Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Ol' Switcheroo (Goose/Gander cont.)

The average age of an American male at the time of his first marriage hovers around 27; for women, it's 25. And whether ready or not, many people nearing, at, or above these averages feel immense, intense familial and/or societal pressure to, for some reason, get married. Perhaps that pressure is self-imposed, but nonetheless it lingers over nearly all non-married cohabitating couples. 

But the matrimonial pressure to suddenly wed, in this slice of the world at least, is dwarfed by the artistic pressure to enter engagement in style. I read a recent study that showed the very first question asked of most newly engaged women is "How'd he do it?," while the first asked of men is "So should I, like, not jerk it to her anymore?" In this life, it's not the engagement that counts, it's the proposal.

Some men hide the ring in a forthcoming dessert dish, or they drop it into a champagne glass. Some lure their future betrothed out of the apartment and have friends and family decorate their shared living space in the couple's absence. I've always been partial to the scavenger hunt full of personal memories and locations around a particular city, as we'll re-visit in a moment. 

These thoughtful, if schmaltzy, engagements have become the norm (again, at least in our nape of the geographic neck). And yet I've never quite figured out why more people haven't put this much creativity into breakups. Seriously, how flippin' sweet would it be to apply the same effort and wit into calling off a long relationship as cementing one in holy matrimony? It'll be ever more special if the dumpee doesn't see it coming, expecting a ring instead of heartache. 

An example: Take a moment to watch this video. Classic switcheroo.

I have no clue whether or not that's real or fake; but, either way that's not especially germane to the broader argument. The guest's partner at home is expecting the big proposal. The hosts are expecting the big proposal. Everyone else watching is expecting the big proposal. And then, BAM, the big fuck you, a metaphorical Cleveland Steamer right onto her heaving chest. Brilliant. 

So why hasn't this practice become a breakup mainstay? People would really rather talk and weep and snot up for three hours, not even really listening to each other? Please, that's awful. I'd think, as heartbroken as the poor unsuspecting dope would be, even they'd have to laugh at this temporary sparkle of genius from their former partner.

Picture it: Significant others head to brunch on a sunny pre-Summer afternoon. One gets up to use the restroom but stealthily leaves to wait at an undisclosed location. The waitron approaches the deserted party with the first clue on a grand scavenger hunt around the city. The impromptu table for one believes the day of engagement hath arrived. 

After a six-clue nostalgia parade, the couple is reunited at their favorite spot. Maybe it's under a tree, where they first French kissed (or Freedom kissed, if you're still boycotting the Francs). He's on bended knee, and smiling. And just as he reaches into his pocket, seemingly to fetch a box-encased ring, our man pulls out nothing but his extended middle finger. He stands up slowly and nonchalantly waves it in his significant other's frozen face. As the tears begin to well up, he mouths "It's over," puts his headphones in his ears and walks away whistling. One would have to be stunned, but they'd also have to chuckle.

Or perhaps you can get the Yankee Stadium announcer to project: "Ladies and gentlemen. Please turn your attention to Section 27, as [insert cunning bastard here] has a special message for the person sitting next to him." Fifty-five thousand folks hush and search for you guys; the scoreboard operator puts you on screen. Then when it seems like all eyes are upon you, that's when you spill two $9.75 Miller Lites on her and storm off into the tunnel. Winner.

Message sent. In style.

I'm guessing most of you have indulged this fantasy, so come clean, how would you pull this off? What's your preferred method of calling the whole thing off as wickedly as possible? Spill it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hey, Uh, I, Um...So Where Were We?

Thank you all for coming. I'd like to read a brief statement and then take just a few questions from the assembled crowd.

Some people [that may or may not be my mother] often ask me whether I've ever regretted the decision to pull the plug on the fierce playground of irreverence we called Slack LaLane. Sure, the masturbatory exercise of blogging has its upside and reward -- Look at me! I have opinions! -- but the daily grind of maintaining a website full of half-baked, misguided jokes about minorities and brain-dead bulimics just stopped making sense along the way. 

But like all masturbatory exercises, it's tough to stay away for terribly long. And since the world wide web seems to have an astounding lack of attempt-at-snarky blogs written by self-centered twenty-somethings, I think it's just about time to get back in the game. They say all the greats eventually return; now we know that all the mediocre ones return exactly a year from when they left. I'll take some questions now.

Howard Kurtz, Washington Post. So why the comeback, Ace? What's behind this decision? Do you really crave attention that badly?

Of course I do, but that's not why I'm adding to the congestion on the information superhighway. I'm just not done yet. I've got some resin left in the screen. I want you all to know why I rank Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS just ahead of Pearl Harbor and just behind 9/11 on the list of important events that changed the balance of the universe. I want to bring "Psyyyyche" and "Grotie to the max" back into the mainstream. I want to tell the world that the new Indiana Jones debacle was demonstrably worse than a combination of tapeworm, the NBA headband trend and C. Thomas Howell's performance in Side Out. I've got shit to say, and chances are, you'd rather read a bit of hot garbage than do actual work. 

Eleanor Clift from Newsweek. Have you been writing at all this past year?

Eleanor, gee I think you're swelleanor. I've had an exceptional year actually. I used Slack LaLane's renowned reputation as a natural springboard to literary stardom, (self-)publishing the Idiot's Guide to Date Rape, What's the Deal with Skinny Jeans?: How Crushed Testicles Became Fashion, The Steve Holt Story: Steve Holt! and a series of investigative pamphlets about Chien-Ming Wang's secret involvement in the persecution of the Falun Gong. 

I also wrote and developed a new weekly series for ABC Family based loosely on the Defenestration of Prague, and I created a ton of erotic Mythbusters fan fiction under the name JaimesMoustacheRider. Other than that, I've just been chillaxin' (as, I believe, the kidz are still saying) and appearing in dance clubs under the nom de dance Mr. Wave:

Ace, Helen Thomas, Old Cat Lady Times. Have you been following the politics? Thoughts?

Excellent question; well asked. I'll tell you one thing, as an unabashed supporter of the Tuskegee Experiment, I'm not voting for that crazy preacher with all the scary snippets on the YouTube. He's a candidate, right? Oooh-eee, he was hateful. I find him to be very unpatriotic, and I bet he doesn't wear a flag pin or drive a Ford Focus. But as an uncommitted superdelegate, I've still yet to decide my vote. I'm kinda leaning towards the half-white gentleman raised by old caucasians who went to Columbia and Harvard Law that people have taken to referring to as "the black guy."

And to be honest, McCain should be disqualified. Policies aside, how can you have a president that can't lift his arms over his head? When he accepts the Republican nomination next to his youthful, vigorous running mate, they're expected by law to lock inside hands and raise them high above their hands. Then they pump their raised interconnected fist a few times while waving with their outside hands or giving rapid-fire thumbs ups. That's how staged politics works. You know the move. If he can't pull it off, I say "Thanks for your service -- now hit the bricks, pal."

(On the serious, how many people can identify and name all the presidential candidates on the stage at the first couple of Democratic and Republican debates? Now how many people can identify and name some wackadoo preacher with no relevance to the world at large whose most outlandish statements were parsed every night on TV and talk radio for six weeks? Awesome stuff, media. Great work.)

Anderson Cooper, The Mole. The original one. Way back. It was a cool show. Now I'm on CNN. Craisins, as you'd say. Anyway, let's get back to the blog -- what do you expect it to be? Will it be daily?

I don't know the end game, but it certainly won't be daily. The general problem with blogs is the rush to be first and the desire to be loudest. On this go-round I'd much more prefer to speak mediumly and carry a stick of unspecified length. 

Some people are ace when it comes to providing expert analysis and pithy remarks just moments after the news breaks or they get back from a life-changing vacation. But most bloggers are so quick to be the first one out of the shoot that they fail to consider the big picture. I'm hoping this can be more of an arena for essay and insight rather than quick-take, reactionary jibba jabba. That won't actually happen, but it's nice to dream. So what do I expect it to be? In terms of importance and staying power and awesomeness, I'd say somewhere along the lines of the Federalist Papers. 

David Byrne, boss musician. You know any good jokes?

I'll tell you later. 

Tom Rinaldi, ESPN Schmaltz Division. Are you going to keep talking about subjects that suck, like soccer and Phish? Should I just tune out now before you start?

Look at the stones on Tom. What do you wanna discuss now, my favorite color? (Noice, you weren't expecting a Colonel Nathan R. Jessup reference, but I got one in anyway. It's funny...I know Kaffee says to Jo and Sam that Jessup's dying to let the world know he ordered the code red, but when the lieutenant gets all up in the good colonel's grill, the judge actually finds him in contempt of court and tells the the witness he doesn't have to answer the question. Even though Jessup is a real sonuvabitch and a picture of smug, shouldn't he, as a decorated Marine officer, have enough discipline to let the question and the trouble pass without comment? Aren't they all about discipline? Maybe the threat of the airmen's forthcoming testimony was enough, but I think Jessup's better than that.) Shit, what were talking about? Swimming pools? It's tired in here. 

Oh, right, yes. I will probably be talking about Liverpool striker Fernando Torres every time I get the chance. Is it weird that I'm trying to become a fluent Spanish speaker in the off chance I run into him one day? Dreamboat Central. I'd go Larry Craig with him in any baƱo. 

At this point I'd like to issue a saucer full of thanks to my longtime run-in buddy Scuffy McGee for coming up with the clever play on a Digible Planets classic for this new blog's moniker. And at this point which follows that point, I'd like to declare that I'm back, to let you know, I can really shake 'em down. Let's begin.