I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me, page 6
I hate having to look the blind in the eye. It makes me very self-conscious and I don’t do self-conscious well. I remember the good old days when blind people wore sunglasses and gently rocked back and forth when speaking, like they were davening in temple. That all changed when José Felícíano got too big for his britches. In the late sixties José had a nice little career going: He had a couple of hit songs, wore a macramé plant holder on his head and was a regular on The Ed Sullivan Show. (FYI, on Sullivan, José was always preset, like the Austrian plate spinners or Topo Gigio, so he wouldn’t wander the stage for a half hour, feeling for his mark with his shoe.) Anyway, somewhere between “Light My Fire” and “Feliz Navidad” José got the bright idea that his fans wanted to see his eyes when he sang. Wrong. We didn’t. If I’m interested in seeing two balls bouncing around someone’s face I’ll sneak into George Michael’s bedroom.
And to finish off the subject of blind people: They have no social manners. When was the last time a blind person paid you a compliment, like, “Hey, you’ve lost weight!” or “Wow, fuckface, you sure have gotten old.”
I hate people who cross the street against the light. I think drivers should be allowed to run them over. The notion that they’re so important that everyone else on the road has to stop short, thus throwing the kids through the windshield, is ridiculous. Okay, maybe the “kids through the windshield” thing isn’t so bad, but still, why should we have to ruin our brake pads because some asshole can’t tell “stop” from “go?”
Even the aforementioned blind have no excuse to cross against the light. These days the goddamned walk/don’t walk signs beep, whiz, bang and speak. Even Stephen Hawking, blindfolded, would get the message not to wheel into oncoming traffic.
I hate people who can’t walk two blocks without drinking water. How thirsty could you be? Did you have a block of salt for lunch? If camels can go months without stopping for a bottle of Poland Spring, surely you can get to Fifty-eighth Street. Anne Frank went almost two years before she needed a little quenching. Helen Keller may have yelled, “Water,” but she didn’t stick her head under the pump and start slurping. Parched as she was, she went right up to her agent and made a book and movie deal first.
I hate people who offer me a drink of water from their bottle after wiping it off with the hem of their sweaty T-shirt and then, when I refuse, they won’t take “no” for an answer.
“You look like a prune, have a sip.”
“No thank you, I’m fine.”
“No really, have some, it’s good for you.”
“No, no… I’m hydrogen intolerant.”
So what I do now is take a drink and give the bottle back to them. And once they’ve sipped from it again I say, “Did I tell you that right before I met you here today I blew a homeless guy.” They’ll never bother you about water again.
I hate people who don’t know how to handle a fart in the elevator. If you’re the owner of the offending tush and you’ve let loose something more noxious than Zyklon B and you can’t ignore the watering eyes of fellow passengers, then at least have the manners to quietly acknowledge the horror. And while there may be nothing you can say to make restitution for their collapsed lungs, you can certainly try to look apologetic and make an excuse. A surefire one for me is, “I had no idea Michelle Obama’s recipe for fried chicken gives you gas. I was just trying to be a good Democrat.” The goal here is not to deny ownership of the mushroom cloud but to elicit sympathy from the offended parties, which serves two purposes: (1) They will forgive the flatulence, and (2) It gives you license to fart again and again and again.
I hate people who are too polite. For example, when you’re on line for popcorn at the movie theater and the guy behind the counter says, “Next guest.” I’m not a guest, you pimple-faced high-school dropout. I’m a customer. You have Jujubes and I’m going to buy them. That’s the extent of our relationship. Get it? Guests are people who come to my house for dinner. I don’t charge them for the brisket or the soup because they’re guests. So if you’re going to say that I’m a guest then treat me as a guest. Allow me to help myself to the Junior Mints, the nonpareils, some Milk Duds, Chuckles and six bags of Gummi Bears. And if you even think of asking me for a penny I’ll clog up your toilets and slash your tires. And worst of all I’ll make you sit through a Dane Cook film festival.
I hate people who always find something nice to say about others. My husband, Edgar, was one of those people. I hate that kind of largesse. One day I asked him, “Hey, four-eyes, what about John Wayne Gacy? He killed thirty-three boys and buried them under his house. What nice thing can you say about him?” And Edgar said, “Well, he wasn’t lazy. And he was a homeowner!”
I hate people who talk to me from the next stall in public restrooms, especially when—to be blunt—they’re moving their bowels! I’m not an English professor, but I am pretty sure grunting isn’t part of sentence structure. If you’re going to chat me up stall to stall, then the only words coming out of your mouth better be, “Oh my God, I think I lost the fetus!” or “Is this your five-carat diamond ring that just rolled over here?”
I hate hosts who hide the extra roll of toilet paper in their guest bathrooms. When I have guests, I don’t hide the toilet paper. I want them to know where it is. Or at least know where I can find a good dry cleaner for the drapes they used instead.
Why do hostesses always hide the extra roll of toilet paper in some kind of a knitted cozy thing that looks like an upside down cap? Is this just a passive-aggressive way of saying, “Go shit in your hat?”
If you’re a guest at a dinner party and want to leave the powder room smelling daisy fresh, always carry matches or a little spray with you, just in case. If you’re a vegan, please carry an industrial pesticide, like DDT. Otherwise you’ll have to hide in the bathroom for twenty minutes to let the place aerate. Pretend you’re the quality-control manager at a sulfur mine.
I hate guests who don’t tell you they have special dietary needs. If you’re kosher or halal or vegetarian or lactose intolerant or just tend to vomit up most cooked foods, don’t be angry with me because I won’t cook something special for you. (All that defrosting wears me out.) What I will do is have one of my many illegal staff members do it. I find people are willing to do all kinds of things with the threat of deportation hanging over their heads.
I threw a fabulous dinner party once for a well-known actor who shall remain nameless: Matthew Modine. He arrived and said, “My wife’s a vegan. She doesn’t eat anything with eyes.” I said, “You must have a shitty sex life.”
I hate guests who kiss me when I’m hosting a party. When you come in, say “hello,” give me an air kiss and go mingle. I have no idea where your mouth has been. I don’t want you to give me a big kiss and then for the rest of the evening I have this lingering taste of Fleet Week in my mouth.
I hate guests who can’t make conversation. If you accept an invitation to a party you have an obligation to be ready to converse. My good friend, well, friend… well, acquaintance… okay, Barbara Walters says you should always have four good stories to tell at a cocktail party. I say three will do, but only if all three of them involve major celebrities who have had explosive colitis in public places.
I hate people who don’t turn off their cell phones at parties because there’s always some ass who will call you. In my case it’s the pope. The man doesn’t leave me alone. How many times do I have to hear the excuse, “Joan, we all had to join the Hitler Youth, it wasn’t a choice; if it was up to me I would have joined B’nai B’rith.”
I hate people who are early to parties. I think of them as premature conversators. (And yes, I know “conversators” is not a word; I’m just pandering to an urban demographic.) If I invite you to dinner at seven and you arrive wildly early, let’s say six fifty-nine, I may still be getting dressed, doing my hair or having a face-lift. So before accepting an invite, learn to tell time.
I hate people who don’t know when to leave the party. I
I hate people who think their medical condition is table talk. Do not show up at an event with any postoperative wounds that require changing. If you reek of salve, stay home.
I hate people who don’t listen or pay attention. When an invitation says, “No gifts, please,” that means, “No gifts, please.” If you’re not a member of the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Stasi or the Penn State football team, chances are no one is speaking to you in some secret code that can only be cracked by an enigma machine. I’m specific when I send out an invitation, so if you bring me a gift when I asked you not to, I’m now in the position of having to scrounge around to find you a gift. And that’s a horrible position to be in—almost as bad as double penetration. What am I going to find to give you, an old bra? “That belonged to Marilyn Monroe! Look! One of Joe DiMaggio’s pubic hairs is still caught in the underwire!”
I hate people who bring lousy gifts to a party. A gift is supposed to be a nice gesture, not a showstopper. Candles, coffee-table books and French chocolates are lovely ideas—and I can re-gift them before you even sit down. Here are some things not to give a hostess:
A litter of piglets
An ugly orphan (It’s hard enough to love even the pretty ones; don’t bring me Mr. Uggo.)
Memory albums (You say, “Let’s look at this together!” I say, “Let’s pretend we have Alzheimer’s and not waste the time.”)
Crabs or any other communicable disease
Cheap wine (Unless the hostess is a moron, in which case it’s okay. “Vintage, four o’clock? Why, that was a very good time.”)
A vibrator (Very tough to re-gift—even if you wash it.)
Never buy gifts on sale. The late Dinah Shore used to do this and it ruined her reputation. She spent years building up her street cred by schtupping Burt Reynolds but threw it all away buying cheap schlock and trying to pass it off as high-end. Dinah would buy some crappy piece of dreck then put it in a Saks bag and give it as a gift. She did it to me once and I said, “Dinah, Saks doesn’t sell toaster ovens!” I don’t mean to trash Dinah Shore, but she’s dead; she can’t sue me, so fuck her.
I never bring a gift to party. I sneak into the hostess’s bedroom and add my name to cards.
The worst gifts of all time were bought by the three wise men: frankincense, gold and myrrh. Frankincense is just a candle and not even the good kind like they sell on QVC. Gold is okay but make sure it’s real gold. If I bite it and its chocolate I’m not going to be happy. And myrrh is an anal lubricant. Which makes perfect sense… three men, all alone in the desert.
I hate people who go to the movies and act like they’re watching Netflix in their den. (And FYI, I say “den” and not family room because the only room the entire family should ever be in together is the lobby in Gutterman’s chapel after an unexpected yet thrilling death of a rich, semi-loved one.) Here are some basic movie theater rules:
1. Shut the fuck up. I didn’t pay eight bucks to listen to you. If I want to hear what you have to say I’ll swing by your house for some coffee and babka. I’m in show business so I’m pretty sure that nowhere in the script did the writer or director say, “…and then Barry, in the ninth row, chimes in…”
a. If the movie has to be explained to you as it’s going along, then you’re too stupid to be in a theater with other people. This is especially true if you’re watching the Zapruder film.
b. Don’t keep saying, “What did he say? What did he say?” You may be deaf but I’m not. And don’t sit there and fiddle with your Miracle-Ear, either. Not only is the fidgeting annoying, but the damned thing buzzes and vibrates. If I’m in a dark theater and something is buzzing it better be between my legs, not in your ears.
2. Don’t crinkle cellophane. There are only a few sounds more annoying than candy bars being sloooowwwwly unwrapped—a baby crying, a dog yelping, Yoko Ono singing—so unwrap your Chuckles the way you’d pull gauze off a third-degree burn—bite down on a sock and yank quickly.
3. Don’t text message! If I’m in a dark room and I see a white light, I think it’s the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m dying. And kicking the shit out of you is on my bucket list. So don’t be stupid; turn off your smart-phone.
4. If you’re late to a movie, don’t stand in the aisle hovering over me looking for a prime location. Just put your fat ass in the first seat you find. Unless that seat is next to me, in which case I suggest you go fuck yourself and sit behind the screen.
5. Unless you’re at a private screening in the director’s house, don’t clap at the end of the movie. The actors can’t hear you; they’re not in the theater—they’re in rehab.
6. When the movie’s over don’t stand up and linger and block the screen so I can’t see the credits. You may not care who the key grip on the Zimbabwe shoot was, but I do. A lot of those sons of bitches owe me money.
I hate road rage. Road rage is all the rage, but it need not be that way. If people had basic car manners the world would be a much safer place; not nearly as interesting—be honest, you don’t get just a little moist thinking about a six-car pileup?—but safer.
I hate people who honk their horns incessantly for no apparent reason. Traffic, slowpokes and the old lady looking through the steering wheel with her blinker on for two hundred miles create frustration, for sure. But none of them are reasons to hit the horn; they are reasons to hit the bottle. No, no, no, I’m not encouraging drinking and driving (I don’t want to get those crazy lezzies in MADD angry at me), but honestly, if you’ve got a buzz on, the sound of the horn will give you a headache so you’ll be less inclined to beep.
I hate people who have sex in the backseat while I’m driving. It’s not only rude; it’s exclusionary. Also, if you’re going to give a blow job in a car—swallow! You don’t want to ruin the fine Corinthian leather.*
I hate people who decorate their cars. I don’t want a bobblehead dog or a forlorn, bloody Jesus staring at me. Even worse, I don’t want to see pictures of your kids. Why do you have to have photos of Jimmy and Kenny taped to your dashboard? You saw them at breakfast a half hour ago; how much could you miss them? Even Jerry Sandusky doesn’t do that, and he really likes kids.
I love games you can play on road trips. Here’s a good road game: If you’re driving in front of a motorcycle, slow down and throw coffee out your window directly into the motorcyclist’s face. His skid marks will go for miles. This is even more fun on a side street when you’re driving in front of a bicycle. You can take out the bike, the kid, a hydrant, a tree and, if you’re lucky, a cat.
Want some fun for the whole family? Push the dog out the window and speed off and then place bets on how long Fido will chase the car before he collapses. Sounds cruel on paper, but trust me, this is a great, fun way to reunite a dysfunctional family.
And by the way, I hate people who have a giant dog and let him hang his head out the window. They think of it as fun for their bullmastiff. I think of it as nothing more than a bull’s-eye.
I hate people who don’t understand funeral etiquette. A display of bad manners can really screw up a fun shiva or a merry wake.
For example, you should never ask the widow about the cause of death; you should know that before you show up at her door. However, if you hate the widow, then by all means bring it up. “Is it true they found Norman just like David Carradine, hanging naked from a shower rod, wearing a horse collar and butt plug?”
If the widow offers up the cause of death, then it’s perfectly acceptable to dive right into the conversation headfirst. “Jerry died of natural causes.” “How do you define ‘natural’? Were any livestock involved? Jerry was a cutter, no?”
I hate p
I hate when people use euphemisms, such as “My Ralphie passed this morning.” No, he didn’t. He’s dead. He’s not passing anything. He can’t move, that’s the whole point, you idiot. He’s lying there like a big lump.
I hate boring funerals. Funerals are so boring. I like to play games to liven things up, games like Who’s Next? I like to make it every tenth person; trust me, it’ll get you giggling and the hours will fly. Pull My Finger is another terrific picker-upper. Go right up to the widow and say it. Guaranteed to make you feel good, especially if her Herman died of gastritis.
Always make a joke when looking in the casket, and say it loud enough to be heard over the sobbing. Some good things to say are: “What’s that green shit stuck in his teeth?” or “Guess who’s got a boner?” And my favorite is, “Oops, that’s not Liza Minnelli. Wrong funeral, sorry!”
I hate people who smirk or make comments during the eulogy. Rolling your eyes should be more than enough.
I hate people who don’t know how long to stay at a condolence call. Five minutes is too short. That says either you didn’t really care about the deceased or the family or you have something more important to do. (This is especially rude if you’re carrying a bowling ball or fishing tackle.) Rule number one: The amount of time you spend paying respects is directly proportionate to the amount of money you’ve been left in the will. If it’s more than six figures, bring a cot to the chapel and move the fuck in.
Seating at a funeral is important. The front rows are usually reserved for family and lifelong friends. However, if you’re like me and you dressed up, took a cab and canceled a pedicure, then you want to be seen. Look, I know little Susie is missing Daddy, but I’m in Valentino, so let’s get our priorities straight. She’ll miss him forever but this dress will be out of style by September.… I’m sitting up front. And FYI, a quick fashion note: Just because wearing black is no longer a requirement at funerals, you should still try to look decent. You should never, ever wear flip-flops, capri pants or a T-shirt that reads: LET GO OF MY EARS, I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.