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Wednesday, 09 November
Of Me I Sing

Today was a really unpleasant day at work, so naturally afterwards, I went to a neighborhood bar for a drink. Why not? Unwind! The bartender on duty was a young woman--actually, the owner's daughter, I knew--and I hadn't seen her in quite a while. I had thought she had been overseas attending college. So, feeling friendly, I asked her about it.

"So are you back from school now? I haven't seen you in a while."

She replied, "Well, I--"

And that was where I stopped caring.

Hi, my name is Skot. And I'm an asshole.

You see, it really did take just that long for me to stop caring. Why am I listening to this shit? I asked myself. Well, you asked, stupid. I replied. She was still explaining what her story was, and I was still not caring. Weren't we happy just a minute ago watching ESPN in peace? I wouldn't let this go, and neither would I. She's just answering your fucking question. Ass.

As I pointed out to me at the time, it wasn't like she barged in on my private time. I asked her a question. And she was answering it. The problem was, I didn't care about the answer. (Not that I heard it, really--I was already deep in conversation with myself by that point. And also the World Series of Poker, which was helpfully right over her left shoulder.)

It's a problem I have. I admit it. I am a shallow, self-obsessed creep. Don't get me wrong: I am not pretending that most of the things that come out of my mouth are somehow less banal or tedious than anyone else's. It's just that I am, at my core, far more interested in what I have to say than I am with what anyone else says. And despite my every effort--well, a couple of weak efforts, maybe--I remain so to this day. Let me give you some more examples.

Earlier today, in the smoking gulag, a fellow gasper remarked, "That's a nice coat."

"Thanks!" I replied. "My wife gave it to me."

"I--" he started to say, but then I was instantly bored, and kind of stopped listening. He prattled on about something that had nothing to do with me, clearly--the "I" was a giveaway--so I sat there and stewed, thinking, I could be doing my crossword puzzle right now. Then I spent a few moments fantasizing about how cool it would be to be a professional crossword puzzle-solver, but like with fame and money and stuff.

I can pretty much do this for hours, no matter how exasperated I get. All you have to do is keep a polite smile going. Here's another example that's happened to me many times.

"Hey, what's up?" It seems like an innocuous question, but in reality, it's the worst thing I could ever say. Because inevitably, here's the reply:

"Well, I--" And then I stop caring. Look, I've tried everything, including not trying to be an asshole, but nothing has worked. Because I'm still an asshole. I am pretty much going to assume that you're about to tell me about a dream you had or something, and then I'm long gone, and probably thinking about Kate Winslet or some such. I can't help it, folks. It's not my fault that everyone in the world but me is so unfathomably boring.

Let's all just agree that this is really your problem. I mean, of course, you and everybody you know. Would it really be so hard to try to engage me on topics that I find interesting for a change? Like, say, me? It doesn't seem that hard. But nobody is ever willing to meet me halfway. (Okay, to be fair, people often try to meet me halfway, but honestly? Halfway is too far.)

Just look at this entire magnificent fucking post. Has there ever been a better one in the history of the Internet? One more interesting? I can categorically say: No. This is easily the most well-written, absorbing thread that I--and by extension, the entire world--has ever seen. Because it's about something that we all want to hear about: me. Somewhere, Hemingway's zombie corpse is futilely blowing his head off again and again because of how insanely great this post is, and it makes zombie Hemingway bummed out all over again that he can't get his zombie dick up or write anything good any more. Suck it, zombie Hemingway! Well, once you find your mouth again.

I'm really glad to get this all off my chest. And I know it's been valuable for you. You get way too much of you. I'm happy you're finally getting some more me. In fact, it reminds me of a funny story.

I--


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

"Suck it, zombie Hemingway!" I think I can safely say, without hyperbole, that that is the best sentence ever uttered in the whole history of human communication. Your solipsism is well justified.

Comment number: 006118   Posted by: Robin on November 9, 2005 12:54 AM from IP: 212.47.73.46

Well, I...

Comment number: 006119   Posted by: cleek on November 9, 2005 07:52 AM from IP: 209.116.70.133

I can usually make it effectively through the "I" part of the conversation.. its when the answer begins with "my kids" that I check out.

Comment number: 006120   Posted by: amy on November 9, 2005 09:50 AM from IP: 216.139.154.168

I'm pretty sure it's in "Fight Club" that an idea like this comes up--something along the lines of "No one ever listens. They just think about what they're going to say." Maybe this is why no one ever really expects an honest response to questions like "how're you?" or "what's up?"--no one actually wants to know, and in any case they're already thinking about they're going to say once they get the floor. Unless they have the great fortune to be talking to YOU.

For the record, I think it would take zombie Hemingway a while to locate his mouth for the sucking you mention, given that that's where he stuck the shotgun the first time. But I concur, unlikely as it might be, that "Suck it, zombie Hemingway!" is up there with "snatchtastic". Keep it coming.

Comment number: 006121   Posted by: sgazzetti on November 9, 2005 02:12 PM from IP: 213.253.92.150

Why that’s ludicrous. If everyone in a country was that self-centered and they all began a conversations with ‘Well I...’ then there’d be no natural listeners. And if that was the case than a huge proportion of the population would have to pay vast amounts of money to lie on a couch and pour their self-centered shit out to a professional listener. And those that couldn’t afford a professional listener would have to pop happy pills or even worse start a blog. And frankly, that’s just a little far fetched…

…well I think it is anyway.

Comment number: 006122   Posted by: Lung the Younger on November 10, 2005 06:43 AM from IP: 80.58.34.109

Oh, I'm sorry. What?

Comment number: 006123   Posted by: laura on November 10, 2005 07:15 AM from IP: 71.40.125.185

Hemingway shot himself in the forehead, not the mouth. Hemingway did, not you. I wrote this, not you. You read it. Hemingway shot, I wrote, you read.

There.

Comment number: 006124   Posted by: Don McArthur on November 10, 2005 06:01 PM from IP: 24.163.118.69

You (!) just described the unwritten rule of 95% of blogs (and 99.99% of livejournals).

Comment number: 006125   Posted by: Eva on November 11, 2005 09:54 PM from IP: 69.195.91.98

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