I get reminded of this story from time to time, especially after this past weekend, so I thought I would share. When I was in college, which was about 1500 students in a town the same size, we found out the Ku Kluk Klan was coming to town to stage a public demonstration. It was a buzz topic, but no one really knew the details, since the internet was pretty young (I’m not, if you can’t tell by that sentence). Me and a couple pals had to make a beer run and we saw it firsthand.
I hope you’re sitting down. It was three people. It was pathetic. There was someone in a hood, a teenager and a fat guy with the front face part of the hood flipped up. I remember him well, he was close and had a porn stache and glasses, with stubble on his double chin. I didn’t even know those hoods flipped up, quite frankly. They must have some mad skills in sewing. It appeared they were passing out literature or collecting money; it’s hard to say.
Well, I’m very ashamed to admit this, but my buddy and I contributed to their cause. We grabbed handfuls of change and I yelled, “Have some pennies, fat boy!” and chucked a wad of change at him. He turned sideways and threw his hands up as the copper pelted him. My pals yelled obscenities and we kept driving. There was a vigorous discussion about what else we could throw at them, but we were broke college kids and quite frankly, needed that money back to afford to buy anything else to throw at them from the UDF. We drove back by, but they had moved back off the main road. We lobbed some more comments and they never came back to town the rest of the time I was there.
The title is a bold statement, you may think, but I’ll explain. Assholes are easy to spot. They give themselves away. In comedy, they’re the loud drunk hecklers that get tossed. In life, you hear them speak and instantly know you don’t have to care anymore. We all like nice people…until they cross over into obnoxious nice. Then they’re worse.
I was eating with my family and my wife asked that I get her a refill. The line was fairly lengthy and I was finally up next. A balding man walked up to the teenager behind the register. “I was going to order, but I thought I would ask your opinion, since you’re the expert!” Teenager looked confused, as most do. “Um. Our chicken sandwich is very popular.” Now I knew this, since we were at Chik-Fil-A, and 95% of their entree options are chicken sandwiches and I have a semi-functioning brain. Baldy then began inquiring about how pimpleface liked his prepared. He then started asking about how their work flow was executed and how he liked working there. I began to surmise he was Charlie Chik-Fil-A and this was Undercover Boss or he was trying to be friendly and conversational. The latter is all well and good until I’ve been in line for five minutes devising ways to kill with items from the condiment station for wasting my precious time. (Maybe if I hit him over the head with the Mayo tray, it will stun him long him enough to plunge a spork into his neck…)
The coup de grace was as an even younger and more pimpled teen walked past the register to clean up after an angry three year old, he shouted, “Hey! Make sure you’re smiling!” The kid smiled and then rolled a mop bucket to the disaster zone formerly occupied by toddlers. I almost dunked the guy’s head in the bucket on principle. “NO ONE HERE IS YOUR FRIEND, FRIEND! ORDER A STUPID CHICKEN SANDWICH AND MOVE IT BEFORE I DEEP FRY YOUR ASS!” You also may have noticed at this point, I’m an asshole, but at least I keep the line moving. I think I just found my epitaph.
Here’s how life works – if you’re single, people ask when you will date someone. Dating? Marrriage. Married? Kids – except if you are Catholic, they make you go behind the altar after the vows to make sure. Kid? When’s the next one? And the one after? Then you never sleep or work out or go to the movies again (you go, just not the adult movies…not those adult movies, the normal adult – you get it).
I have a girl now and the question I get now that we know number two is on the way: Do you want a girl or boy? Which do you want? I want an X-Man, actually. Mutant ability: Generate Busch Lights from water or telepathy so I can make millions gambling. Rather than answer without thinking, I decided to break it down.
Girl. Pros – Already have girl stuff EVERYWHERE. (Cheaper!) Won’t pee in my face. (No nozzle.) Will likely fight with my wife more than me. (Throw in my daughter now and I may be able to fade into the background completely.)
Cons – Boys trying to date my daughter. (I still have a decade to find places to hide a body). The potential for dance recitals, tea parties, etc. being doubled is truly horrifying. (I may never watch another sporting event until I’m 70.)
Boy. Pros – I’m not outnumbered. (Even the damn pets have different parts than me. I’m on an island.) I can teach someone all my athletic knowledge, like how to be a 201 lb. college football player (smoke and drink, they’re not putting you in much). Teach him man stuff! (Video games, how to look busy without working, farts).
Cons – He might be like me. Let’s stop there, that one is pretty bad.
Of course, it could be a clone of G, who is a girl, but has the caution level of a drunk skydiver like a boy. Either way, I’m sure I’ll be a sleep deprived zombie praying for the two children to entertain each other, which is what I thought the puppy that jumped on my balls at 3 am this week would do. Backfired!
Well today is my daughter’s birthday – the big two. OK, two isn’t very big, but they call it the terrible twos, so you may not want to read my blog a year from today. Since my child was born, I have learned a lot, so I thought I would share.
- Whenever you have something figured out, it changes. My kid will eat something, then BOOM! Hates it. We can’t tear her out of the tub sometimes, then BOOM! You couldn’t put her in the bath if the Avengers were helping you.
- The stages to get to here. 1) FREAKING OUT HOLY CRAP I MADE A HUMAN AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING AND I’M REALLY TIRED. 2) I’m less tired and know a few things now, we can do this…OH HELL MY KID IS TEETHING THIS IS PURE CHAOS AGAIN. 3) Hey look, my kid is crawling…OH GOD SHE’S RUNNING EVERYWHERE AND EVERYTHING IS POTENTIAL BROKEN BONES AND HORROR. 4) She’s rather independent and repeats absolutely everything, so I can’t talk around my kid ever again.
- “I’m not going to be a parent that lets my kid…please stop crying. Please. Please God, OK I’ll give you seven chocolate bars and unlimited TV time.
- When your kids laughs, it’s the best time of your life. When they are sick, you can forget enjoying anything.
She is an enormous blessing to us and the apple of my eye. My daughter is the smartest, most active and athletic toddler I’ve ever seen and cuter than puppies playing with a baby. If you don’t agree, that’s fine, I’ll punch you in the face and tell you how dumb you are. Not in front of my kid, that would set a bad example. Happy birthday, peanut!
I was about an hour from showtime at the show I run at Rehab Tavern when the headliner I booked shot me a message – his car was overheating. After much messaging back and forth, he was unable to make it, so I just adjusted and gave every comic more time and filled the headline spot myself. “Were you angry, Chris?” Nope, because not only was he very apologetic, but more importantly it was a legit reason. It wasn’t like some of the other ones I’ve had happen to me.
I booked a show once and one of the comics on the show was on my bad side, as they didn’t promote the show at all. Then, this person messaged me as the show was starting and said, “Be there in 30.” Not sorry, not hey I messed up, not I had something come up – just “Be there in 30.” So I started the show and this person walked in six minutes before go time. No apology, but good news, they walked in and finally posted “Get to the show.” In other words, if you lived three minutes away and were online right then, you got the show details. Hundreds of people then walked in! (No one did, because no one sees a post and goes to a show that’s half over.)
I was doing a show in Michigan were it turns out the headliner (on a two person show, me being the first comic) was running late. He went to the wrong city. The bar informed me, so I asked if they could delay the show, as this comic was actually over an hour behind. Sure, he said. I also asked if they could make some announcements, anything. Sure, he said. The bar owner then walked up to the stage at 8:02 instead of 8:00 and made the announcement, “Are you ready for the show? Here’s Chris Coen from Columbus.” Thanks for the help! I had to do an hour and 15 minutes when I was paid for 25-35. I ran out of material and just started Mother Goosing until the headliner walked in – I saw the walk-in and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, your headliner!” That was a long night. That’s the comedy equivalent of “Hey, I wanted to see if you could stay after work a bit and help out.” “Hmm, I guess, sure.” “Cool, I just need you to rearrange the warehouse and then you can leave.” “No problem!”
Hey everyone, be sure to check out tonight’s show at the Backstage Bistro at Shadowbox Live in Columbus. Unless you live in Alaska or something, it’s probably too late to make it. Tickets can be found here http://www.shadowboxlive.org/shows/the-quiz-box
It’s a show where I’m on a panel with other comics and local luminaries trying to be crowned the champion, while the crowd wins prizes based upon what comic they happen to be paired up with. I’m rather competitive at trivia, so I hope it goes well for my competitors, as in, you better lose or I’ll lose it because you’re cheating no one can beat me at trivia you…(takes deep breath). I mean good luck! It’s a really fun show and funny answers are more common than correct answers (it is a comedy show and most comedians don’t know anything other than how to complain about things in a funny way – myself included).
To provide some context of how I do in trivia based competition, I was undefeated in college at Jeopardy on the N64. I never lost one time. Well, I went off and away for the weekend and my pal Honk memorized every question and Camp could push the buttons faster than me, so when I got back, they absolutely smoked me. I knew something was amiss when my up to that point friend Honk answered five Bible questions correctly (his nickname was the Devil).
I may have broken a piece of furniture or two and possible the game itself went flying down the hall. Luckily, I’m way more relaxed now! Stop looking at me everyone, it makes me anxious. I’ll be ready to roll and hope against all hope the show is all based on Elder Scrolls lore and drinking game categories.