porcelainandporcupines

Archive for the ‘nothing in particular’ Category

I should start off with the usual disclaimer that I generally don’t like to talk about politics, because I make a genuine effort to pay no attention at all to what is happening in the political arena and thus have no real idea what I’m talking about. It’s all extremely boring, and even though important things happen sometimes, everyone involved is so self-important and unpleasant that, even if I happen to agree with their stance, I mostly want them to shut up and stop being a jerk. Because, in politics, everyone is a jerk, and never more than in an election season.

And with that elegant segue, I will bring us to the actual point that brings us together today, which is that I very seriously don’t understand why we are still having candidate debates. I know the election is a mind-numbingly long 9 months away, but it’s not like there’s any  nuance that needs to be teased out of a candidate’s stance. At this point, all anyone is saying is “Hulk smash!” and the object of smashing doesn’t need to be clearly defined because whatever you can think of, you’re the Hulk and all you can do is smash it. And that everyone else is also claiming to be the Hulk and that they’ll be the ones doing the smashing is ludicrous because you’re the Hulk and you can prove it by how you’re smashing your opponent. Who you’ll gratuitously insult by calling a female, unless they’re actually a female, in which case there’s no side a woman can be on and not be wrong. Because you can’t be a feminist if you’re supporting a woman if it’s only because she’s a woman, and you can only be supporting her because she’s a woman since she’s the only woman to support.

But a larger issue than the lack of substantive issues is that it’s 2016. Which means that no one needs to travel for days into town to be able to hear what a candidate has to say. We don’t need to be in the audience or even in the same state in order to watch the debate as it’s happening, and we don’t need to watch the debate as it’s happening to find out what was said.  The first debate can be seen by just as many people in just as many states as any subsequent debate, because of technology. And because of technology, there’s no need to trot out the same people to say the same things over and over again if they’re doing it in front of the same audience.

Furthermore,  if the candidates don’t have to travel to each state to make their platforms known, then there’s no real need for staggered primaries. It’s extremely inefficient and serves no purpose other than to exacerbate an already unnecessarily prolonged process. Imagine if, instead of months of debates and polls, we had 1 debate? And then followed the broadcast television live +7 model and waited a week to let everyone catch up, and then had the primaries? Easy-peasy. Simple. What would we lose?

Or, perhaps another option would be to have the same amount of debates, but stagger the candidates who appear in them. Hypothetically speaking,  if there are 12 Republican front runners, you can take a mix-and-match approach to each debate and let everyone have a voice, rather than let 1 candidate run roughshod over every possible discussion. Hypothetically.

Additionally, and this is a little crazy, but since there are so many months and so little to say, why not have a major news outlet host a debate between some of the fringier candidates? It would do nothing to dampen the messages, such as the are, of the major candidates who still have every other media outlet at their disposal, plus it might actually help someone make an informed decision about who they want to be president. And isn’t that the purpose of a debate? Plus, imagine how high the levels of self-regard would rise in this country if one could simultaneously #feelthebern and support an actual Independent candidate.

Obviously, there are many things wrong with the current political landscape; even without knowing what they are, I know that. Fewer debates and simultaneous primaries may not solve all of them, and certainly has the potential not to solve any of them. But shorter seasons has worked very well for television dramas; I’m sure a shorter primary season could yield positive results as well.

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A new trend that I’m not a particular fan of, or potentially a well-established trend that I’ve only just begun to encounter and am not a particular fan of, is for the cost of a ticket to a book-reading by a celebrity to include a copy of the book. I’m not opposed to the selling of books per se, nor even to the inflated cost of a ticket to these particular readings; however, just because I’m interested in hearing what a particular actor I enjoy has to say about things doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to own a copy of their book. Especially if they’ve written a children’s book. While I do want to hear what successful people can share about their creative process, so that I can know specifically what I should be doing when I’m not doing it, I don’t want my bookshelf to look like I read nothing but celebrity memoirs. Which is why, in addition to generally avoiding celebrity book events, I also never invite anyone over to my house.

Last week, though, I bit the bullet and bought a ticket to see Nick Offerman read from his new book at the Wilbur mostly, I think, because I just found out on Wednesday that he was reading on Friday and the pressure of last-minute decision-making overrode my natural aversions. The event was interesting; Mr. Offerman is an engaging speaker with an interesting perspective and a laugh as ridiculous as it is divine.

After the reading, Mr. Offerman opened the floor to questions, and was met immediately not with questions but with a single word, shouted again and again by the audience: mustache. It wasn’t entirely a surprise; when he first took the stage, his face seemed empty without the iconic Ron Swanson mustache. I was taken aback to see his face so naked, and though initially I mourned the loss of Ron Swanson from the world, I was quickly won over by the similarly staunch and intelligent, though infinitely more ribald, Mr. Offerman.

In response to the audience, Mr. Offerman explained that he, a character actor, would be unable to play a new character if people only ever saw him as Ron Swanson. Thus, as beloved as the mustache may have been, it must now belong to the ages. As much as much sense as that makes, though, that we should learn to draw a distinction between the man and the character he portrayed, it does call into question the photo used for the cover of the book, which, now that I can tell the difference, is much more Ron Swanson than Nick Offerman.

As I said, I’m not opposed to the selling of books, and at this particular point, Ron Swanson will probably move more product than Nick Offerman. And probably, too, the cover was shot while the final season of Parks & Recreation was filming. But still; while I would never have cause to question Nick Offerman’s integrity (seriously: you should hear him talk about how much he loves his wife), I just wish he had used a picture of himself.

After the Q&A, there was to be a book signing. And though I enjoyed the idea of telling the erstwhile Ron Swanson that I am a librarian, the theater was so ill-prepared to organize the audience into a formation that would allow any single person to get his or her book signed while also not being an unbelievable fire hazard, that I decided my best course of action would be to head home.

And because last Friday felt like summer, unlike the deep autumn in which we find ourselves lo these several days later, I decided to walk. I know; I’m a damn hero over here. A hero who sees no reason to spend $2.10 to go two stops on the Red Line. Thrift is a virtue, I understand, and virtue is its own reward. Which makes it all the more amazing that on this walk I received the greatest possible gift when I found myself slightly alongside a couple engaging in perhaps the most awkward romantic banter in history. The topic, obviously, was mailboxes.

It may seem, especially when inebriated, which I desperately hope this couple was, that the mailbox presents no end of possibilities for romantic conversation. I mean, when you have key players like “box,” “slot,” “sign for delivery,” and “insufficient postage” doing the heavy lifting for you, the wit practically writes itself. And yet, despite this cornucopia of material, this fair woman, who hopefully was drunk, lost her grip on the topic in a terrible way but tried desperately to keep up with it by announcing that isn’t it so weird that no one ever steals from mailboxes?

As a practical person not generally given to romance, I would probably not have been swept up in her desperate whimsy and instead replied that it’s not, because they do. In fact, it’s a federal offense to mess with someone’s mail, and it probably wouldn’t carry a five-year penalty if no one ever did it. Which would have been unfortunate, as I believe pointing out that the drunken person trying so hard to impress you that they’ll say something unbelievably stupid just said something unbelievably stupid is what the kids call a mood killer.

On the other hand, though, sometimes a topic is so egregious that such a killing would be a mercy. Because even though her young man tried valiantly to engage, or at least not to dash the conversation altogether, it did not get better. On the contrary, it got so much worse that it was thrilling. Desperate to course correct, the woman announced that they just don’t HAVE mailboxes where she’s from.

I didn’t fully hear the rest of what said for two reasons. The first was that, when presented with an intellectual puzzle, I need to make an attempt to solve it, however feeble. Where could a person be from that doesn’t have mailboxes? The most obvious answer is another planet, and this young woman was some sort of intergalactic spy. Which is encouraging to think of, that at least this particular alien race is so poor at fitting in amongst us that any possible invasion would have to be several years away.

However, their conversation continued and turned to the delivery of packages – because they were talking on their DATE about PACKAGES; and not in the sexy way. I assume, while I was marveling, it was put forth that, though the mailbox itself is impervious to theft, not every delivery will fit within said box and must then be left completely unguarded on a person’s porch, tempting any thief who might pass by with its vulnerability,causing her to reveal that on her home planet, packages are simply left with neighbors. Which means she lives in a place without mailboxes, but people are always home during the day. So, alien home world, or, just as likely, trailer park.

The main distraction, though, was that I am, like, 1 billion percent sure that I know guy who was on this amazingly awkward date. A former co-worker, I believe, with whom I was not particularly friends with but knew a number of people who thought well of him. By which I of course mean thought he was cute.

I have to say, here in the honesty of the internet, that I did not see it. Which, as with other things that are particularly beloved that I don’t get, I chose not to comment on. Not out of preservation in this case, but simply because I am very much in favor of finding people attractive, in general; that I may not agree in a specific case is irrelevant to the larger cause, which is one that I think should be celebrated in all its forms.

So my relationship with this gentleman is tenuous; we know each other well enough to recognize and say hello, but not well enough for us ever to laughingly reminisce about that time I saw him on a date with an alien female who wouldn’t stop talking about mailboxes, and he was gamely trying to go along with it. It’s not a memory he and I will share, which is sad, because it is one I will treasure forever.

A few months ago, I wrote about two songs that are not particularly good. And while that piece is undoubtedly the best press either of those songs has gotten at this late date in 2014, and is also undoubtedly considered long enough by anyone who actually read it, it does not include a few major points that I’d intended to make but unfortunately left out due to scheduling issues and poor time management on my part.

Point the first is that having a hit song, be it on the radio, the local music video station, or wherever it is music gets played these days (Youtube, I guess? I honestly have no idea where music happens anymore), takes a tremendous amount of effort. Even a truly terrible song represents sometimes years of hard work, of commitment to practice, of prioritizing the band, of just showing up, day after day after day, to play music or sing or perfect a chord progression (those are things, yes? chord progressions?) in front of a small audience of people you know and a handful of strangers who aren’t paying attention but are raising their voices so they can talk over you and all of your hard work. While we, the end-user, might be under the impression that the song we just heard for the first time ever is from a brand-new band, the truth is that the band existed long before we the public ever heard of them, and the fact that we’re hearing from them at all is an exceptional achievement on their part.

I admire the hell out of that. Even when I don’t like the end product at all, I have to recognize that these people have achieved something that I probably never will be able to do. I mean, I fully intended to write this follow-up post months ago, but didn’t get around to it because I’m so lazy. And even today, I’ve already taken about 5  breaks since I started 2 hours ago. Which, for those of you who did not flee to Kentucky to study math, means it’s taken 2 hours to write 2.5 paragraphs. That there are people – many of them! – who can sit still and focus on writing, every day, over and over and over again, is just amazing to me. That what they’ve written is terrible is utterly besides the point, because their terrible actual writing surpasses my brilliant imaginary writing, simply because it exists. Which is not to say that actual things can not be measured on their quality; it is only to say that there are real-world applications to getting an A for effort, just as there are to not living up to your potential.

Point the second is that while I will go to my grave insisting that those songs are no good (in a scenario where I am murdered by a crazed Deep Blue Something fan who, distraught that they can’t secure funding for a shot-by-shot remake of the video starring Avatar-style animated versions of the cast of the shot-by-shot remake of Psycho, holds me responsible for the failure of their Kickstarter but then, in turn, meets their own tragic end when my death at their hands is avenged by Oola, as is foretold), I never actually said that I don’t like them. In fact, the reason Breakfast at Tiffany’s was declared the winner of that particular scuffle is because I happen to like the song quite a bit : it’s catchy, the singer’s voice is pleasant, and I like thinking about breakfast. That might seem like faint praise, and it is; however, the point is, the song being objectively bad has no bearing on whether or not I like it.

In many circles, this would make Breakfast at Tiffany’s my guilty pleasure. Guilty pleasures have become increasingly popular over the past few years, for reasons I can’t begin to suppose although I do imagine some enterprising young cultural studies major will be writing a thesis on it. Guilty pleasures have become a niche market, especially on television, or at least it seems so to me because I read a lot about television, where, every season, some new show is being touted as “your new guilty pleasure”. And while I appreciate the level of effort that goes in to making these shows a success, I must admit it’s to finding it extremely interesting when they fail, as that usually generates at least one “Your new guilty pleasure – why did it fail?” article, as though the answer can not at least in part be found in a marketing campaign that considered the show being so terrible that liking it would be embarrassing a selling point.

To me, though, the concept of a guilty pleasure is a little weird. I’m not embarrassed by liking a particular song, or television show, or movie, or book, or whatever. Enjoying something that is definitely terrible is not the sum total of my taste, and even if that something is completely without merit, if I like it then I like it; it doesn’t make sense to feel bad about it, in the same way I don’t at all regret not liking something overflowing with merit. Which, considering how I don’t like just about anything (like Death Cab for Cutie; talk about your dumb band names), is really for the best.

Sometimes I feel bad for people who have cats other than Oola. For instance, as I was leaving work the other day my office mate said I should have a good night at home playing with my cat. I wasn’t feeling particularly well that day; I said all I really wanted was to lie down on the couch and have the cat sit on me. This, my office-mate clarified, is what she’d meant.

I have no objection to laying on the couching being considered a game; if it could be considered a sport, I would be a world-class athlete. And there are certain challenges to having Oola sit on me for an extended period of time; for example, I have to stay very still so that she won’t be unsettled and decide to sit somewhere that is not on me. So, unlike regular sitting on the couch, where I might fidget or lean over or decide to get up and walk into the kitchen for more water or something, Oola sitting on me sitting on the couch means that I might not move at all for literally hours.

Even while staying perfectly still, there is a very definite presence to be felt when Oola is sitting on me. Unlike some of your fluffier cats, Oola is solid. Last we checked, she weighed in at 13 pounds, although you’d never guess it to look at her, in part because black is slimming, even in cats; and in larger part because it’s almost entirely muscle.

How does a tiny little kitten build up 13 pounds of muscle? In Oola’s case, it’s from play. Because, while sitting on the couch completely still is a perfectly enjoyable way to pass a couple of hours, it’s actually quite a different experience than playing with Oola. For Oola, there’s an element of destruction in play that cannot be achieved through stillness. In play, there’s activity : the chasing of an object, which occasionally explodes into running from room to room to room seemingly at random. Oola is not content merely to bat at things being dangled in front of her; Oola puts all of her energy into chasing these things, and she chases them because she wants to catch them. Oola chases things because she wants to catch them, and she wants to catch them because she wants to kill them.

What are the things Oola wants to kill? Anything, really. Feathers. Pencils. Plastic pull tabs from soy milk or orange juice cartons. Ribbons. Bed sheets, but only when they’re being changed. Hands and wrists. The red dot. Books and magazines. The corners of cardboard boxes. Occasionally, an official cat toy. Regardless of what it is, Oola brings the same level of intensity to finding it, catching it, and destroying it.

These tendencies toward destruction seem to invite frequent comment from others, and that comment is most often that Oola is very lucky to have landed in my home. From this, I have concluded that most people would not be happy with a cat like Oola. Which in part makes me sad for them, but mostly makes me realize how lucky I am that Oola ended up here. Otherwise, I might now be sitting here right now with some light-weight feline resting on my leg, and barely be able to tell there’s a cat in the house.

So far, the most interesting thing to happen this week is that a guy fell down on the bus this morning. Actually, there were two guys who fell over; they’d been talking to each other across the aisle and, in unison, rose from their seats as the bus approached the next stop. Neither anticipated that the driver would stop for the traffic lights that came before the bus stop, but he did; and as he deployed the brakes in a completely ordinary and non-dramatic fashion, the two guys in the process of gracelessly rising from their seats found themselves pitching forward in a suddenly dramatic yet equally graceless effort to stop from falling all the way down. Only one of them succeeded.

The one who did not succeed, the one who fell, took an awfully long time to fall completely. He went in curious slow-motion through the stages of falling, first attempting to lurch upright, then falling on one knee, then lurching forward again to crash his face into the legs of the people who’d managed to successfully make their ways toward the door of the bus, and then, finally, landing fully on the floor. It was an effort just to watch. Had I been in a similar position, I’m sure I too would have struggled every step of the way down, but as an observer, it was clear that submitting to the inevitable and just falling already would have been the most elegant path, since only after completing the fall was he able to begin to get back up successfully.

Falling spectacularly in public like that, there are really only two possible ways to react : if you’re embarrassed but overall unharmed, you can dorkily call attention to your situation and subsequent recovery; if you are, at all, in any sort of pain, you immediately start casting blame. Which I say without judgement; after I fell on the ice this winter, I immediately looked for the house number of whoever the fuck would be so fucking lazy as to leave 3 fucking inches of ice on the fucking sidewalk in front of their fucking house, because without that fucking ice, I wouldn’t have bonked my fucking head on their fucking sidewalk. Not that I am holding a grudge.

The guy this morning could only blame the driver, although there were plenty of people who did not fall over or down when the braking happened, so I suppose there was the option to blame himself. Alas, that is not the option he chose, which is really too bad. Because, if he’s anything like me – and one thing I’ve noticed over the past 40 years is that most people are – that fall on the bus was his entire morning : every time someone arrives at work and says “Hey, guy, how’s it going?” he’s going to have to mention that he fell on the bus – again, because that’s what I would do – and I’d much rather spend the morning telling the story of how I looked like an idiot but wound up okay than the story of how I’m limping because of that dumb fucking bus driver.

But ultimately, I’m actually telling you the story of how somebody else fell on the bus because, I’m pretty sure, this has been the single most uneventful 2-week span in my entire life. The only other possible thing I could talk about was some positive feedback I got on a PowerPoint presentation, but you wouldn’t be able to see the presentation, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to read a description of a PowerPoint presentation. So instead, I went with the guy falling down on the bus. And I’m sure that, our positions reversed, he would have done the same.

There was a time not too long ago in memory but perhaps a bit further back as the crow flies when, instead of taking to the internet to share half-formed thoughts however deeply felt, I would walk on down to the Pamplona cafe and write. Not, as many of my friends did, in a journal; I have never managed to quite wrap my head around the thought of writing for no audience – particularly when the alternative is to pass hours upon hours with the same thoughts whirling around my head in a most productive fashion. Instead, I would put pencil to paper to write letters to my friend Naopi, who was living in Greece at the time.

An interesting thing about these letters, or so I think, is that, although I did almost nothing at all in my free time except write to her (then, as now, it took me an exceptionally long time to complete a single letter), I always had lots to talk about. While the overall topics are probably pretty similar to the categories on ye olde blogge here – people being strange, shopping, animals – the specifics of most of those letters have been lost to the hoary mists of time, and possibly the recycling can. Except for one topic, which I remember quite well : what makes a person boring.

There are two main reasons why I remember this topic : one is that, as soon as I mailed it off to Naopi, I received from her a letter dissecting what is was that made a person charismatic; she couldn’t possibly have received my letter before writing her own – the Greek mail system being notoriously slow in the mid-’90s – and I thought it an interesting and symbolically meaningful statement on our friendship that we would both approach the same topic at the same time, but from such very different directions. The second is that there was a cute boy involved.

Said cute boy was Luke, who had been a classmate of mine at the college Naopi attended as well. Luke and I had a few classes together, and he played in a band with a guy who lived downstairs from me freshman year (whose roommate that freshman year, a propos of absolutely nothing, took dreadful notes), so I had ample opportunity to appreciate his classic, Aryan dreaminess.  Luke’s most important quality, it turned out, was that, in one chance encounter behind a Walgreens in Somerville, he utterly obliterated the very boring theory I had spent so many weeks working out.

Then, my theory had been that whether or not a speaker was interesting was determined by energy. It was a simpler time then, I was young, and so it made sense to the optimism of my youth not that any topic would be inherently uninteresting, but that a lack of energy and enthusiasm displayed by the speaker would translate to a corresponding lack of interest in the audience for anything they had to say.

That day on the bike path, though, Luke was interested in whatever it was he was talking about. He was smiling, eyes crinkling, hands gesticulating an amount appropriate to the topic. Also : still very handsome. If we were in a silent movie or being watched from afar through high-powered binoculars, it would not have been unreasonable to conclude that our conversation was of great interest and perhaps some little import. When, in fact, the conversation was stunningly dull.

So boring. It was so boring! I don’t remember at all what we were talking about, but I do remember a peculiar sense of loss as I realized that there would be attractive people in my life that I would have no interest in talking to, and a more profound sense of disbelief as my theory of energy crumpled in front of a handsome face, clearly so jazzed about the topic, and yet, somehow, so, so boring.

I have, of course, been bored many times since then, and even, on a few occasions, by a handsome gentleman. Though I have not had reason to return to my formal studies, I have, through repeated exposure to things and people that are not at all interesting, realized that “boring” can not be reduced to either the presence or absence of one single element, but instead is the complex result of the interplay of several factors:

  • The most sure sign that you are at the advent of a boring conversation is an assumption by the speaker that the audience has knowledge it could not possibly have. This gambit is often employed by the advertising industry, which will develop products to help you sync to the The Cloud, perfect its BB Cream, or list the 10 most tell-tale signs of Imposter Syndrome, without ever having established that the cloud, cream or syndrome actually exist and, further, serve some purpose. They do not.
  • In conversation, this will typically present as an especially difficult part of a task that has not been previously discussed, and, as in advertising, is an attempt to hook the audience’s interest by exploiting the audience’s unwillingness to admit they don’t know something and risk looking foolish. Unfortunately, my typical response to context-free information that sounds like nonsense is not worry that I don’t know what’s going on, but rather to conclude that the speaker is kind of a dick.
  • An addition signifier of a boring conversation is the inclusion of numerous but completely unnecessary details. This one is difficult for me to point out, as there are few things I love more than unnecessary details – it’s kind of my signature. And, indeed, a well-deployed detail can add flavor and depth to a story. However, few are the people in the world who would enjoy an in-depth discussion of each individual vegetable that could potentially top a Subway Sandwich, even if the shredding of the lettuce could indeed be the key to replicating that sandwich at home.
  • A corollary to unnecessary detail is the allusion to other unspecified details. The speaker may reference a previous event as though it had been aforementioned , e.g. “So then there’s that whole thing,” the emphasis on that indicating the potential of interesting, or perhaps even scandalous, information. As with the assumption of knowledge, this is often an attempt to get the audience to ask after that whole thing, thus prolonging the conversation and the speaker’s role as the center of attention. Don’t fall for it.
  • While the speaker might happily digress in a direction of their choosing – revisiting that whole thing, for example – they will not allow for the natural flow and development of a conversation that can occur between two (or more) equal participants. Even if another participant does manage to introduce a new topic, a boring speaker will always revert back to the original topic.
  • Similarly, while it may feel like a boring conversation just will not end, the fact is that is that a boring conversation is actually far, far longer than an interesting conversation. As with the previous point, it is impossible to bring to this conversation a natural end; even if you were to tell the speaker that you knew exactly what they were going to say, and then prove that by going ahead and saying it, the speaker would still continue on the predetermined path of what they want to say. That may sound far-fetched, but I’ve done it.

The Smithsonian reported earlier this week that we’re approaching “Peak Beard”. Which is to say that we’ve reached a cultural saturation point with regards to  facial hair; beards, their infinite varieties and configurations, are indeed everywhere. And while there will always be a need for the beard in our society – how else a  silver fox make himself even more distinguished? or a sports team win the playoffs? –  right now, that necessity has become commonplace. Through their very numbers, any individual beard has dissolved into the vast sea of beard that has washed over us all. The beard, in short, has sold out.

That being said, the dawn of Peak Beard reminds me of the one and only beard story I have. At least, it’s the only one I remember in its entirety; I do have a vague recollection of an apartment search that  involved a bearded lady, but I couldn’t tell you how. That story may not have had a punchline, or not one beyond “bearded lady”; that makes things harder to remember.

But, I digress. Anyway  – several years ago, I was having  lunch with some friends; our table was crowded, but the only two people I remember specifically as being present were Debbie and Scott, though not because that was unusual. We were deeply involved in your standard lunchtime conversation, filling what would otherwise be silent in an unremarkable manner, when by our table passed a guy with a beard.

“Hey,” I interjected. “Who’s that guy with the beard?”
“Which one?” Debbie asked.

The table paused, as everyone stopped to focus on Debbie. Debbie had a habit for malaprop, most famously declaring her tendency to “eat several guys under a table” in a discussion of how much she enjoyed food. The  beard question did not, on its face, have quite that level of humor inherent; it was the context in which the question was posed that elevated it into the annals of Stories We’d Tell, and the context was this : we were in high school at the time.

Specifically, we were Sophomores. And, while puberty comes to different people at different times, facial hair is scarce enough as a whole, and then patchy enough in its initial expression on the faces of youth, that anything robust enough to be fully and properly referred to as “beard” on the face of anyone other than a teacher, is noticeable. This was not like the time Heath had burst out in frustration “Petunia Pig, dammit!” in his effort to call  attention to a particularly unattractive floral top; this being the ’80s, particularly unattractive was the norm, floral or otherwise. In high school – which, in many ways, is the opposite of peak beard – “the guy with the beard” should have been description enough.

And so we paused, briefly, until it became clear that the only possible response to Debbie’s question was for all of us to raise our voices in unison to reiterate “THE ONE. WITH. THE BEARD.”*

It turns out Debbie didn’t know who that guy was; no one did. He remains a mystery to this day. Possibly, he was a narc of some kind. But, more than anyone, I hope for his sake that the transition back to post peak beard is swift. Because if he couldn’t reliably be recognized for having a beard in high school, then the past few years must have truly been torture.

 

*And this, even though we did not yet have sarcastic punctuation in the Eighties.


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