Sunday, July 05, 2009

One More Dead Celebrity, Coffee Talk, Torso Pillow


Man, if it hasn't been a couple of weeks to be a celebrity.

Now McNair? I'm not surprised the man wasn't exactly faithful to his wife (I know they're not reporting any romantic entanglements quite yet, but... As a mid-30's sports superstar and millionaire, I'm betting he wasn't just in the same book club with the 20-year-old "friend"). I'd guess the wives of pro-athletes aren't completely clueless and ask for discretion more than honestly expect much in the way of fidelity from their husbands.

And call me a cynic, but I'm assuming this is a murder/suicide.

After Jon Gosselin, Governor Sanford and now McNair, it is a bad time to be a philanderer.

But, hey, wow... Poor McNair. He was one of my favorite atheletes for a good while there.

Like Native Americans

Last night around 11:30, post fireworks, sparklers and cocktails, people started grumbling about being hungry. Sure, we'd had a cook-out, but we ate around 5:00, so I understood if they didn't want to go in for round 2 on the Tostitos and whatnot. I didn't want to volunteer to fire up the Weber again, so we headed to the IHOP at Slaughter and Manchaca.

In high school, I wasn't averse to the late-night trip to the Denny's (1960, east of Kuykendahl) for coffee and chatting. I learned the waitresses didn't care if you didn't order anything, as long as the tip was okay, and so my habit became dropping $5 to rent the seat and enjoy the coffee until I got the shakes.

The IHOP we visited last night wasn't littered with high school kids, but we were seated close enough to hear one table debating stem cell research. It was a surprisingly cogent and unheated debate, even if voices did rise loud enough for me to begin listening to them.

I tuned out for about 45 seconds to actually pay attention to the folks at my table, only to hear one of the high schoolers at the next table blurt out: "we'd all be a lot better off if we lived like The Native Americans".

Indeed, sir.

I'd say I miss that sort of just-enough-information-to-be-dangerous proselytizing one feels compelled to do at 1:00 AM at a chain diner, but I'm not sure it ever really goes away. There's just a certain way one goes about it at that age as you're beginning to be able to think for yourself, and a little Discovery Channel goes a long way. Declarations are made, and utopia often seems well within grasp. If only we (fill in terrific idea here).

His friends gave up too easily. There was no "how's that? How would things be better, and what Native Americans are you talking about, Mr. Cultural Anthropologist?" Perhaps the guy took challenges to his assertions poorly and they didn't want to provoke him. Maybe he was easier to deal with if they didn't prolong the conversation. Maybe they agreed. Sadly, they were wrapping up, so I never heard how we'd be better off with teepees, or if he meant modern Native Americans (who I worked with at former job. Here's a secret: they had no magical powers, unless you think accounting is a magical power.).

As they were walking out, the kid was insisting that "we'd all live to be 173 if we lived more like The Native Americans." I wanted so badly to see this 173-year-old Native American. But, man, it's nice to know that bored suburban kids are still sorting these things out in low-cost chain restaurants. It's a largely undiscussed artifact of suburban middle-class culture. You're not going to see kids wrestling with the moral issues of the day, debating the politics of their parents, what-have-you on "90210". And those shows sure as hell aren't going to be shot in a Denny's between 10:00 and 1:30 in the morning.

And, of course, we were having our own, barely-more-informed discussion on some other political topic at our own table. But, mostly these days, we rely on pontificatin' hats and a cocktail.

Give me 17 years and I will make no progress.

If it comes to this...

I will work something out for you with JimD.


Unknown said...

The Native American conversation is amazing. I wish I could say I haven't heard similarly ill informed conversation points in my elder years, or perhaps spouted some myself. At least next time I'll wear a proper hat.

Great to see you guys! Happy 4th!

Michael said...

I recall all nighters at Jims (the closest thing we had to a hang out) and putting forth nearly the same sort of things.

A MST3K once postulated it's impossible to be in a coffee house and not be pretentious. I think all night diners have a similar effect.

J.S. said...

The very value of a pontificatin hat might be that you know when you put it on that people aren't going to be taking you all that seriously. And that you're headed for tomfoolery.