From Yesterday's McSweeney's
Please, Can We Not
To the Party?
BY MICHAEL IAN BLACK
- - - -
Please can we not go to the party? The reason I ask is because I am not feeling very well. There's something wrong with my head. Or my stomach. Or my arm. It's kind of an all over body ache, the sort of thing that probably would not show up on any sort of medical exam, but which I am confident is quite contagious. To be safe, I think we should probably just stay home.
I know you are excited to go to the party. You enjoy getting dressed up and drinking good wine and making conversation with all of our friends, many of whom we have not seen for a long time. They are great people one and all. They are without exception terrific, and I am proud to consider them my friends. At the same time, I do not need to see any of them ever again.
I find that a lot of socializing is simply a way of communicating that we like each other. When we stand around the party sloshing our wine around and catching up with each other, essentially we are just saying "I like you" over and over again. All social conversation can be reduced in this way. You say, "I like you." I respond, "I like you, too." Then, after that person is out of earshot, we talk to other people about how much we dislike the first person.
Think about how good staying home will be for the environment.
Another problem with going to the party tonight is that you and I both know the only thing to eat will be olives. At every party we attend the hostess sets out a small dish of puckered olives. I don't want any more olives. I know I don't have to eat them, but they give me something to do with my hands while I am standing around saying "I like you" over and over again. But then I do not know where to put the olive pits. Sometimes the hostess puts out little bowls for the pits, but usually the bowls are nowhere near where I am standing and I feel stupid excusing myself to dispose of my olive pits so instead I just end up putting them into my pocket. A couple olive pits in my pocket is fine but soon they grow into a mound, with the result being that my thighs end up looking bumpy. No matter how much time and effort I put into my appearance, all of that work goes right out the window with the addition of bumpy thighs.
Maybe there will be some hummus there too, but hummus has always struck me as more of an experiment in texture than an actual food. I might end up going hungry, which will no doubt make my sickly condition worse. I know you do not think I am actually sick, even though I have been issuing subtle coughing noises for the last several hours in the hopes that you will ask me if I am feeling well enough to go to the party, a question to which I can respond, "I hope so," which I am hoping will lead to you saying, "If you're feeling sick, we shouldn't go," followed by me saying, "Maybe you're right. Darn it, I was really looking forward to that party," and then you saying, "Let's just stay home," and me reluctantly going, "So be it, woman. So be it." But no matter how subtly I cough, you do not say any of those things, leading me to believe you do not actually think I am sick at all.
Please, can we not go to the party?
If we stay I promise to clean the bathroom. And fix that thing I told you I would fix three years ago. And maybe I will even get off the computer, although I am not making any promises about that.
Let us stay home and sit by the fire and I will rub your back and play Spanish lullabies on the guitar. I will make the oatmeal raisin cookies that you like and feed them to you while rubbing your feet. The combination of feet and cookies may not sound so appealing right now, but when accompanied by Spanish lullabies it is wonderful. And if we stay home tonight, I promise the next time there is a party I will go without complaint. I will be the perfect date, charming and vivacious and fun. Unless I am not feeling well, in which case I may stay home.