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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mister Manners

Over the course of my life I have picked up bits of wisdom that I am now ready to begin sharing with the rest of the world. Much of this insight has been acquired through tremendous personal effort, trial and error, cliff notes, forged notes, cheat sheets, purloined answer keys, cassettes tapes, diligent study, over-the-shoulder peaks, night school, imitation, invention, improvisation, correspondence courses, group therapy, private tutors, and home schooling. I will now offer this knowledge to you free of charge.

I have learned a very clever trick so that I don’t embarrass myself while out in public—at least this works in certain situations. There is no possible way that I can keep from embarrassing myself on a fairly regular basis. I have come to accept that an embarrassment-free existence isn’t going to be possible so I just try to keep my personal public humiliations to a minimum.

When talking to a woman who has a serious amount of cleavage showing I used to have a terrible time not staring directly at her breasts. I wouldn’t look and then I would try to sneak a peak and then there was always that awkward moment when I wasn’t sure whether or not she noticed that I was staring and then I would look again and “OH MY GOD WILL YOU LOOK AT THOSE!” and then I would quickly turn away, change the subject, cover my tracks, put on one of those fake glasses-nose-moustache things, and talk with a funny foreign accent in an attempt to make her think that I wasn’t looking. As you may imagine, that strategy didn’t always work very well. I have developed a new technique that I used last night for the first time and I think that I may be on to something.

I ran into a woman I know rather well who I haven’t seen in a few months. I was glad to see her and we had a lot of talking to do if we were to catch up with each other. The problem was that she was sporting quite a lot of cleavage. I know this because I looked, but I only looked for a split second even though our conversation lasted for about twenty minutes. I’m sure that you are all full of questions. How did my eyes escape the enormous gravitational-like pull emanating from her breasts? Didn’t I want to look? How could you not look? They are staring right at you. Stare back, you fool! Are Brad and Angelina going to have a baby?

Her: “So this whole business about the Danish political cartoons is certainly getting out of hand. I heard that some Pakistani cleric has issued…”

I remember that I am supposed imagine that she is standing there completely naked and this will make me feel less self-conscious and awkward. Or am I supposed to imagine that I am not wearing clothes because to imagine her with no clothes isn’t working. I’m breaking out in hives. Then I remember that I got it all wrong. You are supposed to imagine that the people in the audience aren’t wearing any clothes when you are giving a speech. The guy who taught me this was a Shriner and thinking of a room full of naked Shriners is fairly disgusting so I start thinking about the woman in front of me again. This is definitely a bad idea so I start counting backwards from 100 to take my mind off that illicit subject.

Me: “99-98-97-96”

Her: “Huh?”

To avoid staring at her chest I fixed my eyes on a spot just above her cleavage.

Her: “What the fuck are you staring at?

Me: “I’ll tell you what I’m not staring at. I’m not staring at your cleavage. I’m too classy for that. Want to know how I’m doing it? How I’m not looking at your boobs?”

Her: “Not really.”

Me: “Come on, guess.”

Her: “Whatever you are staring at please stop. You make me feel like I have a cyst on my chest.”

No matter how uncomfortable that little exchange may have been, I still feel that I scored a victory. But not just for me, I feel that I won a battle for all of mankind in our struggle not to stare at cleavage.

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