Tag Archives: chump

That’s Hansel, he’s so hot right now.

Today I awoke looking like a cave woman, my hair between an afro and a high-five.

Not as victorious as it sounds, folks. Ordinarily, this would be Gay Prince’s cue but he’s been interstate for a month, damn his unicorn ass. I miss him like the first season of Master Chef (primarily when hungry); and, bereft of distraction, I’ve been left at the mercy of the Family Von Trapp (aka gunslingers, Schwarzenegger and passive-aggressive Cult Boy).

Such is how I came to get my vicarious on with Coffee Guy.

Having ditched my usual bistro for lattes more tepid than Woody Allen’s undies, I came upon Coffee Guy like a mirage in the decaffeinated desert. He served coffee like he served me looks – pipin’ hot and ready to go. Now, this guy looks like a French mime corked before its recommended year – tall, dark and tattooed (with a distinct Ozzy Osbourne hum). He’s eccentric at best, maniacal at worst. And has taken a shine. To me.

A miracle the likes of which Susan Boyle has never seen.

‘See, mornings, I look like Judge Judy upon wind tunnel exit (with much the same disposition). If we graded my mood on the curve – at dawn, I’m the epitome of evil. By sunset, I’m the vinegary miser you know today. And between these ineffectual safety flags lies ‘crusty’ – coincidentally around the time I see Coffee Guy.

Ergo. Ipso facto. Mīrāculum.

He breaks into song when I step up to the counter and recently, has enlisted the help of a yenta to make contact. [Yenta, being the lady who greets me each morning and contact, the taking of said order.] It’s true, I may be delusional but let’s just put it this way … if she aint his yenta, then she’s hittin’ on me, yo.

She looks like Betty Grable and treats her customers like faceless suits. Except for me. She’s been on a steady campaign to charm my crusty socks off, cleverly eliciting intimate details (such as my name) which then make into conversations with Coffee Guy.

Meanwhile, he’s got his work cut out for him. I’ve realised I disagree with men who are attracted to me. I’m tempted to say, “Look, you’re wrong. Here are the reasons why …”

Pucker up, buttercup.

Is it just me, or do nice people chafe you like a cheap pair of undies?

They should be avoided like an Oliver Stone movie. Sure, hanging out with them seems like a happy place, where you can frolic through the proverbial, PG and free. But the minute you show your dark side, like a g-string riding high on the wind, you get the eyeball; an imperial look which suggests your place in heaven resides in the bum crack of a meat-eater.

Some guy at work today spoke for ten minutes about his sleeping patterns. At first it was a mutual conversation (if you call a jovial aside a conversation), but where it should have ended naturally, he just kept going. And going. My smile went from sincere, to frozen, to desperate, ending in limp defeat. He was blissfully unaware, speaking with a passion usually reserved for ones firstborn child. I felt like stapling a cork to my forehead.

Then there’s cult boy, who turns a funny conversation into a blueprint for workplace culture. One minute we’re joking around and the next, he’s wondering how our subject matter can translate into good employee management. It was like he pumped the brakes at 90 and left me with a rabid case of whiplash. What the?

Can’t you just have a conversation for the fun of it? What a Hymey.

I wish he’d grow some big fat ones and stop quaffing my cheese. Don’t stand up for the boss when he’s a chump and don’t tell me jokes about tomatoes that blush. I’d rather you pinch my ass with a live crustacean.

Nice suggests that we’re either light or dark, with no shadows in between; that there isn’t a place where compromise and conflict lie in wait (like Old Gregg set to pull you into the lake, intent on showing you his mangina). It’s a blanket of denial, fear that your dark side will override your light; that you’re Darth instead of Luke. The irony is nice makes me nervous (like a duck in the Chinese district), and I’d rather hang out with Melvin Udall, any day.

“People who speak in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch.”

What’s with the frikkin tie, man?

There’s a dude at work who looks like Clark Kent… if Kent were a European office stiff of insurance proportions, sans baby curl. Euro Kent is six feet, square-jawed, with hair that emulates a dark, wavy sea. He’s as noteworthy as a blank sheet of paper. The spy in movies who becomes the ultimate jackal, because he looks like everyone and no-one at all. Two seconds after you’ve passed him, you’ve already forgotten him.

“I was never here”.

But Euro Kent aint no jackal, because I’m Jason Bourne. I’ve got him in my sights and this spy is going down. Yeah, you can ask. Why am I taking Euro down to Chinatown? Because he burns my toast, that’s why. To blackened, crusty charcoal. Actually, it’s his tie. Every day… as Britney Spears is my witness, it’s over his left shoulder. Sitting there like friggin Jiminy Cricket.

All. the. fucking. time.

Week one, it’s kind of amusing. Cue chuckle, isn’t that hilare? Euro Kent looks like he’s been running faster than a speeding bullet! Mi buen amigo, Speedy Gonzales – slanted into the wind, tie over his shoulder, his legs a blur of circles, “Arriba! Arriba!”

Week two, it’s getting a little old. What’s with the tie, man? Sitting at your desk, tie over shoulder. Going to the printer, tie over shoulder. Reciting the Gettysburg Address, tie over goddamn shoulder. For the love! You look like a chump. Let the bloody thing abandon ship already, let’s get this over with.

Week three. Okay, I’m pissed. What’s with the fucking tie, man? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. This calls for an intervention. Not one of those gentle “this is a safe place” kind of interventions, where your loved ones gather round with melted Prozac expressions. Oh no, more like an “I’m an alien who’s gonna burst outta your chest and annihilate the Nostromo” kind of intervention … where I take that goddamn, motherlovin’ tie and I ….

Okay, keep it PG, people. It’s gonna be okay, alright? It’s just a tie.

Everybody calm down…. it’s just a tie.

Cleansing sigh. It’s just a tie.

Cut to me in a padded cell, rocking back and forth in the foetal, muttering softly,

“the tie … the tie … oh God why, the tie…”.

‘Bing bong binki binki bakalava?’ Cousin Larry

Cousin Larry, plainly put, is that relative who is a total chump. A complete boob, sap or sucker. The dolt. The guy with whom you wouldn’t associate under any circumstance, if not for the fact that the same blood runs through both your veins (or if it wasn’t in the family bylaws). He’s the chump who gets too drunk at your sister’s wedding, slurring his speech and catapulting truth bombs into the crowd (cue Steve Buscemi in The Wedding Singer). The guy whose gut overhangs his belt just a little more than is copasetic; who lingers too long on a punch line, cresting a joke past funny into awkward. The guy who should work to go unnoticed, but instead ends up the center of a (now) deteriorating good time.

And in the academy of life, Cousin Larry has graduated to ‘no relation’ at all – he or she is simply the ‘chump of the moment’, the ‘regular chump’ of your acquaintance… or you. Oh yeah, we all scramble not to be Cousin Larry, but don’t kid yourself Bucko. Nobody is chump exempt.

By day, for the mo, I work in an office. My floor is pretty large, a sea of 60-70 desks, all populated with office stiffs. In the center, to the side, lies a kitchen alcove – visible to all. Enter Humphrey Bogart, stage left.

“It all began with a mug, see. A dirty mug. A real dirty mug, the kind that parents talk about in horror stories to their unborn child. Turns out, I was the mug. The biggest mug of them all”.

Look, I was just dropping off a cup at the sink, okay? A fairly innocuous action. But in an attempt to be efficient, one could say that I was travelling like a Thunderbird on hyperdrive – jerky, supersonic and not entirely right. With g-force and in the foulest of swoops, I swept my mug across the counter, wiping out with stunning accuracy something made of glass. I’ll never know what because, much like Humpty Dumpty, it could never be put back together again. Where Samuel L. Jackson may reign down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger, my wrath was dealt in shards of glass – it went e v e r y w h e r e.

The sound of the murder leapt clear across the room, past the windows, echoing into the beyond. Every single face turned in poetic unison, to stare. At me.

à la, The Blob… “Run! Don’t walk from… Cousin Larry!”

Cue scream.

Good times. Should I also mention that I’m new to this company, and have only been in the job a week? So much for dipping my toes and entering gradually! I had just cannon-bombed, Larry style, soaking everyone within a five-mile radius. New Girl is a chump.

Good Ole Lazza, he’s the fat kid nobody wants to play with. If you’re forced to, he’s good for being the butt of your jokes, the easy scapegoat who takes it; the one you tell yourself you’re nothing like. He visually verbalises that which you don’t want to look at – vulnerability. And he’s an example of what happens under pack mentality – vulnerability equals weakness which, under lion rule, means you get eaten.

So it follows that we will do our level best not to be a Larry, or even have a Lazza moment. (Back away slowly, don’t anybody move.) But isn’t this a case of denial, en mass? What is it we hide most jealously, that which we guard shamefully? It’s our Larry, people! The habits we dare not look at. Those addictions we continually cave to, no matter how hard we try to eradicate them. Our humanity.

We believe that if no-one witnesses the ugly Larry we make love to in the dark, then it’s not truly a part of who we are. Certainly not of who we present ourselves to be. But the truth of the Larry is, there’s no such thing as private humanity. We don our habits every day, along with the hairstyle, clothes and persona we use to camouflage them. Much like the gut which hangs over Larry’s tightly belted stumps, some things just can’t be hidden.

You may think you have everyone fooled, that the food you eat alone is private… that the guilt you carry is unseen. But give it up baby, it’s over. Cousin Larry has loose lips. You wear these truths around your middle, in the slump of your shoulders, in your wrinkles, in the poor condition of your hair. As Lazza is your witness, if you have unhealthy habits, they’re there for all to see. Regardless of clothes, gold or riches, it’s the Larry we hide which makes us seem unattractive to the outside world and, what we’re judged upon. We might chase the external dream but, unless you’re a leprechaun, there’s no getting to the end of that rainbow.

Does it help to know that if you have good habits, you’re often judged for those too? You will appear attractive and as though you have your shit together, which can be a red flag to the person who doesn’t.

But don’t lock the door and assume the foetal position just yet. I reckon this simplifies matters some, everybody just stay calm. It could be that the very clandestine nature of these addictions, hidden most of all from ourselves, is the fuel which they run on. So Oprah talks about her Larry, and everyone on the show gives Dr Phil a peek. But it aint the verbalising of Larry to others which make the shadows go away. In this stand-off, there should be no-one else in the room. It aint Thunder Road and no, you don’t get a Second.

Look to Cousin Larry in his eyeball and invite him to join the party.

The most liberating moment comes when we give up and instead, own it. Whatever it is, however many you have. Pick the biggest one and work your way down. Unflinchingly, as Cousin Larry has a tendency to buck. If he throws you, start again.

In truth, for me, the most attractive people are the openly Larry. The people who are honest about who they are, ugly ‘n’all. The evolved Cousin Larry isn’t trying to eradicate the shadows, but includes them to give a well-balanced sketch of who they are. No, you can’t fake it, so don’t even try. Who am I talking about? Would you believe, Mickey Rourke? Oh yeah baby. He’s a train wreck, to be sure. But an honest one. I respect that a damn sight more than a train that has never jumped a track.

So go forth and make friends with your Larry, if you’ll pardon the expression.

Work it.

Own it.


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