Mz. Mannerz: Hi Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Time for another exciting edition of Mz. Mannerz!

Hi.

Who would have thought such a little word could inspire so much rage?  I mean, I would have thought that, but I fly into rage over someone misquoting lines from Caddyshack, so I’m a bad gauge of what’s rage-worthy.  You should probably talk to someone who doesn’t have a vein semi-permanently bulging out of their forehead if you want calm and well-thought out commentary on the matter.

I mean, goddamn it.  If you’re not gonna get the quote from the movie right, then don’t quote it.  You can’t just replace Bill Murray’s line “Big hitter, the Lama” with “The Lama is a big hitter” because you will have ruined the line.  RUINED IT.

As I will pontificate to anyone who will listen while I eat pizza:  Comedy is as much science as it is art.  Maybe more, even.  The order of the words counts.  Every word, change of tone, inflection, eyelid movement – it all counts.  It is 100,000 times more complex than drama, and I will stand by that until the day I die eating pizza.

Drama is so freaking easy, it annoys me to no end how much credit people get for it.  Oh no, they killed that character everybody liked and it was sad!  A lone tear falls from a sad British person’s face.  Cue violin music as people make stern facial expressions under overcast skies.  Black umbrellas.  HERE’S YOUR OSCAR.

Sad shit happens in real life all day, every day.  Making a movie about sad shit where the main take is, “That was sad!” is not the work of genius.  That’s just long-winded reality with a soundtrack.

You try killing off a character everybody likes and making it funny.  Craft a touching death scene to kazoo music.  Shoot Old Yeller with one of those guns that just unfurls a banner that says “Bang!” yet still preserve the integrity of the scene.  That shit is hard.  That shit takes finesse.  Watch “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of The Desert” for further reference.

Where was I?

The person who texts you with the word “Hi” followed by nothing is the most obnoxious person in the universe (besides guitar players, which I try to cover in every other blog post.  Try to keep up).

What this person has done with their lone “Hi” is start a conversation with you by immediately forcing you into an awkward silence, thereby drafting you to be the person who remedies it.  They’re not being folksy with their “Hi”, they have given you a J-O-B.

My whole life, I’ve had this desperate need to fill the awkward silences in conversations to make sure everyone is having a good time.  You might better recognize it as, “Good lord, you never shut up, do you?” but your better class of swap-shop psychologists would call it “codependency”.  I always try to have at least three universally interesting topics on-hand just in case an awkward silence happens.  I literally cannot take it when people seem uncomfortable.  It makes my palms sweat and my heart race.

The person who just sends “Hi” is the same person who when you respond with:

“Hey, what’s up?”

Will respond with “Nothing!” and then continue to sit there in silence.

GIVE ME SOMETHING TO WORK WITH.  Why did you text me if you have jack jimmy squat to say???

Did you just want me to entertain you?  Because if that’s the case, feel free to say that right up front.  “I’m bored and I can’t find any way to amuse myself, can you tell me a knock knock joke?”

Hey, schedule-permitting, I would be fine to tell you a knock knock joke.

Schedule-permitting.

Also, my schedule does not permit that ever, so if you want to be a wisenheimer and text me and say, “I’m bored and I can’t find any way to amuse myself, can you tell me a knock knock joke?” your text will be deleted and you will be immediately put on “The List”.

Is “The List” a good list or a bad list?

You tell me.  Do you think something that I refer to as “The List” is a good thing?  Take a moment.  Really think that over while you look at my prom picture:

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It was a magical  night.

I’m not filling awkward silences anymore.  If you text me a “Hi” followed by jack jimmy squat, guess what you’re getting back?  Jack.  Jimmy.  Squat.

I will wait you out, joke-a-cola.  I will let that “Hi” lie there like a corpse if I have to.  I refuse to participate in your senseless games.  I won’t do it.  The ball-rolling is now your job.

Unless a full ten seconds go by, and then my palms will start sweating and I’ll tell you about that time my best friend Anne and I went on a date with five Moroccan contortionists and fire-eaters at Epcot when we were 19 and when I called my mother beforehand to brag about it, she yelled, “DON’T YOU MARRY ANY OF THEM! THOSE MOROCCANS TREAT THEIR WIVES LIKE PROPERTY!” because that shit is universally entertaining.

So!  To summarize:

  1.  Don’t quote the movie if you don’t actually know the quote.
  2.  Comedy is harder than drama.
  3.  There should ideally be a give-and-take in successful human communications.
  4.  Don’t tell my mother that you’re going on a date with Moroccan fire-eaters and contortionists.
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That Mighty Mighty Bosstones t-shirt I’m wearing never failed to attract inordinately flexible Northwest Africans.

Mz. Mannerz: The Fauxpology Prodigy

It’s time for another exciting installment of Mz. Mannerz!  Go put on a codpiece and brace yourself.  Like you weren’t already wearing one anyway.

The fake apology, or as it is often called, the fauxpology.  One of the more entertaining things a person can receive.  You could write it out as “Faux pas-logy” but that’s just confusing, so just go along with me here.

As you know, I had many years of experience dating scumbag musicians because for some reason or another I used to think I was worthless, so I’ve probably received more fauxpologies than most people, including such golden hits as…

“Hey, you know what?  I’m sorry you had to pay to get the electric turned back on again, but do you even care that I finally beat Grand Theft Auto Vice City while you were at work today?”

“Sorry you’re all ‘boo-hoo sad’ with your trust issues because I haven’t told my parents about us.  I’m doing you a favor.  If my mother knew I was living at your house for the past two years she would think you were a tramp and weren’t good enough for me.”

“Well, sorry if you have to get up early for work, but I’m having a good time and I’m not ready to go home yet.  Go sleep in the car if you’re tired.”

And yes, I walked out to a bar parking lot alone at 1am to sleep in my car.  My car that I had driven him to the bar in, because he had no car and no job, yet he felt he was the person in charge of when we would be leaving the bar.  Feel free to mentally transport yourself to the past and punch him in the dick.

…so I consider myself to be somewhat of a connoisseur of the fauxpology.

Now that I’m away from that horrific horseshittery, I find these fauxpologies almost endearing in hindsight.  They really are the gift that pretends to keep on giving.

There’s really only one correct way to say that you’re sorry:

  • By clearly stating that you are sorry for doing the shitty thing.

That’s the formula, in case you’re taking notes.

My god, please tell me you’re taking notes.  This website could self-destruct at any moment and then where would you be?  How would you know that the preferred Sheen/Estevez is actually Judd Nelson?

Here’s what an apology is not:

“Sorry if there were hurt feelings.”

This is what I like to call a “non-ownership” fauxpology.  For one thing, you couldn’t even be sincere enough to add the “I’m” before the word “sorry”?  That’s red flag number one that you’re not even remotely sorry.

The usage of the word “if” is another good indicator.  When you’re apologizing to someone, that means that they DO have hurt feelings.  There’s no question as to “if” they have hurt feelings.

And who’s hurt feelings are we even talking about here?  Because you didn’t mention anything about them being mine!  What you’ve done is just semi-apologized to the air, on behalf of the air.  You somehow managed to remove both of us from the entire equation, and questioned the notion that there were any hurt feelings to begin with.  Try again, shitass.

“I’m sorry you got your feelings hurt.”

I said try again.  That means try something different.  Not try the same damn bullshit again.

“I’m sorry that you’re so sensitive!”

Here’s the thing.  Do you want to have friends?  Would you like for people to be genuinely happy to see you?  Then when you do something shitty to them and they say, “Hey, that was shitty,” whether you intended to be shitty or not, you freaking apologize to them.  This is not cause for a debate over whether or not you feel they had a right to be upset about something you said or did – something that has clearly upset them either way.  Just apologize.  It goes something like this:  “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”  <—— Don’t cost nothin’!  AND DON’T SNEAK AN “IF” IN THERE.

“I’m sorry you took it that way.”

This is most often said when someone has said or done something so egregious that it’s undeniable, and now they’re basically trolling you.  This is how someone fauxpologizes after you get upset when they tell you, “Wow, you’ve really packed on weight since the last time I saw you!” or “Unlike you, I actually clean my house.”  There’s only one “way” to take those statements.  They were meant to be insulting.

“I SAID I WAS SORRY, OKAY?!”

See, now you’re yelling.  You’re yelling at someone who you’ve already wronged once.

Sometimes you can do something so super shitty that no amount of apologizing is going to make it better.  Sometimes it’s a sting that will take time to fade.  Sometimes it’s something unforgivable.  If someone is still upset after you apologize, that is not your cue to yell at the person.  That is your cue to figure out what you can possibly do to make it right, if anything, or just leave them alone and respect their space.

And people don’t have to actually accept your apology.  It’s not just a given in the apology transaction.  When you apologize, you are asking someone for forgiveness.  You don’t get to demand it from them.

So!  To summarize:

Stop being a dick and just say you’re sorry.

“Well, when I was on the debate team in high school…”

I SAID STOP BEING A DICK.

The Lord of The Dirty, Dirty Keychain

Once upon a time in 1988, there was a keychain.  A dirty, dirty keychain.

A keychain so dirty, so coveted by all of the middle schoolers in town, had this story taken place in Hobbitville or Dorkville or wherever those Lord of The Rings movies happened, any one of those damp, sexless nerds in cloaks would have tossed that ring off a cliff to get their hands on it.

That’s not fair.  Maybe they’re not all damp, sexless nerds.  I think maybe the Elves weren’t damp, sexless nerds, but I can never remember because I fell asleep during all three of those movies.  In the theater.

Know why?  Because those movies, like most movies these days, are:

  1.  TOO.
  2.  LONG.
  3. ALL MOVIES SHOULD BE 90 MINUTES.
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Photo of Golum or Yoda or something.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure the Elves were hot in that classy, useless way, like Gwyneth Paltrow, where they look beautiful in long, silk gowns but you have a really hard time imagining them humping.

Don’t send me weird emails about this.

Which brings me back to the keychain, or as I shall hereafter refer to it:

The Keychain.

I first heard about The Keychain from my friend Jenny, who’d taken a babysitting job for the then-current holder of The Keychain, Marlene.  Marlene was a divorced single mom to a well-behaved child named Justine.  Jenny loved babysitting for Justine because she was a cool kid and Marlene paid well.

Jenny was babysitting Justine one afternoon when she had to search through a kitchen drawer for some Scotch tape.  In the back of the drawer, under a few layers of miscellaneous stuff, resided The Keychain.

As the story goes, Jenny pulled it out of the drawer and said, “What the hell?” as she inspected it.

The Keychain was made of a bronze-colored metal, and featured two cartoonish people – a man and a woman – in profile.  The woman had huge boobs, and the man was standing across from her with his pants down and his…you know…ding-dong…sticking straight out.

Justine rolled up and said, “Oh, you found Mommy’s keychain.  We’re not supposed to play with that.”

She took it from Jenny and said, “Hang on.  I can show you how to make it move, but then we have to put it away.”

There was a mechanism in The Keychain where if you pulled on a lever at the bottom of it, the man’s hips moved forward and his…ding-dong…appeared to go into the woman’s…hoo-hah.

The Keychain was no ordinary keychain.  The Keychain was the dirtiest keychain in the world, or as I shall now hereafter refer to it:

The Humping Keychain.

Jenny was stunned. She had never seen anything so magnificent.

Obviously, Jenny had to have it, but despite the fact that she was a filthy-mouthed little thief (which is why we got along so well), she knew better than to take The Humping Keychain that day.  Justine had just seen her with it, so she would’ve been able to testify in a Court of Dirty Keychain Law that Jenny was the last person seen holding it.

Jenny told me about The Humping Keychain in vivid detail.  “You won’t believe it,” she said.  “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”

I knew Jenny’s filth standards were high, so I took her at her word.  After all, she was the one who discovered a cornucopia of “marital aids” at our acquaintance Tricia’s house, hidden away in Tricia’s parents’ nightstand, and chased Tricia around the house with something that looked like a red zucchini (barehanded!) yelling, “Dude! Your mom’s teeth marks are on this!”

We were not invited back.

The next time Marlene called Jenny to ask her to babysit, she asked if she could bring me along.

We hit the kitchen as soon as we arrived.  Jenny pulled The Humping Keychain out of the drawer and it was everything she’d described and more.  The cartoon sex people even had these goofy expressions on their faces and the man’s eyes were all bugged out of his head, something Jenny had, surprisingly, neglected to mention.

The Humping Keychain wasn’t just sex.  It was sex and comedy.  The total package.  As far my dirtbag middle school comedy tastes were concerned, Andrew Dice Clay might as well have been standing right there in the kitchen.

We put it back in the drawer when we heard Justine coming out from her room.  That kid wouldn’t leave us alone for a single second for the rest of the evening.  That may have been the night I officially decided that I never wanted to have kids.

Jenny wasn’t available the next time Marlene needed a babysitter for Justine, so she directed her to me – and this was going to be an offsite, awesome babysitting job.  Marlene worked at a beach club a couple towns over, and since her boss wouldn’t be around that day, she was taking Justine to work with her.  She just needed someone to watch her in case something came up.  I was going to get paid to hang out at a beach club all day!  It was like one of the lesser orphans in “Annie” getting a spa day.  I was going to steal SO much food.

Marlene asked if she could come pick me up at my house, and then I remembered:

The Humping Keychain.

As much as a day at the beach club sounded like the best thing ever, it did lack a certain sex/comedy element that only The Humping Keychain could provide.

I told Marlene I would just walk over to her house instead of her picking me up, since it was only two blocks away from my house, and we could go from there.

Naturally, I stole The Humping Keychain within five minutes of my arrival at Marlene’s.

Also, naturally, someone must have hipped Marlene to the fact that I had stolen it, because even though we had a great time that day at the beach club, I was never called to babysit for Justine again.  That kid must have put two and two together, realized I was the last one in the house, and then went turncoat on me and told her mother.

Don’t care.  Worth it!  I was now in possession of The Humping Keychain.

But stealing is wrong!

Is it, when you really think about the circumstances?  If anything, I was saving poor, impressionable Justine from having to live in a house where something as disgusting (hilarious) and pornographic (double hilarious) as The Humping Keychain was just left in a drawer for anybody to find.  I stole The Humping Keychain because I was concerned about the welfare of that child!  How dare you question my morals as a thief?!

I later traded The Humping Keychain to another sixth grader after an excruciatingly complex and protracted negotiation.  I had recently watched both “Working Girl” and “Baby Boom”, and I fancied myself a tiger lady businesswoman.

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“Nobody appreciates your sense of humor, you know. As a matter of fact, everyone’s just about to puke from you. If you’ve got a hard-on for trash, don’t take care of it around us.” – Steff McKee, “Pretty in Pink”