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Thursday, 01 December
An Affable Neutron Star Made Entirely Of Beans

Oh, one final entry about Chicago, then. I've been hesitant to write about this, for a few reasons, but I guess I'll just dive in and see what happens.

See, I hang out online at this bizarre web-chat-fuckaround site that a couple of lunatics created a few years ago as a place to . . . well, basically, bitch about work, get into heated arguments about terrible movies, and, most of all, geek the fuck out as much as possible. A lot of this involves me sitting at my computer wondering what in the hell they could possibly be talking about, especially when talk turns to things like Perl, or SQL language, or whatever "Ruby on Rails" is. (Though I do like the last one, if only because, for reasons I leave to you to figure out, every time I see the phrase "Ruby on Rails," I imagine Kenny Rogers strapped down on a train track moments away from being obliterated by an oncoming locomotive.)

So anyway. When these mutants learned of my upcoming trip to Chicago, plans suddenly started to hatch, mostly thanks to the abrupt offer from J., a Chicago resident, to open up his unsuspecting home for a dinner event open to anyone who cared to come join in. And so, on our final Saturday, we went to J.'s house and had what he had dubbed . . . Skotsgiving.

This was a generous and kind and thoughtful and insane thing to do. You see, most of us on this website that we fuck around on in order to avoid work have never met in real life. (This is also, you can imagine, a lot of fun to explain to normals who immediately think that you're living out some sort of "You've Got Mail" fantasy, or just assume that it's a lame excuse to cover for the fact that you're actually going to the annual Toto fan club meeting or something.)

When J. announced the event, I figured maybe a few folks from the Chicago area would show up and we'd awkwardly eat some pizza together or something, overcome by the realization that without a mediating website between each of us, we were all just hopeless dweebs with nothing to say to one another. I am accustomed to being wrong . . . but I was really wrong.

People came from Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota (OH WHERE WERE YOU, MONTANA?), Canada, and one demented soul flew out from California to join this . . . event. (She also came loaded down with scotch, so she was warmly greeted.) In the end, all told, there were around seventeen people at the gathering, including nervous spouses ("We're going where to meet who now? Those people who talk about that comic book? Mutt Vs. Pine?" "Never mind, honey, it'll be fine.") and a couple of rugrats to boot.

J. had even tacked up a homemade "HAPPY SKOTSGIVING" banner across the windows. It was all very strange, and yet very sweet and nice. J. and his wife had laid out a magnificent spread of turkey and the usual T-day assortments, and we all tucked into dinner with gusto, making sure to drink a lot as well to numb us to the idea that we were all actually in the same physical space together, and that in itself was KINDA WEIRD!

I have no intention of giving a blow-by-blow of the entire evening, though; for one thing, it was a marvelously normal evening of a bunch of people hanging out and enjoying themselves. For another, I would no doubt really offend someone, probably, by making some stupid well-intentioned but ill-considered joke at his or her expense, and fuck that. These were lovely people.

I will mention a couple highlights. The wife (who herself had developed mounting trepidation about this evening as the head count of attendees rose, and she continued to contemplate having to make conversation with these . . . people? She couldn't be sure. For all she knew, I was dragging her to, well, a Toto fan club meeting.) spent some time with J.'s lovely toddler daughter F., who, unbeknownst to the wife, had been learning sign language from her parents. The wife was dandling little F. in the crook of her arm while she refreshed her scotch, when the little tyke suddenly made the sign for "more." More scotch for the baby, stat! The wife was really amused by this, probably more so than J., who will no doubt look back on that dark day as the launchpoint for baby F.'s remarkable thirst for liquor. (F., I must point out here as well, is incredibly adorable: she looks to me like a model for the Cabbage Patch Powder Puff Linebacker doll.)

At another point, J. showed off his remote-controlled secret door that conceals a staircase leading to the attic. We cooed like pigeons. "That is so COOL!" we sighed. We stared at it for another moment. "We are such dorks," I said. But I ask you. Is there anything MORE AWESOME than a remote-controlled staircase-concealing door? I posit that there is not.

Another moment of unintentional hilarity occurred when a good number of us were in the back yard, drinking and smoking before a wood fire, and I was indulging myself in a predictable and dull litany about how I Am Not A Real Adult and I Cannot Manage Money and crap like that when M. asked me, in all seriousness, "Have you ever seen a financial advisor?"

And the whole group cracked up, because M. had unwittingly asked me the most hilariously improbable question possible. After I reset my laughter-inflicted dislodged ribs, I told her that it was entirely possible that at some point I had inadvertantly seen a financial advisor, but it would have been in the capacity of noticing his coat as he passed me on the street. Or I might have seen one in a dream, perhaps. Anything's possible. Once I dreamed of J. Edgar Hoover in a bikini made out of popcorn, so hey.

But what I remember most clearly (well, apart from the harrowing, primitive, 80s-era sex toy video ads that J. delighted in screening for us--look, don't ask) was sitting down for dinner. This was early in the evening. I was seated across from J. and his lovely wife, and she was fretting about the relative doneness of the green beans. J. speared a bean with his fork and popped it into his mouth, chewing contemplatively.

"This bean is of agreeable density," he said.

I relaxed immediately. When you hear a sentence like that, spoken casually, how can you feel anything but comforted? Nothing bad can happen on a night when you hear that sort of phrase.

To all of the beans who came to Skotsgiving: You are each and every one of you of agreeable density.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

Skot is lying, of course. The above never happened (except for the dildo commercials). What he claims was a dinner "in his honor" was, in fact, a Toto fan club meeting. The national Toto fan club meeting. The fan club of which Skot is the president.

Skot, why do you deny your love for jazzrock-fusion-rock-heavy-metal? Why make up lies to cover your attendance at Totocon '05? Your plenary presentation on "Variances in Live Concert Performances of 'Jake to the Bone' ca. 1992" f*cking ruled, man. I can't believe you'd turn your back on that.

Hey, dude, I still love you, you know? It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you. Hell, there's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do. I'll meet you at Totocon '06 in Portland, eh? Meet you all the way, Skot, yeah.

Comment number: 005756   Posted by: TheBrad on December 1, 2005 03:00 AM from IP: 70.130.144.167

Skot,

I hate to break it to you, but I have seen something cooler than a remote controlled staircase concealing door. It is a remote controlled LIQUOR CABINET concealing door.

At my father's house, one push of a button causes a 4 x 8 section of wall to raise up, revealing bottle after bottle of glorious booze!

Comment number: 005757   Posted by: KOTWF on December 1, 2005 06:53 AM from IP: 65.48.40.10

Skot, you gave us all a night to remember.

J. outdid himself, as did his lovely wife. My better-half giggled himself silly throughout supper, which made me very happy.

We're still a little bit in awe that we finally met you and your wife, she's everything you've described and more.

We all need to have a hidden door. And we all need to do that again. Maybe y'all come and see us next time in *gasps* Canada!

xox

Comment number: 005758   Posted by: YSA on December 1, 2005 09:33 AM from IP: 206.210.106.101

"...she looks to me like a model for the Cabbage Patch Powder Puff Linebacker doll."

So much for not offending anyone. All I can imagine is a baby Dick Butkus (complete with mustache)in a green Buttercup dress, kicking his little, grossly misshapen legs and gurgling.

So thanks for the image, Skot.

Comment number: 005759   Posted by: Jado on December 2, 2005 07:02 AM from IP: 208.247.148.16

Itís gonna take a lot to drag me away from youuuuuuuuuuuu
Thereís nothing that a hundred men or more could ever doooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
I bless the rains down in Africaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never haaaaaaaaaaaad

Comment number: 005761   Posted by: Lilly on December 6, 2005 10:55 PM from IP: 24.18.207.93

"This bean is of agreeable density." Yep. I quite agree. That must be the best line ever to use at a Thanksgiving dinner. It made me happy ;)

Comment number: 005764   Posted by: Shelly on December 8, 2005 12:37 PM from IP: 128.125.53.73

Posts like this make me want to get out of bed in the morning.

Wonderful, the Izzle.

FC

Comment number: 005810   Posted by: Feisty Cadaver on December 29, 2005 06:00 AM from IP: 71.5.103.162

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