As you may or may not know, when I’m not telling jokes on stage, I am working for lifebyme.com, a site dedicated to people sharing what’s most meaningful to them.
Last week Chelsea Handler took a lot of heat about high-fiving Jason Priestly on her show when they acknowledged they had both been arrested for a DUI. The generally criticism was that the two were condoning drinking and driving or even making it cool. (Check out the clip on Huff PO). I was arguing with my boyfriend about it when I admitted I hadn’t actually watched the clip, but understood the sentiment. I understood the high-five. He told me it wasn’t valid for me to argue sine I hadn’t seen it. While I agreed, I informed him that society was built on people arguing ideas that they were only mildly knowledgeable of, so why should I be different?
I watched it. I still don’t see the wrong.
Not in driving drunk; there’s plenty wrong with that and numerous statistics and testimonials to prove it. Chelsea and Jason shared a moment of owning their experiences and, sadly, a moment of honesty. Getting a DUI is super common in this fancy little town of unappealing transportation options we live in. Before Lyft and Uber, getting a taxi was just about as easy as finding an actor who didn’t name drop. You know they’re out there, but your expectations are low. I’ve had cabs refuse to take me for not going the direction they wanted or not going far enough. They’ve refused to let me pay with a credit card while the machine was right in front of me and twice even dropped my neighbor off at the bottom of our street because they didn’t want to go up the hill!
I’m no stranger to the bus, and usually don’t mind it. Oh, except when that guy thought I bumped him with my shoe and tried to kill me. That was fun.
So yes, while it is never a good idea, this town pushes the limits of intoxicated driving. And I will add, stupidly so. All in all the DUI cost me over 10 grand, my insurance skyrocketed, I spent 3 hours every Thursday night for four months in a class with fluorescent lights. (I look awful in fluorescent). I blew into a breathalyzer to start my car for five months, super fun on dates and when mom came to visit. Oh, and I probably sunk into depression for a couple months in which I overgrew my beard and looked like Osama Bin Laden.
What I didn’t do was hurt anyone, and I will always be grateful for that. Coming off that ride, while wiser now, the experience is something I would definitely undo if I could. I sat in a class of 20 people who all thought the same thing: I have to do this, it’s my fault, lesson learned. Except for one guy who was just a damn mess and got kicked out, but he was the exception.
Chelsea told Jason after their high-five that you only get one. After that you should have learned your lesson. The lesson? Don’t drink and drive. It’s really not worth it. If you can afford the DUI, you can afford to have private town car pick you up.
The other lesson? A DUI is a mistake many people have made, but we all keep quiet about it because we’re ashamed of it until we do tell someone and they high-five us. They share the same shame. And that makes it…well…a little less shameful.
We’re not celebrating our DUIs. We’re celebrating that, hey, we’re not really giant fuck-ups after all if there’s more of us. We just made a mistake.
Don’t get me wrong. Some of you out there are giant fuck-ups. Especially if you’ve been caught and you’re still tempting fate. If that’s you, take your high-fiving hand and use it to hail a cab.
love and safety,
p.s. Now that we’e on the subject, check out my fundraiser to pay the po po next week!
I suck at bar flirting. It’s awkward for me. Not the whole thing, but the important parts. You know, the part where you seal the deal, either with a date or hell of a one-nighter? I suck. I thought I had a slutty phase in my twenties when in reality my slutty phase would resemble that of a nun hiking up her skirt above the knee during the eighth grade dance she’s chaperoning.
Flirting? I can do that. I think. I never really know if someone’s flirting with me or just chatting with me while he plays hard to get for someone else in the room. I make a great decoy flirt. Cute enough to make the other guy a little jealous and funny enough that it’s not painful to chat with me while you’re waiting for that guy to make the move.
What I am good at is using my lack of tact to help other people. Once I was in a gay bar with a girlfriend. She needed to get laid. I needed her to get laid (straight girlfriends are happier for weeks after their kitty’s been punched). How on earth would I expect her to get laid in this bar? But this is where we ended up. When I walked back from the bathroom, I happened to run into a pretty delish straight guy I knew who was there with a few gay friends he worked with.
“Hey, Mikey, what’s up, man?”
“You’re straight! You should have sex with my friend!” He started laughing and asked me who. I told him to look for the only (actual) woman in the bar.”
He laughed, and I thought, oh well, worth a try. A half hour later they were making out. An hour after that…you see where this is heading.
Yesterday I was out enjoying a little Sunday Funday with a couple friends. It was one of those “Who wants to go to brunch?” days where brunch is followed by an after-brunch, usually at a bar where there is some sort of fundraiser so we all can feel god that we are day drinking for a cause.
Towards the end of our visit, a strapping young Latin man walked by us on his way to the restroom. Words like “strapping” are the reason I suck at flirting. On his return Señor Biceps looked over my buddy, Caleb. When I say looked over, I mean, looked over. I love Latin men. Their version of subtlety is grabbing your back end instead of your front.
Caleb is adorable in that he is one of my favorite loudest friends, but when he is noticed by something delicious, suddenly he is a shy and demure mystery of the bar. Despite my urging, Caleb didn’t talk to him.
As we were about to leave, Señor Biceps made another trek to the restroom. This time, his eyes locked on Caleb so hard on the way in and out, that I even felt like I had gotten pregnant just by standing next to Caleb.
“Caleb, go get his number before we leave!”
“I can’t!” he cried. And we left. We got about a dozen yards down the street. The entire time I yelled at Caleb as he said, “I know, he was so hot!”
Fuck it. I don’t go to this bar enough to really care about my impression. Plus, whenever I do something shameful, I write about it so I can retroactively say it was on purpose.
I marched back into the bar, straight up to Biceps and said, “Excuse me. I need your number.”
“Wow.” Was the reaction from him and his friends
“Do you even want me name?” he asked me.
“Oh. Sure. That, too.”
He was confused. I don’t even think he had seen me all night.
“You were majorly cruising my friend, and he thought you were hot, too. But we have to leave because I am a super famous comedian, and I have a to tell jokes on the west side in a half hour. He’s coming with me. So maybe we can meet up for a drink when we get back.” He wasn’t coming with me, but I wanted to make it seem like his time was in high demand.
He gave me his number. There was absolutely no reluctance about it. He would have written it on my nipple if it meant Caleb would see it and call him.
“Look,” he added. “I may not be out later, so if I’m not, that doesn’t mean I’m not still interested in your friend. My friends might just want to go home.”
I informed him that I was still a very high-in-demand superstar comedian and couldn’t stay for the chitchat, but that I would pass his number along to Caleb. I did, and now I anxiously await the details.
Why was this such an endeavor? It was beyond obvi that these two boys were into each other? But in a town this big, sometimes what subtlety gets you is a missed opportunity. At the end of the day, which is worse: Possible rejection from someone who really seems like they have no intention of rejecting you? Or missing a chance for two people to be happy, whether it’s for two hours, two weeks, or two years?
By the way, I’m also available for eighth grade dances.
love and overstepping,
I don’t post much about my supplemental income in the service arts. Not because I don’t see it as very respectable employment. When waiting tables was my sole income, the occasional person would ask me, “Did you ever think about getting a real job, Mikey?” I would then reply, “Yes, because this one pays me in monopoly money.”
I’ve been very fortunate that I have almost always dealt with some good customers. A couple of them I even dated. Of course, there are certain things that get on my nerves that’ll jump on everyone’s nerves.
“What’s in this dish?” All the ingredients that it says on the menu.
“Do I want to sit inside or outside? What’s it like outside?” Exactly like it was when you came from there, 10 seconds ago.
“If I get less ice, can I have more alcohol?” Yes, because vodka and frozen water are just about equal in price.
I will say this though: people can ask any stupid question they want…as long as they’re nice. A good person who just forgets to read the menu will bring me infinitely more joy that a fellow who thinks his six bucks is a license to leave his manners at home.
Another reason I don’t like to complain is, hey, it’s not like I’m God’s gift to the restaurant clientele. Everybody has an off day. I’ve forgotten to put an order in once or twice (usually I blame it on the kitchen). I’ve spilled a drink or three. I’ve completely not realized I had a new customer a couple times. So yes, glass houses, stones, yada, yada.
However last week I was baffled by a customer’s behavior. It started a-ok. Drinks came out correctly and quickly. He ordered a mole verde dish, which, for those who don’t know basic Spanish, verde means green. In case he didn’t know basic Spanish, the second word in the description was…you guessed it…green. As you might have foreseen, when it came out and it wasn’t a cocoa-based mole as most are used to, he was unhappy. “This isn’t mole,” he told me. Yes, our very Mexican chef is wrong on what a Mexican dish is. My apologies.
The shock wasn’t completely out of line. Most see the word mole and don’t continue reading, assuming it is the mole they have had somewhere else. I tell anyone I have no problems taking a dish back; no need to be a martyr over some enchiladas. He ordered a dish that he then told me had way too many onions the last time he had it there. I had to fish out of him whether his remark meant light onions or no onions. The answer was no onions. Don’t worry, I’m still smiling at this point.
His replacement dish came out five minutes later: a giant pile of chopped steak with about six tiny bell peppers mixed in. He sent it back with the manager, saying it was all vegetables. Even the table next to him was as confused as I was, wondering why this man did not want a plate obviously filled with meat. This time he didn’t feel like replacing his entrée; he had “lost his appetite.”
I brought the check out for him and his friend: two drinks and his friend’s entrée, all of which had been licked clean. He beckoned me over once again to tell me that he didn’t understand why I was charging him when I had ruined his meal. I told him that, for the life of me, I had no clue how I had played any part in ruining his meal as everything came out exactly as it was supposed to, and his replacement meal even arrived in record time. Nope- I ruined his meal.
While I got the manager, the table next to him chimed in. By chimed in I mean they offered to pay his bill in return for his leaving and taking his abundance of negative energy with him. Even though it probably escalated the situation even more, I have to admit I was a little happy for someone to put him in his place because I wasn’t going to be the one to do it.
My manager diffused the situation between them. Now’s the part where I love her. She didn’t give in. She insisted the man pay for what he and his friend had consumed because there was nothing at all we had done wrong. If we had, we would have been happy to take something off the check.
Guess what: The customer is not always right. No one is always right. Except Oprah. If you lead people who are in the wrong to believe they’re right, you’re giving them carte blanche to act like that anywhere. You’re also invalidating the respect your other customers have given you by rewarding someone like that.
Angry man left, but not before paying his bill and then complaining to anyone who would listen about his horrible experience. Another table next to him that had witnessed the incident looked at his check after he left to see if he had tipped me. He hadn’t. They doubled their tip.
My manager gave one of the adjacent tables their appetizer for free. For the other adjacent table she took off one of their drinks. I loved that manager a little extra that day.
I want to live and work in a world where being nice is recognized, and people don’t get undeserved rewards simply because they like to complain. That’s what Oprah would want, too.
love and a big plate of meat,
Every year when that time a year rolls around where every other post from a gay dude mentions the movie Hocus Pocus, that dreaded battle always enters my head: do I want to walk that carnival making everyone I can crack up in amusement? Or do I want to throw funny out the window for a night and just try to snag the attention of one of the thousand sexy shirtless vampires out there? It is possible to do both? Yes. Can I? I’m not a wizard, people. Read more