February 4, 2008

How Sarcasm Can Be Life-Threatening:

(or how I learned to stop worrying and love my safety.)

So it's come to this.

It was virtually a dead sports weekend, and nothing political is happening this week. So I guess I have to tell you about my life.

Lately, I haven't been writing much on here. Trust me, I would love to write more, but I just haven't had anything to say. I can only do so much with a pizza-man's life. And I have to have something to say, otherwise you're not going to want to read this. You don't want me to get on here and be all xanga-ish, do you? Didn't think so.

Lately, we have taken up pool.

I never saw myself getting into billiards, but it turns out I'm very good at beating Josh Usadel at it. And since pool is a relatively easy way to kill time, be social, and not spend tons of money, we have taken up pool.

I used to have a pool table in my basement. When I was in elementary school, I taught myself to play. But my parents, thinking pool was an unchristian thing with which to occupy myself, decided to get rid of the table. They gave it to the church.

But lately, all of the skills I garnered as a youth have been reawakened. Now, I'm not very good. But if you play me and you're not an avid pool player, I have a pretty good shot at probably coming close to just barely edging you a little more than half the time. If the conditions are right. In other words, I'm a force to reckon with.

So we play pool at the Break Room on Plainfield, and people mostly leave us alone because they see us dropping cue sticks, launching the cue ball off the table, and otherwise making ourselves out to be overly-obvious (but secretly not very good at all) pool sharks. Saturday night, we were playing pool, minding our own business, when a drunk guy and his goon friend came over. Drunk guy could have done very well as a salesmen, starting conversation and being overly-cordial and apologizing for his friends overall gooniness.

Anyway, I'm minding my own business, virtually destroing Josh in pool, when I hear drunk guy ask if Michigan State won. I tell him no, they got beat by Penn State. (And it tears me up inside.)

Goonie pipes up: "Michigan State sucks."

And I, being of sound mind and body, question his statement. I say, "What's that?"
He repeats himself: "Michigan State sucks." An obvious Michigan fan, one unlikely to ever be a Michigan student or give birth to one.
Now, I am well aware of Michigan State's gridiron suckery. But in basketball, they have a solid program. Arguing the point that a 19-3 basketball team sucks is hard to do. I ask him, "in Basketball?" and he nods.
The sarcasm switch, the one that up to this point in my life has usually just been used to chide friends and generally hasn't yet caused me any physical harm, turns on. I go, "You know, basketball is the one where they put the orange ball through the hoop."

And the goon stands up. It's at this point, where my brain stops recording what he's saying. Something about say that again to my face, and I know what it is, and something else about removing part of me, and something about my physical appearance. I remember that I thought I was going to have to run away. I turn around and miss a nervous pool shot, acting like nothing ever happened, and wonder why he took my comment so personally.

Paul quotes Anchorman. He says, "That really escalated quickly."

Always-cordial drunk guy, still wanting to con us out of some money on the pool table, apologizes on behalf of his friend. "I apologize on behalf of my friend," he says. I don't make eye contact with either of them. Somehow, goon sits down and the fire goes out. They play us in three-ball, and drunk guy takes our money ($1 from three of us - We're losers, but we're conservative losers) and buys a drink with it. They talk to us - guess our respective religious dispensations - and try to get us to play more. We say no, and a few minutes later we make for the door. I leave with my bones intact, with an important lesson learned on using sarcasm on goons.


Jon said...

Ha ha...you and I both could tell stories about sarcasm endangering lives.

Luke said...

You're a good writer, Jim. :-)