The Czar’s post regarding the unfortunate visit from his college roommate struck a chord here; I too, have a difficult ex-roommate, who just returned to his home in upstate New York this past hour after spending the weekend dumping the contents of his brain on us. My roommate is a classic case of Asperger’s syndrome, and his visits are a nonstop outpouring of Interesting Facts About the Weather, Complete Directions For How Nancy and I Drove to Denver From Norwich, New York, Last Christmas, and stories he’s told a thousand times before, but insists on retelling to the bitter end even after you explain that you’ve heard them to the point of exhaustion. When my wife or I try to get an actual conversation going, involving listening to the other person, digesting what he has to say, and keeping the conversation going by picking up and amplifying what the previous speaker has said, he indicates, by facial expression, wandering eyes, and body posture, that he is simply waiting for the noise to stop coming out of your mouth so he can tell you an interesting story about What Happened When They Visited Harry Truman’s Home in Independence, Missouri, Last Year.We could ask Mandarin, but the reality is that Barry is sort of his own thing. He only stays in his cage because we keep feeding him; he certainly doesnt listen to Mandarin, let alone any of us. How about a nice pet, like a doggie? Dr. J asked Mandarin. Mandy said no, he wants something deadly and dangerous and a force to be reckoned with. Okay, the Royal Surgeon replied, How about a westie?
Last night, we fired up Netflix after dinner as an attempt to get a two-hour respite. Selecting movies when Bob is around is difficult; anything that isn’t a straight narrative, preferably involving John Wayne, is dicey (Moon had left him totally baffled during a previous visit). Wife and I had pre-settled on Groundhog Day; we, as well as Bob’s lady friend (yes, he actually has one, who claims he’s “a treasure”) had already seen it and love it and thought it would be very enjoyable to watch; Bob had never seen it, so we figured it would be a good bet, because, after all, who doesn’t love Groundhog Day?
Turns out Bob doesn’t. Didn’t laugh once the entire movie. At the end, when wife and Nancy had gone upstairs, I asked Bob to speculate how many days Bill Murray had spent in Punxsutawney, PA. “One,” was the reply. Okay, let’s try again: How many times did he repeat that day? “At least five or six…” I used that as the launch pad to talk about the movie a bit. “Well, it probably took him months to learn to speak passable French, years to learn to play the piano as well as he did, months to learn ice-carving…” And I went on to say wife and I both love the movie because it makes the point that the process of embracing humanity can enrich one’s own life.
“Interesting,” Bob says. “Hey, you mentioned Israel, did I ever tell you the time…”
(We had spoken some about Israel the night before, while talking about our recently-completed Mediterranean cruise.)
Bob and Nancy visit twice a year; their next visit is April. I was wondering if there’s some way I could rent Barry the manticore that weekend. I realize he belongs to The Mandarin, but if you could put in a kind word, I promise to take good care of him; he’d eat well, as the Democratic People’s Republic of Alexandria, Virginia is overrun with Democrats, so the herd needs thinning…
Just be glad you arent the Tcho-tcho who has to feed him. That guy is seriously messed up, but at least hes alive, right?
But no... Mandarin flies off to some crazy interstitial space and comes back with Barry. Yeah, he was kind of cute when he was a manticub, pouncing on crickets, mice, and Dat Ho all the time, stinging them furiously with his tail. But then he got pretty big, and he had to move him to the menagerie. Just in time, too: by the time we got him out there, his tail venom matured into something quite toxic. Thank goodness Yeti are impervious to manticore venomand if youve been reading this site long enough, that not only makes sense to you, but you even know why thats a good thing. For all of us.