -- everyone -- on my mother's side of the family -- except me, because I arrived at the airport late and missed the plane -- got on a flight to Chicago for a big family reunion party.

David: And the plane went down?

Eddie: Nope. It crashed into another plane, which was carrying everyone on my father's side of the family, all headed to Boston for a big family reunion party.

The preceding conversation never happened, of course, but it'll give you an idea of what conversations with my good friend Eddie -- who died in a motorcycle accident a few years ago -- were often like.

No matter what you told him about, he'd "one-up" you.

Or if you ever started a conversation thread by saying "Somebody ought to... " he'd interrupt by saying "Somebody did," and tell you about it.

Other times, all you'd have to do was introduce a subject. "Hey, Eddie, could you pass me that ashtray?" "You know, when I lived in Chicago, they had a whole museum devoted to nothing but ashtrays! And they said that one of them was the very first ashtray ever made in this country, because it was signed by Pocahontas, and... " "Never mind, Eddie. I quit smoking while you were talking."

It was amazing how he could improvise these stories at the drop of a hat.

And if you ever wanted to lie to someone, he'd instinctively back you up... Not for your sake. He just had to be part of the story.

You could be in the middle of a room full of people, and say something outlandish like, "When I was younger, I invented a drink that made me over sixty feet tall in a matter of minutes. Of course, once it wore off, I never drank it again," and before anyone even had the chance to say "Wow, what a crock!" Eddie would chime in.

"Oh, my God, David! That was you? I read about that in the newspapers when it happened! No wonder your name sounded so familiar when I met you."

Yup. That was Eddie. And Eddie was always Eddie; whether he pissed you off or cheered you up on any given day depended a lot on the kind of mood you were in to begin with. Some days, it was, "Oh, great, here he goes again." Other days it was "Let's see what he does with this one!"

Well, with Eddie, one-upsmanship was an art form. But he's gone...

However, I notice there are a lot of people clumsily trying to take his place.

I'm sure you've noticed it, too. Let's say you've just bought a car for a ridiculously low price. An $80,000 car with 23 original miles on it for... oh... twenty dollars.

I'm willing to bet that almost as soon as you drive it away from the dealership, at least one person will say "Ohhhh!!! You should have talked to me first! I could have gotten you the same kinda car for fourteen dollars! With only twelve original miles on it."

Amazingly, I always resist the urge to say "And why the hell would I have approached you about this in the first place?"

Why do they do this? To show you that they're smarter, or luckier, or somehow superior?

And even though I'm usually quick with a reply, I've never been good with coming up with a good response for this kinda crap. (Until today, that is... but I'll get to that later.)

If I may digress for a bit, I've noticed that nobody wants to sell you a single-function anything nowadays. I was recently looking for a new printer for my computer. Nothing fancy, something that would probably run me $30-50.

But no. That would be too simple. I stood in the aisle at Staples, realizing all-too-quickly that my cheapest option was a combination printer, scanner, fax machine, and... oh, I dunno... a car wash, maybe? All that, and it was only about seventeen thousand dollars.

I don't need a fax machine. And I have a perfectly good scanner.

Luckily, I also have a very good friend named John who bought himself a new printer and gave me his old one.

Recently, I decided to buy a paper shredder to replace the one I burnt out ages ago. I was hoping to find one of those cheap models that sits on top of its own wastebasket, and hoping to spend no more than $30, $40 tops.

But no. That would be too simple. I stood in the aisle at Staples, realizing all-too-quickly that my cheapest option was a shredder that shredded paper. And credit cards. And staples. And CDs. And drywall. And livestock. Prices began at somewhere around eight thousand dollars and went up from there.

Jump ahead to last Sunday. A lady named Shirley has a booth at the same flea market where I sell things. 99% of her items are priced at one dollar each until 11:30 a.m., when prices drop to 3/$1. Shirley does sell a handful of items -- generally really cool stuff -- for a bit more than $1 each. Exorbitant prices. Like... $2 or $3 each.

I found a wastebasket-sitting little doozy of a shredder which looked like it had never even been used, for $3. At that price, I figured that if it lasted me until that evening, it had been worth it.

A guy named Bruce walked up to my stand while I was testing the shredder. I told him about my fruitless search in Staples and elsewhere, and wouldn't you know it? He'd recently been through almost the same thing. Picked up a mighty fine shredder for himself, very much like mine.

For a dollar.

One dollar.

And you know what? It makes smaller shreds of paper than mine does, too.

So I thought about this, and similar instances, and finally have a stock answer for these people:

"Thank you for stealing my moment."

And you can use it too, if you give me proper credit. "Well, as David M. Lynch would say... "

And don't forget the middle initial. You know how I get.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ Now, I know you're all sitting there saying, "Thanks for that great post, but you know what I really need? With all the talk about The Dark Knight, and Watchmen, and the other upcoming superhero flicks, it just occurred to me that I need to know how to make my very own costume so that I can dress up as the coolest superhero of them all... The Flaming Carrot!

Is that all you need? Well, here you go!

7 comments:

Ishat's Fire and Ice said...

This was the Irish post. HA HA HA.

Eddie, was he Irish?

Everyone I knew who was prone to the tail tale was Irish. Ah, it a long standing tradition in the Emerald Isle.

I have enjoyed a tall tale from time time and that printer I found at a yard sale for a mere wee one, there was such a nice witch , she lived in a ginger bread house. Said she would take good care of him. You didn't know I had 6 wee ones at one point, did you?

Now if I can find a good gypsy women to trade a rooter tiller for a teen boy, that would be grand.

Sparkle Plenty said...

Thanks for that great post and WHERE'S the Flaming Carrot costume directions? I can't find 'em! Did you shred them?

What is this, Rantzygate? What the heck are you shredding?

Ishat's: Make the teen boy till the soil!

Kathy said...

My shredder cost way more than I"d like to admit to and it broke on the first use. I didn't even get to try the "shred livestock" mode.

Cake said...

"Ohhhh!!! You should have talked to me first! I could have gotten you the same kinda car for fourteen dollars! With only twelve original miles on it."

For ten bucks, I'll get you a car with only ten unoriginal miles on it.

Or something.

The Silver Fox said...

Sparkle: I fixed the link for the Flaming Carrot Costume.

And as far as "Rantzygate" goes, I...

"Rantzygate?"

"RantzyGATE?"

Another meaningless %#@&$%!@ "GATE" suffix?!?!?!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!!!

cousin saul said...

Before I opened my award-winning collectibles store, I (along with my first wife) Morgan Fairchild, worked as roadies with David Bowie on his 1972 Ziggy Stardust Tour. Or something...

Keair said...

"Other times, all you'd have to do was introduce a subject. "Hey, Eddie, could you pass me that ashtray?" "You know, when I lived in Chicago, they had a whole museum devoted to nothing but ashtrays! And they said that one of them was the very first ashtray ever made in this country, because it was signed by Pocahontas, and... " "Never mind, Eddie. I quit smoking while you were talking."" Hahaha I got a laugh out of that one.

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