Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Less Miserable"

     I think it started way back in the 1990's (it just occurred to me that if one wants to start feeling their age you need only to start a story with "way back in the 1990's)  I was single and living the high life in a crash pad basement apartment.  I was the stereotype single guy and playing the part well.  I was late nights and ballgames, chicken wings and hangovers,  concerts and closing times.  As I'm fond of saying, a proud neanderthal.  Quite convinced I was living the life, I knew those poor bastards I used to hang with - the ones who had decided to tie the knot and pick out china patterns - were quite jealous of  me and my "pool room life."  (to quote Mellencamp.)   But then, everywhere I found myself, someone wanted to know if I'd seen "Les Miserables" yet (of course they said  "Lay Mizzz" )   "Hell no!  That's something a woman would drag you to see and I'm way too cool and happy to have some female dragging me off to some musical!"  "You go to the Fox and see LAY MIZZZZZZZZZZ....I'm going to Manuel's and watch the Final Four and act like  a man, by God!!!"   I have no idea why  this musical that the civilized world seemed to be enjoying so much became the antithesis of, well, ME.  

     If you held a gun to my head, I could not (to this day) tell you the subject matter of Les Miserables.  I'm sure it's an amazing story that translates into a fine production on stage.  And I'm sure it's now quite something to see on the big screen.  Now a bit more open-minded than I was wayyyyyyyy back in the '90's, I'd probably enjoy it to some degree, though I'm still not a fan of musical, theatrical type proceedings (I'm still hanging on to some degree of 'neanderthalness.")  At issue is not the subject matter - it's just that it's yet ANOTHER opportunity for folks to take some innocuous something and turn it into a measuring stick -  measuring both their degree of high society and my degree of uncultured, uncouth and uncivilized commonness!   They're a Parisian bistro and I'm a waffle house!  They're a 12 year old scotch and I'm a Budweiser!  They're ballet and I'm a night at the fights!  

     Maybe it's a rationalization.  Maybe it stirs up some degree of insecurity in me, that I'm the lower rung of some evolutionary ladder because I'm just not finding enjoyment in things so breathtaking for others.  But, as I say, that's fed by those who -with dropped jaws and wide eyes - tell me "oh you MUST see it!"   Or you "MUST eat there and try the risotto!"  or you "MUST read it!  There aren't that many big words in it, you should be ok!"    I'm Rodney Dangerfield having dinner at Bushwood, and I'm ok with that!!  

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