I have absolutely no pride. I mean not really any at all. Dignity…a little. Decency… well… that’s overrated. (I still refuse to wear a bra so I’m always sporting nipples, and I suppose that’s perfectly offensive.) But pride? Nah. And it’s because I’ve really and truly, painstakingly and embarrassingly earned every ounce of humility that I have. I do an appropriate amount of stupid things on a weekly basis to remind myself that the person looking back at me in the mirror is certainly not the greatest thing in town. I can respect and love myself, and even like myself, but I spend more time laughing at myself because I have to.
I get into my fantastic car to go to the bank the other week to make a deposit. It’s stifling hot outside–so hot that your sunglasses slip down your nose from the sweat and you can feel your temples throbbing from the heat when you finally reach air conditioning. It’s a simple enough trip. Deposit is made. I get back to the car, unlock it, and pull on the driver’s side door. Bitch won’t let me in. It only budges three inches. I pull harder. It won’t open all of the way, and I’m afraid I’m going to break something. Something seems to be pulling back at it from the inside. I force my hips into the door to close and latch it and repeat. Nothing. I look around defeated, sweaty, and angrily sighing, and crawl in through the passenger side door, awkwardly folding my 92 inches of legs around the center console to get into the driver’s seat. Turns out, the inside paneling has come apart from the actual door. Lovely. So for the past few weeks, I have been ambling about in my no longer fantastic, now bullshit car and can be seen eating a slice of humble pie in public parking lots all around town every time I need to go from point B to point C.
So some things just hate me and other things make a fool out of me. Or better yet, they prove me to be the fool I already am. Like the bottle of Maker’s Mark whiskey. It’s a beautiful bottle–one that stands out on the shelf at the liquor store because of the red wax that covers the cap and elegantly drips down the bottle, making each one unique. I’d just discovered the wonder of this particular sauce, and had never procured a bottle for my own. So when I had the opportunity to go to the drive-in movie theater, only a bottle of Maker’s Mark would do as company for my liver.
I’m enjoying the entire atmosphere: it’s dark, my legs are coiled comfortably into a camping chair, and I’m listening to the movie, its sound piped from the car speakers out the open doors and into the breeze. I fish the bottle out of the bag and begin my descent into stupidity. I pick at the wax, digging my nails deep into it, scoring it where I think the lid screws off. Then I sacrilegiously pull at the elegant drip marks, imagining that the wax will eventually give way and let me drink alcoholic glory. I flick bits of the red wax out from under my fingernails in the dark, and keep working at my noble project. My best friend finally notices me struggling in the dark. “Do you need help with that?” Forlorn, I hand the bottle over to him, and he grabs the pull-tab, breaking the seal, unscrews the lid, and hands my failure back to me. Oh. A pull-tab. I will check for one of those next time.
And then there’s the night on the deck at my buddy’s house, from which I returned home to a nightmare in the mirror. I mean I experience scares in the mirror from time to time, like when I realize I must be the only person I know with dandruff, or when I discover a mystery pimple that has grown overnight. But this is bad. It began with a great time on the deck with poker, cigars, booze, and Balderdash. It was very humid, causing our cigars to burn slowly and go out easily. I smoked one with a dark, chocolate covered wrapper while calling his mother names and just generally being a sick bastard. It was a great night. I drove home at three or so and retired to the bathroom to pee and brush my teeth. And then I looked in the mirror. And looked again. My lips were painfully… obviously… black. The humidity had caused residue from the cigar to paint my lips darker and darker shades of shame as the night went on. And no one had said anything. If I wanted to go black-face, I would do it all the way, and I would plan it. Enough said. That was the worst.
Then there’s an Italian restaurant that I frequent. We usually sit outside and draw where we’re out of the way. Funny thing… this restaurant features doors that I hate. Or that hate me. Or that make me hate myself. The ones that I pull when I should push. Or push when I should pull. Because if it’s one way, I will try the other first. That’s just the state in which I was set down on this planet. All is backasswards sometimes, and I find myself shaking my head and smiling at myself before any one else can.
After years of messing things up and falling short at simple things, I’ve begun to see my life as an epic comedy of small errors that keeps me human. So here’s to laughing at one’s self, because when faced with what we really are in the face of all we wish we were, we have to concede. And then chuckle a little bit. And then change our pants because we just peed a little.