I swear to God – Mom brought us up properly.
We learned to say “please” and “thank you” and how to keep silent when People Who Mattered were speaking. (“Shh. People Are Talking”)
I don’t blame her. There were six of us kids, after all.
We learned to be Super Canadians: polite to a fault, and always wary of the accidental social infraction.
I remember slamming my hand between the door frame of a car, and the door itself. I remember yelling the word most appropriate for such an occasion (shit) and I remember Mom berating me most furiously. I remember hanging my head in shame. With my hand still trapped in the door.
Mom was a hard ass.
I don’t know when my social skills started going sour, or what precipitated it. I just knew that I was starting to have fun.
Fun is addictive. The more you have, the more you want.
As you know, I’m not a fan of The Beast. That’s old news. But, um, well people at work don’t know this, nor do they know my history with him.
Some of it peeks through though sometimes, and I can’t help it – it’s fun to see the look of shock on some of their faces when it does.
Take last week for example.
Someone complimented me on my good looks. I never know how to handle this (and I’m not convinced that I’m all that hot, and no, that’s not an invitation to correct me with more compliments). I usually respond with “well thanks”. Or I’ll say “I know. I’m AWESOME, aren’t I?”.
Last week we were talking about heredity and my haircutter guy said “you look good.” I said “I know. I think I got it from my Dad. He was good-looking- ” and I swear I was going to say “all of his life” but for some reason it came out “he was good looking for a long time. He’s not looking so good now though. On account of he’s dead.”
The barber didn’t want to grin, but he couldn’t help himself.
It’s funny, watching hilarity and guilt fight for facial dominance.
I’ve used my worm-eaten dad on other occasions too. Like the time when a group of girls at the office were talking about a funny story. I popped by near the end of the story and added “I know what my dad would say about that. Well, he wouldn’t say anything today though. Other than ‘MMMPH MMPH'”) This time there was just shock as they glanced at each other.
I loved it.
They asked me to be the M.C. for a large tech workers conference a few years ago. I had to make an opening statement, for about five minutes, before introducing the first speaker. Probably not the best idea on their part. I did a lot of thinking about it before hand. And some ideas occurred that just seemed wrong. Unfortunately, I had gotten used to doing improvisational comedy and the first thing you learn there is to never say “no” to an idea. Saying “no” to some of the ideas I had for this opening statement just seemed to go against the grain, and I wanted to go with my own flow. So that’s what happened.
I can’t recall everything I said, but I do know I started it off with something like this:
“So I was sitting at my kitchen table last week, masticating furiously on my sandwich”. I looked at someone in the audience and said “that means ‘chewing’. Why? What did you think it meant?”
And I said a bunch of other stuff, and then finished with something that went like this:
“You know, when you have a client who is simply too demanding, and she says wants an answer to her computer problem NOW, and that she has waited for like fifteen days for someone to respond and she’s had this happen a zillion times before and she wants to know what’s wrong, and why can’t you fix it once and for all and what’s wrong with you anyway? You know who I’m talking about, right? And you know that sometimes you just don’t have an answer because you haven’t investigated yet, but she wants an answer now. You know what you should do, right?
“You should employ the MBP solution.
“Here’s how it works: you can tell her that there’s something wrong with the server’s Phase Converter Array (and then you look at her closely to make sure she’s not familiar with the Back to the Future reference and if you’re satisfied you continue on). You tell her that there’s a weight problem that affects the array and that it comes from emails and Word documents that use too many full colons. You then tell her that she should avoid the use of colons in her writing altogether, and that if she feels she really needs to use one, she should use a semi-colon instead, as the weight will only be half that of a full colon. And you do this with a straight face and you wait for her to nod knowingly.
“And that, my friends is the successful application of the MBP solution.”
“Oh, and what does MPB stand for? I’m glad you asked. Your solution is strong, right? What you might even say ‘mighty’. And it’s big too. The bigger the lie, the more believable it will be. So that’s the ‘B”. So ‘M’ is for ‘Mighty’ and ‘B’ is for ‘Big”.”
I looked around the room. “But really, what we’ve offered her is just a bunch of crap, right?
“So the ‘P’ is for ‘Poop'”.
There was a lot of shocked laughter. One of the directors came up to me afterward and said (while grinning) “so and so wasn’t too happy with your choice of illustrations. She thought it was inappropriate”. (So and so was a highly placed and very proper executive)
For some strange reason, this made me happy, and it just reinforced my desire to be as fucking inappropriate as possible whenever the occasion presented itself.
Also I find myself relating well to others who’ve discovered the beauty of inappropriateness. It’s possible to be inappropriate without being a dick, though it’s a fine line for some.
Check out some of the blog writers to the right of this blog, on the blogroll lists. Some of the most inappropriate and funny people I know.