Sunday, May 11, 2008


I knew a radio psychic. It was an act. He knew what to tell callers to sound credible. Most calls were hits but a few bombed. When that happened, off air, he and his co-host exchanged looks and said "gutterball!"

We had a mini party at work. I chatted with some friends, then worked my way to the tortilla chips and salsa. Some strangers stood nearby, one joking loudly about some "f*@!ing" thing that was drove him nuts.
"You said the F-word!" I teased. This shtick worked among friends. They'd drop profanity and I'd react in mock indignation. The childish nature of the observation (compared to, say "Geez, you talk like a sailor") made it clear I wasn't serious. Or did it?
He shot me a Huh? What's wrong with you!? look.
"I was kidding," I assured, touching his forearm to prove I was friendly. It was like touching a mannequin. "Just fooling with ya!" . No smile, no laugh, no "Dang, for a moment I thought you were serious."
I'm not the best body language reader, but his message was clear:
What the f*@! is your problem and why the f*@! are you touching my arm? Freak! His friends stared like I was a leper, a vibe I hadn't gotten since junior high .


strayyyyyyy g said...

Sounds like HE had the f*@!ing problem! Like my old college roommate used to say (about everything): "F*@! 'em if they can't take a joke!"

Linda said...

My first impulse is that I want to gang up on him and beat him to a pulp. But if this is a vibe you haven't gotten since jr. high, I guess you're doing OK.

booda baby said...

Those train-wrecks are called train-wrecks for a reason. I never do well with people who don't own the irony gene. That's a whole lot of people, am sorry to say, which means I've been involved in many many (too many) wrecks.

They never get easier.

Namowal said...

strayyyyy g,
"F*@! 'em if they can't take a joke!" I like that. So true!
Thanks for wanting to pound him, Linda. Usually me wisecracks go over a bit better, but every once in awhile it's gutterball time.

Namowal said...

Hi Boodababy,
I like the concept of the "irony gene," and agree that not everyone has it. There is something maddening about having to follow up a silly remark with "I'm joking!" because:
1. Did someone really think you meant that seriously!?
2. Any joke where you have to explain that it is, in fact, a joke, isn't that funny.

Jesse said...

I don't know if a "just kidding" was required though? Was he, or was he not dropping F-bombs? No matter how you point it out you were telling the truth. How can he really be upset about that? :P

Namowal said...

Hi Jesse,
I think he interpreted my observation as "You said the F word [and that's bad.]" and then didn't understand (or believe me) when I said I was kidding. I'll never know for sure. It was weird.
Thank goodness such encounters are the exception and not the rule.

sg said...

it wasn't your gutterball; it was his guttermouth!

Namowal said...

Good one, stray g! :D

rigodiaz said...

interesting designs
great artwork

Namowal said...

Thanks for swinging by, Rigodiaz. :)

STAG said...

And you were worried about fowl language!

Never apologize.

Never react to hostility with hostility and NEVER with an apeasment. If he was wrong enough for you to comment to him (or her) then why would you attempt to "make it better" by saying "just kidding". Then you are following an admonishment with a lie. No wonder he looked at you like you had two heads!

Lest I sound nasty, I would have said much the same thing and then smiled at him. Say nothing, just smile. First one that talks loses.

No, really!

Namowal said...

Your "first one who talks loses" strategy has merit. I'll try it the next time I get grief from someone.

Sally said...

I read it first as "It was like touching a marzipan." and I remembered how sticky and doughy they were (those almond candies that are painted to look like fruit), and are not at all nice the way they look under glass. Maybe it applies here!

billsey said...

What a jerk! Don't pay attention to those guys - next time that happens, let me know and I'll kick their shins! He shouldn't be cursing in front of a LADY! And by that, I mean you AND me!@!


Namowal said...

"Touching marzipan?" I like that better.
I sometimes miss-read like that too. I wonder if it's a "flaw" that helps creativity? Where the "wrong" word pops up when you read.write and it's more fresh then the original?

Aw thanks. You're funny. Don't worry about Cap'n G-ball. I've run into him a few times since and we get along okay. :)