Thursday, November 09, 2006

Scorpio: Friends will once again claim this week that you should've been born during a different time, particularly one where pregnant women weren't ingesting Thalidomide as frequently. - my Onion horoscope

So this past Monday was my birthday. It was pretty much a non-event for me. They become that way after you have a lot of them, I suppose. I struggled in the afternoon to get Internet access and couldn't, so I gave it up for a dog's breakfast and went across the street to a local saloon. In the course of making the bartender serve me free birthday scotches – albeit cheap scotch – I had another attack.

The attack of which I speak (and up with which I will not put) can actually be better described as an assault, and the perpetrator was what I call a Serial Boring Guy, or SBG. If you've ever sat at a bar, you know the guy. The SBG transfixes you with his gimlet eye and begins going on and on and on and on and on about politics, religion, sports or his shitty job. It matters not that you'd rather have your balls pounded flat with a wooden mallet than listen to him. Incidentally, I find it somewhat odd that these four topics seem to be the extent of the SBG conversational domain, but there you have it. You just don't see a Serial Boring Guy launch into a tirade about English literature or abstract painting so often. Maybe it's different in college (as I write this, I recall that it is different in college), but you can pretty much count on the Ancient Mariner sitting next to you ranting about one of the four subjects I mentioned. This is part of what makes him boring.

Another aspect of his mastery of the boring trade is that he is himself not a very interesting person. Often he suffers from NDPS, No Discernible Personality Syndrome. It's sad but true that this disease strikes a large percentage of people of all four genders, and it seems to be on the rise. It has actually been demonstrated that exposure to phosgene gas and/or voting Republican have caused a sharp upturn in the incidence of NDPS in the United States. In fact, it is in fact to combat this tragic illness that I have created this web log. It has been shown that humor in all forms is an effective preventer of NDPS if the person is exposed early and often in his or her life. You can prove this to yourself by grading the Serial Boring Guy's sense of humor on a scale of 1 to 10. If he gets more than a 2, he isn't an NDPS sufferer, he's probably just temporarily monomaniacal and will be better after he wakes up with a killer hangover tomorrow.

The SBG is not what you call a good listener. In fact, he's not even a very good student of human nature. Most people, especially the clearly superior people that read this blog regularly, will recognize the warning signs of incipient boredom and change the subject, or perhaps even switch to listening to the other person. However, for new readers, these warning signs of boredom in the person to whom you are speaking include but are not limited to:

  • frequent and obvious yawning
  • constantly checking one's watch
  • a glaze forming over the person's eyes that resembles the shit you use to waterproof your deck
  • staring at the cocktail waitress/waiter with the cute ass and ignoring your wonderful story entirely
  • uncontrollable twitching and writhing, accompanied by frequent urination
  • wanting to pay the check immediately after receiving one's drink
  • being overtly obvious about loading a handgun and pointing it at you

However, there is really just one sign of boredom that anyone needs to be able to perceive: not paying attention. If you should observe this behavior in the person you are haranguing, you should either a) shut up immediately or b) commit seppuku on a plastic tarp later. Either one works, although if you really are an SBG the second one is the favored solution. Do not tell yourself that you are a superb conversationalist, it's that the other person has the attention span of a gnat -- unless of course you're me. And you're not.

In closing, I urge you not to make the common mistake of thinking Serial Boring Guys are less dangerous than their counterparts the Serial Killers. SBGs will kill you too; it's just that with them it's a lot slower process.

-- Hulles


Dulcinea said...

I owe you a birthday drink, hulles. When are we on?

Lo said...

You're right about college- the SBGs and SBGettes here don't even go as far as religion or politics. They usually just talk about themselves.

JC said...

Wow Hulles, I think this may be my favorite post to date. You may have outdone yourself. "...having your balls pounded flat with a wooden mallet...," NDPS, "...the clearly superior people who read this blog regularly..." Absolutely priceless. If humor is the cure for NDPS, I think you just innoculated me for the next month. Thanks.

Hulles said...

Dulci, I'm sending you a separate email on that so the paparazzi don't get wind of our rendezvous. I like the diminutive, BTW. You are sweet.

Lo, after further reflection I think in college they don't really qualify as SBGs or SBGettes yet: they are still in the pupal phase (pun intended) known as "self-absorbed assholes." They don't even rate an acronym in my book, and I give everything an acronym.

And thanks lots, JC, although I have to confess that the "wooden mallet" phrase was swiped from Tim Allen's standup act, the one that netted him the "Home Improvement" show. I actually used this phrase in a much earlier post and attributed it to him at the time, so I didn't feel the need to footnote it again. Then you have to go and make me feel guilty... But the rest is pure unadulterated Hulles, not intended for pregnant women or people operating heavy machinery. Thanks again for your nice comments.