I can tell what you’re thinking about me. You’re thinking, “Oh, that guy is one of those guys.” But if you take one thing away from tonight, let it be this: I am not one of those guys.
Okay, judging by the looks on your faces, I’ve lost you. But don’t pretend you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about.
Let me give an example. Ted, a little while ago I told you I have two pet gerbils. You must’ve thought that I’m one of those (sigh) “gerbil-owner guys.” But I’m not. I mean, I feed my gerbils, care for them, and love them deeply. But I’m not all “Gerbil this, gerbil that” when you talk to me. Am I always on the lookout for a place to bring up gerbils in casual conservation? Well, sure. Do I have a special “gerbil-problems only” cellphone? Guilty as charged. But I’m not one of those guys. Understand, everyone? Of course you do. You live in the world.
Here’s another one. If you visited my house, you’d see that I like modern art. It’s everywhere. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that I’m one of those “modern art guys.” Sure, I’ll debate you about the meaning of a piece, citing art scholarship or mentioning enlightening details from the artist’s life until I have clearly bested you. But don’t think for a second that I’m one of those guys who’s super into modern art. Because I’ve definitely seen some modern art and thought, “This sucks.” And I’ve definitely seen some classical art and been like, “This is actually pretty cool.” Would you ever catch one of those modern art guys doing that? Methinks not.
In anticipation of tonight’s likely conversation subjects, here are a few other types of guys that I am not one of: those guys who walk around with lizards on their shoulders, those guys who longboard to and from work, or those guys who keep their boat on a trailer in their driveway all winter. Do I do all of these things? Yes. On a regular basis. But by no means should you think of me as one of those guys who does those things. Believe me, there’s a difference. But you know this.
Look. I have a daughter. But I’m not one of those guys who “has a daughter.” You know those guys. They suck, right? They’re always talking about their daughter, or taking their daughter to lunch, or (sigh) putting away money for their daughter’s college fund. This behavior could not be less like me. I mean, I do that stuff, but it’s not my whole persona. Like, sometimes I show up super late to pick my daughter up from soccer, just to prove to myself that I’m not one of those daughter guys.
Here’s the best example I can give: I’m a recovering alcoholic. But I’m not one of those recovering alcoholics who says stuff like, “I’ve been sober for three years” or “I don’t touch the stuff.” Ugh, don’t those guys drive you crazy? Not me though. I’ll have a drink quite often, actually. It is definitely not okay, but what am I gonna do? Be Mr. Sober Guy all the time?
To be honest, I don’t like to think of myself as belonging to any kind of group of “guys.” You could say that I’m never “one of those guys.” Unless “those guys” refers to the kind of guys who aren’t “one of those guys.” But in that case, I’m not one of those either, because that’d make me one of some kind of guy. I’m my own kind of guy. I’m one of those not-even-one-of-those-guys-who-isn’t-one-of-those-guys guys. The only one. I am so uniquely my own kind of guy, that sometimes it gets lonely out here on Unique Guy Island.
Very, very lonely.
Photo courtesy of Mr. T in DC