About 10 years ago I was invited to my friend Earl’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I was living in Las Vegas at the time. When I arrived I was introduced to his mother-in-law. She was from back east somewhere (I can’t recall which state), and was a college professor. After we exchanged introductions I went outside on Earl’s patio to smoke.
When I came back in she walked up to me and said, “I can’t believe you are so stupid. I thought that you were smarter than that.”
Not understanding why she was making the comment, I became defensive and responded with, “I refer you to the landmark case of Rubber vs Glue“.
She didn’t get it.
“Smoking”, she said. “I can’t believe you smoke”!
I turned and glared at Earl with my ‘Why in the crap did you put us both in the same room?’ look.
“Why do you smoke”?, she asked. “It’s so bad for you”.
I wanted to respond with, “Why are you an obnoxious harpy who will NOT shut the [expletive] up”?
But I didn’t.
“Look lady”, I said. “I wasn’t in the house blowing smoke all in your face. I was outside on the patio blowing smoke into the already polluted Las Vegas atmosphere. Besides, you don’t even know anything about me. What makes you think I’m smart”?
“You look smart”, she answered. “And Patrick (another friend who was also at Earl’s Thanksgiving dinner) says that you’re really good at trivia”.
I looked at Patrick and gave him my ‘you’re a dick’ face.
Anyway, she was one of those psychic vampires. You know, those people who latch onto you and try to suck out all of your energy. I wasn’t having it. I walked away and started mingling with other people.
During the actual Thanksgiving dinner, I was seated next to Ms. Vampira. That’s what I called her anyway. Her real name was Rhonda.
When there was a lull in the conversation she turned to me and asked, “What are your views on religion”?
I wanted to try to find a way to beat her at her own game, so I responded with, “Well, I pretty much subscribe to the concept of Soteriology, but more so in a Pascal’s Wager sort of way.”
I could tell by the puzzled look on my face that she had no idea what I was talking about.
“So, you don’t believe in that Adam and Eve nonsense”, she said.
I rolled my eyes.
I knew better than to talk about either politics, sex, or religion with a stranger, but instead of putting a cork in it, I opened my big mouth anyway.
“What do you believe”?, I asked.
We were all subjected to a 15 minute discourse on how, originally, we were microbes on Mars, that somehow got attached to alien space ships that made their way to earth, where, we evolved into what we are today.
When she was finished, I said,”Ummm…Hmmmm, that’s all very interesting, but I like my version better.”
“What version is that”? she asked.
I mumbled, “never mind”, and went outside to smoke.
Later, when I came back in from smoking – well, ostensibly to smoke, but in reality to get away from Ms. Whack Job – I noticed that the dishes had been cleared from the table. Earl was now setting up the Trivial Pursuit board on the dining room table.
“Eight of us will be playing”, said Earl, “so I think that we should play in teams of two.”
Now, I’m not one of those people who believes in an absolute sure thing, but I knew the moment that the words ‘teams of two’ came out of Earl’s mouth, that I was without a doubt, 100% positive, going to be stuck with the Martian Chronicler as a partner. If there would have been a betting window around I would have staked my life savings on it…and won.
That is one of the drawbacks of being a smoker. People make decisions while you are out of the room, and you are stuck with the final result. Ugh.
Personally, I think that I was being punished for inciting the Men are From Mars monograph that we all had to endure during dinner.
I don’t know why I told that story. I think that it’s probably because, in the past few weeks, I have been getting comments from people who remind me so much of Earl’s mother-in-law.