Sunday, June 18, 2006

So people I can't stomach are still carrying on one-sided conversations with me...

... and that means you're going to hear me bitch about it in a one-sided conversation with you.

I guess you can consider this article an extension of my previous entry regarding the notorious Babblers Three. Once again, I offer the caveat that if you've never met any of the following mass-producers of carbon dioxide, you're probably one of them and are therefore reading the wrong blog. I'm sure the relative lack of spelling and grammatical errors has already alerted you to this salient fact. To get redirected to a site more compatible with your level of intellect, please type "omg!!!11!1!!1" or "ur kewl" or "u stoopid n00b!!1!!1 LOL" or "information regarding the Da Vinci Code conspiracy" into your preferred search engine and get the fuck out of here.

1.) Captain Obvious

> aka: The Narrator

> Is usually: A child just learning to talk; a friendly and harmless, if slow-witted, co-worker/neighbor/acquaintance/relative; your giggling teenage daughter; my wife

> Thinks you are: Blind and deaf

> Description: Captain Obvious, or, as he is occasionally known, The Narrator, likes to describe things that are happening right in front of your eyes, exactly as they are occurring. He or she seems to think they are providing some sort of public service by relating news that you can clearly see taking place, without the added bother of providing constructive color commentary or enlightening insights. Though generally well-intentioned and pleasant, these positive traits don't do much to counterbalance the fact that they can't go two goddamned minutes without mentioning the fact that their feet are cold...

... in the middle of fucking winter.

> Sample pithy observations:

"This pollen is bad for my allergies."
"It's raining outside."
"A car is coming."
"That dog is barking again."
"Beestings hurt."
"Switchblades hurt."
"Punching me square in the babymaker hurts."
"This cumbersome, heavy, ungainly object won't fit in the backseat. It needs to go in the bed of your truck." (A favorite of Mrs. T.C.I.)
"I like candy."
"They need to get a [touchdown/goal/basket/home run/thousand more points] to win."
"Your plant is dead."
"Your house is on fire."
"You're on fire."
"Your blog is awesome."

Okay, that last one is actually perfectly acceptable to sprinkle into everyday conversations with me.

> How to end the conversation: Well, to be fair, the verbal defecation that is the trademark of Captain Obvious doesn't really qualify as a full-blown conversation. It's generally just a stupid, useless, mundane, blatantly evident, singular "observation" that he or she drops every now and again with all the regularity of a duck with diarrhea. Your best bet is to roll your eyes and murmur, "yeah, I know" or "okay" and be done with it. An acidic, sarcastic tongue-lashing will only earn you a "Well, I was just saying..." or "You seem irritated" in response.

2.) The Over-Explainer

> Is usually: A figure of authority; a pretentious, patronizing pseudo-intellectual (the dreaded "triple P"); the first guy against the wall in any revolution

> Thinks you are: A drooling idiot.

> Description: The Over-Explainer clearly knows more than you do and he's taken it upon himself to let you know it in very simple, very precise, and very, very lengthy terms. It is not enough that you are told -- in a slow, even, condescending tone -- what it is that you need to know/say/do/think, this valuable information only The Over-Explainer seems to possess must be drilled into your brain through temple-throbbing repetition and rewording. After all, why just answer a simple question or offer a worthless opinion when you can rattle on about it until the listener gnaws his hand off at the wrist?

Your basic Over-Explainer tends to gravitate, with his or her mouth opening and closing at steady, rapid intervals, anywhere that captive audiences can be found, such as your classrooms, boardrooms, courtrooms, rehearsal halls, baseball/football/soccer fields, boot camps, council meetings, and the Oval Office. Although occasionally appearing in the form of a well-meaning bore, they typically take the shape of narcissistic vocal whores who have little to no respect for the basic intelligence of their intended victim.

> Sample dialogue:

Seeing as how I am in the dramatic field, the Over-Explainer I run into the most is known as the Stage Director (the Actor/Actress generally fits the description of The Narcissist from my 'Babblers Three' article). For those of you lucky, lucky bastards not remotely associated with the theatrical world, directors are generally smaller, far less physically-intimidating versions of God from the Old Testament. Whether you are working with -- excuse me -- for them for monetary or masochistic reasons, they will treat you as a cow's various stomachs treat their filthy, gnat-ridden food. I don't know if these people suffer from Napoleon complexes, or God complexes, or insecurity issues, or were just beaten up a lot as grade schoolers, but one thing is certain: they probably still get beaten up a lot by grade schoolers.


DIRECTOR: I'd like you to move over there when you say that line.

WHAT T.C.I. SAYS: All right. (Obediently moves to spot indicated like the placid automaton he is.)

DIRECTOR: I need you to move there because she needs to see you to cue her entrance.


"WHAT T.C.I. WANTS TO SAY:" Okay, whatever, I'm here. Can we move on?

DIRECTOR: If she doesn't see you at the window, there's really no reason for her to come in, now is there?

WHAT T.C.I. SAYS (flustered into answering a rhetorical question): Uh... no.

"WHAT T.C.I. WANTS TO SAY:" Jesus Christ, whatever! I went were you told me to go! I get it! Let's move on! Christ!

DIRECTOR: You were standing waaaaaay over there at the other side of the room, and that just doesn't make sense because you're not even calling her name, and even if you were to call her name, the poor thing wouldn't hear you being all the way outside!

(T.C.I. nods lamely, eyes glazing over...)

"WHAT T.C.I. WANTS TO SAY:" Shut up! Shutupshutupshutupshutupshutupshutupshutup! Goddamnit, shut up!

DIRECTOR: But now that you're where I put you, she can see you plain as day and it all makes some kind of sense and eeeeeeeeverybody's happy. Wonderful. Perfect. That wasn't so hard now, was it?

(T.C.I. goes into catatonic state, pinches legs repeatedly to quell homicidal urges...)

"WHAT T.C.I. WANTS TO SAY:" That's it. I swear to god that's fucking it. I'm gonna wait outside by the trunk of his car with a fucking tire iron. I am not kidding. I swear to god...

DIRECTOR: All right, then, moving on. (pause) Oh, and [T.C.I.]? How about we try a little less angst and hostility this time and a little more disquietude and animosity instead, hmmm?


You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? Parents, listen to me in this if nothing else (although you should technically heed everything I tell you. There's really no solid reason not to): Never let your children enter the world of theatre. Fuck the low chances of financial stability and high rate of enjoyment of garish 50's musicals, the fact of the matter is that with the sheer volume of Over-Explainers and Narcissists running rampant, unlegislated, it's a marvel that this business isn't drowning in a pool of its own congealed blood.

Which, admittedly, would look kind of cool.

> How to end the conversation: Don't be silly. This isn't a conversation you're having. Not when only one person is talking and your responsibility is limited to monosyllabic grunts and the occasional head bob. Seriously, if anyone knows of an effective way to get one of these pompous assholes to shut the fuck up whenever they start blathering on about how to operate the latest time-saving gadget, or why Brett Favre should be canonized, or how few people realize that nitrogen -- not oxygen -- makes up the majority of Earth's atmosphere, please, please, please let me know. I have tried everything short of driving a Papermate into their ear canals.

Cause that would just end me up in a courtroom, and then we're right back where we started.

3.) T.M.I. Girl

> Is usually: A young adult whose parents didn't get her the ballerina doll she begged for as a child; a shameless drama queen desperate for attention, sympathy, and more attention and sympathy; that "friend" on the outskirts of your social group that you make it a point to avoid at bonfires and office parties

> Thinks you are: Interested in her screwed-up fucking life.

> Description: Yes, I've gone gender-specific on this one for the simple fact it always seems to be those of the finer sex who want to offer me Too Much Information at wholesale prices. And what's trickier is that they possess the chameleonic ability to blend in seamlessly in social situations, behaving for all intents and purposes like a perfectly normal adult member of the human race...

... until they open their goddamned mouths and allow their sordid tales of childhood traumas, sexually deviant escapades, and debilitating medical maladies to come flooding out, frantically seeking to feast on the unsuspecting listener's massive stores of pity and shock. Now, it's one thing to share secret tales of woe in an intimate setting with close friends; it's another thing entirely to dump the fact that you were molested as a preteen by your third stepfather onto the poor guy handing out cups at the beer keg.

T.M.I. Girl feels she has had an especially rough life, even though she drives a pretty nice-sized SUV and shops at Eagle Outfitters. But the things she's been through! The hardships! The pain! The abuse! The lack of attention -- ye gods, the complete lack of attention! She can cry on cue and assume the fetal position at a moment's notice, anything to help illustrate just how uncomfortable the information she has to share will make you. And it's awfully hard not to be a little uncomfortable when a grown woman lies in a bawling ball on the ground and whimpers for someone to "just kill me."

No one thinks to take her up on the offer. Which is a shame, because it would make a hell of a screwed-up story to share at afterlife shindigs.

> Sample dialogue:

T.M.I. GIRL: Hey, what's up?

WHAT T.C.I. SAYS: Hi. Oh, nothing, nothing. Just ... enjoying the party and drinking.


T.M.I. GIRL: Huh. That's cool. (pause) When I was a kid, my dad would get so piss drunk he'd wrap his belt around my neck and swing me in the air. His Doberman would try to bite my legs while I was dangling there, gasping for breath. Then Dad'd take my ma's hot curling iron and try to braid the hairs on my legs. As a joke, you see. The burns were so bad I couldn't walk for a few weeks. They had to take me out of school. I don't even have a G.E.D. Wanna see the scars?




It is sad that bad things happened to you in your past. It is even sadder that I have to hear about it while I'm at a goddamned party. So save it for the fucking therapist and focus on the weather and your local sports team when socializing with others. Old drunken bar stories, those are good, too.

Uh, but not if they ended in trauma.

> How to end the conversation: No matter how tickle-happy Fun Uncle Ted might have been or how much it hurt to have her genital warts burned off, DO NOT offer sounds of sympathy or support for T.M.I. Girl, as this will only encourage her to shoehorn graphic tales of her personal misery into future conversations.

At this point, you really only have two options open to you. One, you can simply mutter a bored "ah" and walk away -- preferably mid-story. This will earn you an extremely useful reputation as a callous cad who doesn't care about other people's problems (and gee, won't you miss humoring all those whiners?). Or two, you can attempt to out-misery the self-serving sad sack. There are few things as satisfying as witnessing a T.M.I. Girl implode after her tragic story of repeated self-mutilation gets trumped by the "fact" that your father had to support a family of nine on his meager income as a quadriplegic mime.

So that's it. This was an uncharacteristically abbreviated outing this week as I'm feeling even lazier than is usual for me. So lazy, in fact, that I won't even finish this sente

In closing, I hope no stage directors read my blog.



Mrs. T.C.I. and I rented Underworld: Evolution the other night and did not find it to be quite the carefree teen romp we were led to believe. However, what this sequel to the fairly successful and equally dreary Underworld: Intelligent Design lacked in humor, logic, interest, suspense, thrills, excitement, pathos, and daylight, it more than made up for in removals of lower jaws without the aid of anesthetic.

Call me crazy, but in a physical matchup between a snarling, rabid, hulking wolf-man the size of a Toyota Tundra and that boring guy from "Felicity," I'd say there was really only one intelligent way to place your bet.

And I would be wrong, apparently...

Scott Speedman, who really needs to start pitching Valium, plays a lycan (nerd-speak for "werewolf") and vampire crossbreed who can't speak above a whisper, is physically incapable of being interesting, and has some unexplained aversion to covering his upper body. Kate Beckinsale plays his love interest, a vampire who is -- get this -- mysterious, tortured, and inscrutable. Critics of Miss Beckinsale will be glad to learn she has not developed any notable acting talent since the horror that was Van Helsing. Fans of Miss Beckinsale's body (like yours truly) will be elated to learn that we get to see Miss Beckinsale's body.

Derek Jacobi is too wonderful an actor to be appearing in this drek. He plays (we learn in a painfully long exposition scene midway through the film -- roughly an hour after this convoluted information would have been of some use to the average viewer) the immortal -- uh, kind of, I guess -- father of twin bad boys: one bitten by a wolf, the other by a bat. Let me get this straight: you've got two boys, and you allow them both to get infected by rejects from a Universal monster movie? Child Protection Services on line one, Mr. Jacobi. Also, the immortal father who's mortal has greater powers than either son, even though he's not a vampire or werewolf or demon or ghost or computer mogul or anything. I don't know what the hell he was supposed to be, but regardless, wouldn't his sons have been unstoppable forces without the added stigma of being the "very first" vampire and werewolf? Why blame their bad attitudes on a measly fucking wolf and bat? Oh, and the unkillable father who gets killed nobly refuses to harm his sons, but spends the entire movie telling anyone who will listen that it's vitally important they kill his sons.

Funniest part: When Scott Speedman's character dies halfway through the film.
Saddest part: When Scott Speedman's character comes back to life at the end of the film.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you once again for helping us survive another day with the pain-in-the-ass people who continuely annoy the hell out of us. I believe some of these morons are afraid that if they stopped talking that there mouth would freeze up or disappear. Wouldn't that be nice.

Sgt Mellors

12:00 PM  
Blogger Dakota said...

I must say that if you're dogged by all three of those types, you should, AT ALL COSTS, avoid the third world; it's a nice little place where you get quite a bit of bang for your bucks, but sadly meet up with all three of those types on a regular basis -- only they'll all be rolled up into one person.

"You need to give me some money. Because I have no legs, you see. They're just stumps. The reason that they're just stumps is because I was hit by a train. That I leapt under to save a Western tourist. Who didn't give me money. So I beat her to death with my left leg, which the train had just conveniently severed from torso. So you see: you should give me money."

10:54 PM  
Blogger The Fourth Earl of Excelor said...

Good work on your latest success.

12:34 PM  

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