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The absolute worst situations we can find ourselves in (aside from those occasions when wild animals try to feast upon our faces or a morning of burning urination lets us know it's time to head back to the clinic) are the times when our own actions make us feel like complete assheads. But the sad fact is that sometimes you get yourself in a position where all you can do is back away slowly while shame and awfulness are showered upon you because you know that if you keep going forward it will be even worse. In some circles they call this being caught between a rock and a hard place. In smaller circles it's called Curly's Lament, but I don't have time to get into that. Either way, you end up feeling like a dick. Onward, good reader!
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I'd never experienced how awful this is until just recently, and I'm still coming to terms with my creepy feelings on the matter. For anonymity's sake, we'll say a fellow by the name of A. Tod Brown apparently wants to be my friend. Now, right here I need to stop and invite you all to shake your head with me. When's the last time you, as an adult, legitimately wanted to make a new friend? Not when did you make a friend, because that shit happens organically, and that's exactly how it's supposed to happen. You work with this dude who also thinks it's hilarious when the secretary forgets her meds and wears her bra outside her clothes and you bond over that and end up going out for beers some evening after work. Friendship! You do not schedule play dates.
Despite how obvious it is that a man should never ask another man on a date when neither man is gay, I guess this sort of thing happens. And the very unnaturalness of it made me not want to partake at all. That dude could have been taking me out for steaks and beers and rides in limos full of boobs and more steaks and beers and it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because I was approached in the most blunt-force-trauma-to-the-face manner possible. I was literally asked if I wanted to go out some time. I am not Molly Ringwald. You do not ask such things of me. Of anyone. It's not done.
"If we stand just right, we can use the same urinal."
The sad part of this is that, as I said, this didn't seem sexual in any way. I don't think I was part of a secret bum-sex plot. I think I was legitimately invited out to have a beer in a friendly way, and that's why it's so dickish to write a terrified article like this after the fact. It was uncomfortable and weird, and weaseling out of it made me feel bad. Barring major pathological issues or some kind of real (which is to say not self-diagnosed) Asperger's situation, most people feel bad when they let someone else down, especially if that letdown is based entirely on your own laziness and the fact that you just can't be arsed to give a damn.
I can't say if this situation is any easier for ladyfolk -- women seem to be able to socialize easier than men. They go to the bathroom together, for God's sake. I don't want to shit as part of a team, but that's just me. However, I feel it should be a universal standard that, if you desire a friendship, you let it happen on its own, rather than ask for it. That's like asking a woman you just met for sex. It seems like a good idea if you're new to reality, but in practice, your failure rate is just going to be off the charts.
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I had the fortune to be born into the black sheep part of my family, so while all my relatives were living in big fatty houses and going on yearly vacations to exotic places and driving fancy cars, my family lived in what people in Third World countries would consider a sort of roomy stink shed. We went on vacations to places like "in town" and "just outside of town," and I had my fair share of knockoff Spam sandwiches for lunch at school. Because real Spam was for people who tried too hard.
Anyway, despite our abject poverty, we were at least "real" people, in the sense that we lived in this world, while my aunts and uncles had lawn jockeys and pronounced words like "taco" as "take-o" because if there was a novel way for them to be obnoxious and out of touch, they were all over it like stink on a monkey, which they likely referred to as a grippy-fingered jungle squirrel.
Every so often, because charitable causes are trendy, the extended family would stop by with boxes or bags of used-up high society trash and/or shit Grandpa had in the basement. And the wind would pick up as they knocked on the door, as though the world were sighing, "Oh, for fuck's sake."
They'd bring things like moth-balled sweaters that were two sizes too big or too small, pink toilet paper rolls, expired couscous, and 10-watt light bulbs for specialty lamps. I can't actually think of a time when they brought over something useful, in any way, to anyone.
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Thinking of you!
Any time in your life when someone goes out of their way to give you something, part of you feels a degree of appreciation and gratitude. They didn't have to do it, it's a gesture (arguably) from the heart, and it's meant as a kindness. So when the free thing they offer you is a staggering piece of shit on a shingle, it creates a moral quandary. Do you take it to be nice? Or do you say no? I opted one day to say no.
Politely turning down someone's charity, especially when it's someone you just know feels they're really helping you out and inconveniencing themselves by offering it, is a lot like one of those naked dreams they talk about in movies, only imagine in this dream you're naked and you realize that your entire naked body is just some kind of hot power-tool-accident mess of a thing compared to everyone else's, so the entire room is just staring at you in slack-jawed amazement that you're saddled with such a lumpy, deformed Rocky Dennis gong show of a body all day, every day. It's that level of awkward humiliation when you opt to turn down a handout. On the upside, at least with my family, it ensures that they never try it again, although they will remind you of how much of an ingrate you are for the rest of your life, so that's something.