Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Drive-by Joker

Ever been having a lousy day, then, as if it they were sent by some higher being, have a stranger come along and make it all better?

A few days ago, I had a death in my family. It's been awhile since I've had to deal with such a thing, and the hours leading up to the inevitable news had me reeling at work. I was snapping at anyone who stiffed me (and by "anyone", I mean "everyone." Everyone stiffed me.) On top of getting zero reward for my manual labor, every taxi driver in the city wanted a piece of me, so I found myself getting into more altercations in the first two hours of my shift than I'd had in the last few months combined. 

It happened on that extremely busy Manhattan avenue. My "office", where I face oncoming traffic, screaming "cunt" and "cocksucker" at every shitbag cabbie who didn't want to take the guest who wasn't going to tip me anyway. All I wanted to do was go home, see my family, and wait out the death of my grandpa. 

I don't hide my emotions well. When I get pissed off, I get pissed off. When I don't like someone, I don't like someone. When I'm happy, I'm fucking happy. It's all right there, etched on the surface of my face like a neon marquis. People may think it's a bad quality in a person, particularly someone who works in my industry. I happen to think the opposite. It's a fantastic quality. Why? Because you always know where you stand with me. But who the fuck am I, right? 

I digress. Where was I? 

Right... I was pissed off. In the street. Facing oncoming traffic. There were cunts being cunts all around me. 

A brand-spanking-new, silver Mercedes pulled up next to me. I didn't pay attention to it. I wanted nothing to do with whatever catastrophe this shiny piece of German machinery had in store for me. The window rolled down. 

My eyes panned down to the left, ever-so-slightly. Staring back at me was an older gentleman, the type of man that's been a negative motif in my career as a doorman: A guido.  

Not today, I thought. The last thing I need is a fucking tough guy. 

I waited for him to swing his dick around, or to rudely ask me for directions and drive off without saying thank you, or start trouble. What kind of trouble? I have no idea. But it was the kind of day where the simplest thing can turn ugly for me. It's happened time and time again.

He slid his glasses down the bridge of his nose, then smirked a devilish, troublesome grin, like a teenager about to make a prank call during a sleepover. 

Guido - "What did the blind man say when he walked past the fish market?" 

Huh? 

I didn't say anything. In fact, I flinched, because the image of him taking out a giant fish from the passenger seat and slapping me in the face with it flashed through my brain.

I stared at him, waiting to see how I wouldn't benefit from this. 

His face gleamed with joy and pride as he delivered his punchline:

Guido - "Helloooooo ladies!!!" 

And then he peeled out. No hesitation, no waiting to see what my reaction would be, no massive trout slapping me across the cheek. He simply told his joke, then got the fuck out before I could ask one simple question: 

WHY?!?!

Think about this for one second. This guy was driving around Manhattan, pulling up next to strangers and telling a crude joke, then booking it before he could see their reactions.

Who the fuck does that?!?!

I hate to use this exaggeration because it's a huge peeve of mine, but that was the hardest I've ever laughed at this job. And I've seen some funny shit (like a homeless man screaming "my dick will eat you" at tourists, to name one). 

It wasn't the joke, which I probably heard for the first time in grammar school. It was just the randomness of it that sent me into a seemingly eternal cackle-fit. Did he see that I was upset, and wanted to make my day a little better? Or was he just driving around and telling jokes to random doormen? Did he read it online at work, but couldn't tell it for the whole day because he works in an office where he's the only man in a pack of hardcore feminists?!? Why did he pick that particular joke? How many times has he done the before? What was he getting out of this?!? 

I had so many questions!!! 

If I believed in this sort of thing, in a world where I was a spiritual man, I'd like to think that it were a gift from my departed loved one. I'd like to think that he were sending me a chuckle, when I really, really needed it, as he floated up to heaven. One last pat on the shoulder before they opened up the gates for him, and he hit the open bar.

Unfortunately, after thirty years of life, I don't believe in this sort of thing. Though I must admit, it's sometimes fun to think about. 

Whatever the case may be, it put a smile on my face. And that's all I could ask for during a time like this. 

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