And Now for Something Completely Different was the title of Monty Python’s 1971 movie. With so many different people out there, how can anyone still be different? “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken,” is attributed to Oscar Wilde, but some refute he said it. Thelonius Monk said, “A genius is the one most like himself.” What if I’m like everyone else? How do I strive to be different and avoid being different for the sole purpose of being different? Different, becomes more different when it escapes the same cocoon.
When I watch Jeopardy! I probably get 7 out of 10 questions, but when I stop to talk to a neighbor I’ve lived near for four years, and I talk to him an average of two times a week, I struggle to remember his name.
The “I was so drunk one night that I …” stories were some of my favorites at one point in my life. Other people still enjoy those stories, from the past. If we’re still drinking heavily, “I’m drunk right now!” (Cue the laugh track), it’s not as funny. I will write something most won’t about their drinking years, I enjoyed them, and I had a lot of fun. We spent years talking, drinking, followed by more talking and more drinking, but for the life of me I can’t remember what we were always going on about.
Luke was loaded the night he met Laura. Laura was beautiful, so beautiful that she was normally out of Luke’s reach, but she was drunk too. She was so drunk she was into Luke’s jokes. Luke, it should be noted, was a very funny person, a naturally funny man, but his humor rarely translated to women.
I don’t know the difference between a good-looking guy and the average to below average, but as funny as Luke was, women didn’t gravitate to him the way they would’ve if he was as funny as he was and gorgeous. When Laura didn’t move away from him after his first few jokes, Luke moved in. He spent the rest of the night closing. Luke knew Laura had a few drinks in her, but he had no idea how loaded she was, until vomited on him. She didn’t get any on him, but the effect was the same. Luke was a real trooper though, he kept kissing on her. He said he didn’t remember much from that night, except that her vomit tasted like peppermint schnapps. “That’s so romantic,” I said.
When I was young and drunk, party hosts used to try to prevent me from leaving their party. They said things like, “If you leave, what will we talk about?” They stopped short of calling me the life of the party, but their attempts to get me to stay always boosted my self-esteem. Flash forward a couple years, and hosts were a lot more understanding when I told them I was preparing to leave. My most recent examples of this progression involved hosts saying, “All right then, see ya later” when I informed them I was preparing to leave, and they were looking over my shoulder before they hit the word then.
“Hey Gary,” Chad said. Chad was waving at me, in a parking lot, from his one-ton truck, as if we were two long lost friends. It confused me, because we were never friends, but we did have a long since lost relationship of sorts.
“Hey Chad,” I said. “How are you doing?”
“I just got gastric bypass,” Chad said leaning out the window. He lifted his shirt to show me his scars. The smile on his face was one normally associated with showing off a child’s baseball trophy.
“Next time just wave,” I said.
He said, “Huh?”
“Next time you see someone you know, just wave.”
Women run the world. You know it, I know it, so why are we saying anything different. If I were to open a customer service company, I would hire women up and down the line. Women follow instructions better, on the whole, and they keep track of updates far better than men. Who does the average male employee turn to when they don’t understand how to implement the new updates into their daily work life? I don’t know about you, but I turn to the women around me.
Women want to be great employees in the present. They don’t dream about how they’re going to make big things happen for them. They just do. We all have limitations, men tend to obfuscate, trivialize and deny theirs. Women are far better at acknowledging theirs, and they either try to correct their limitations or they accept them for what they are and move onward and upward.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” is a line we’ve all heard for a couple of generations now. Women sweat the small stuff. That’s one the big dividing lines. Women care about things men consider trivial and inconsequential. They care about all of the nouns (people, places and things) around them, but men care about their nouns too.
I’ve met some men who care a great deal about the small stuff, but I’ve met so few that I could probably compile a short list of them. Men don’t sweat the small stuff, even when some small things end up being germane. I’ve met women who don’t give a crud, but again, I could compile a list of them. In general, and at a granular level, women care more about the small stuff
Women also seem to have an endless vat of compassion for others. Men, on the other hand, prefer not to care, and they even joke about it, “I’m about two liquids away from being a robot.”
“But I’ve seen you care. I saw you cry at that one movie where that one guy did that obscene thing to the dead alien he found in his backyard,” a woman said.
“I have a soft spot in my heart for vulnerable aliens that goes back to my childhood abductions,” he said.
“You don’t care about anything but yourself.”
“Why do you care, and how do you care so much?”
“Caring is living,” she said. “Caring is feeling. It’s emotions. It’s empathy. It’s putting yourself in anothers’ shoes for just a moment. It’s being alive inside. It’s taking a moment to sniff the flowers before they lower you into the ground wishing you took a moment to care a little more. It’s dissecting yourself through others to a point where you are present for them and living in the present.”
“It’s also pain and disappointment and cynical thoughts, because every moment is worse than the last,” he said.
“But nothing is worse than something you’ve already experienced, right? Is that it? Is that how you do it?” she asked.
“Caring leaves you defenseless.”
“And not caring is defenseful, if that’s even a word. Defensive, I should say. You don’t care as a defense mechanism, a shield against pain?” she said.
“When you care more, people care less. I don’t think anyone does that on purpose, but when you prove to someone that you couldn’t care less about them, they begin to care more.”
“That’s such a generalization,” she said.
“A generalization is something we find to be generally true, and I have found this to be generally true. I had an anecdotal experience that disproves that women care more, but proves the general theory of caring less so others care more involved a woman who dumped Curt, because “he was so gushy and romantic”. She loved me, though, because she thought I was “one cold-hearted SOB”. ‘You don’t know me very well,’ I told her. ‘If we ever decided to know each other better, you’d probably find me as soft and gushy inside as Curt.’ Her interest in me waned from that moment on. Some people vie for another’s attention, and another’s love. Once they get it, they don’t know what to do with it.
“A had a robin’s egg in my hand one time, when I was a kid,” he continued, “and I crushed it.”
“How awful,” she said.
“I was a kid, and I didn’t know what to do with it,” he said. “It was awful though. I didn’t know why I did it two seconds after I did it, and I felt horrible for days,” he said. “I think a lot of people do that, even some women. They find something defenseless and fragile, and they don’t know what to do with it, so they crush it. I don’t know if they do this because they want to hurt before getting hurt, or if they consider it the limp of the antelope, but we all feed on the soft and gushy. I’ve been hurt by far too many people to go around investing my emotions in just anyone. My emotions are sacred, and I only invest in those with a proven track record, and a history of paying consistent dividends.”