Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Miracle of Mirth

I alone am responsible for this hideous creation. 
Am I boring?

Probably. Most people are. People who aren't boring actually work at it. They make a concerted effort to entertain. You have to decide whether you want to put forth that kind of commitment. I hope you do, because I'm tired of carrying both of us.

The truth is, being interesting requires mastery of three core life concepts: bad choices, polite conversation and perfect balance.

By bad choices, I mean that your baseline level of entertainment will increase in direct relationship to how often your life involves bail money, emergency rooms or anyone with piercings that connect. Nobody wants to hear a story about how you asked for a vanilla Frosty but actually got a chocolate. They want to hear about the time you tried to deep-fry a meatloaf.

But bad choices are only a starting point. The next step is realizing that, given the choice, people would rather talk (and hear) about themselves. This isn't to judge, because everyone feels this way, so let's just own it. Once you've finished recounting how they reattached your thumb, give everyone else a chance to talk. They will most likely be boring, but that's ok, because it makes you look more interesting by comparison. (If you haven't picked up on it yet, there is a fine line between healthy narcissism and complete sociopath, but that's the next paragraph.)

Finally, neither of these techniques will work without proper balance. If you take the bad choices too far, you'll end up a swirling vortex of human misery and spend your nephew's christening talking about how that guy you met at rehab never called. Alternatively, if you let other people do all the talking, you'll eventually and inadvertently co-sign a loan for someone...who is still waiting for that guy from rehab to call. You gotta know when to pump the brakes and when to give it gas. I like a 1:4 ratio of talking to listening, but if you don't have a nice savings account full of horrible decisions, you may want to start at 1:6 and build up a reserve.

So that's it. It's really pretty simple. I mean, I hope you weren't expecting me to tell you that you're fine the way you are, because you aren't. None of us are. Now go put on some make-up because we're going to the pool hall.

Do you have a mommy tattoo?

Yes. It's a 5" long slash decorating my bikini line that says, "My babies are the 99th birth weight."

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