They reside among us folks, preying on unsuspecting victims. The Me-monster thrives on one-up-man-ship. You got bit by a dog. They wrestled with a grizzly bear. You rode your bicycle to work. They unicycled over the Himalayas with a bad case of hemorrhoids. Oh yea, we can't wait to hear all about that.
I was trapped and I knew it. He opened by inquiring why I was using a walker. “Do you have a knee problem?" Why, hello to you too! No, I just use it to pick up chicks! He wasn't fazed at all when I said it was because of a brain tumor. His urge to boast got the best of him. He was a professional motorcycle racer. Without missing a beat, he proceeded to point out the countless broken bones and ailments he had. Five in this leg, ten in that leg, twenty here, thirty there and on and on and on. There was no time to come up for air. It was an impressive display, even for a me-monster. I could have been exploding from my insides out right there in front of him and it wouldn't have mattered. Clean up on aisle 5,6,7 & 8. He had an audience and he wasn’t to be denied.
He used a walker for a few weeks once. "It'll get better" he assured me. Whew, what a relief, I feel SO much better now. I really appreciated his “professional” diagnosis. How he came to that conclusion is alarming since he really didn't take the time to find out anything about me, but then again he is a professional. He's done this before. The whole conversation was about him. More of an impromptu interview if you will. In my head I was cuing the music in hopes that someone would take his mic and he would be ushered off the stage. He was like cousin Eddie's dog. "Once he gets going, its best just to let him finish Clark."
Normally, you’re a good listener, but when hijacked by a me-monster you find yourself distracted with planning an exit strategy. Fortunately, there won’t be any questions from them to break your concentration. Just throw in the occasional nod or chuckle. Meanwhile, you survey the terrain, looking for all possible evacuation routes. Once they finally surface, or run themselves aground, you have to be prepared to immediately spring into action. Time is a factor. Look for any slight hesitation on their part. Excuses become paramount at this point. It is vital to not underestimate the sucking power of the me-monster. Once they latch on, they don’t easily let go. It may be necessary to rely on a partner or teammate to properly pull off an extraction procedure.
Fortunately, my wife was keenly aware of the exit strategy and we were able to pry away from Evil Knievel. It may not always be that easy though. If the Me-monster shows up on your doorstep you have a whole new set of challenges. They can disguise themselves quite cleverly. Do not be deceived! Once your perimeter has been compromised, it's nearly impossible to defend. They will use whatever tactics they can to achieve their agenda. I know, we've recently suffered such a breach.
In contrast to the me-monster is the talking tree stump or mumbling mannequin. This character flames out faster than a soggy match in a rainstorm. They both present unique challenges. As much as the me-monster can overwhelm, the mannequin can underwhelm. What they both have in common is a seemingly inability to ask questions. I had an encounter with a mannequin on a walk in the neighborhood the other day. After the initial greeting, He planted himself in the proper speaking position, looked eagerly at me and then nothing. I proceeded to lob convo starters one after another in his direction. To my amazement, he wiffed every single time. I was pitching a no hitter without even trying. It wasn't even a contest. It was like trying to play tennis with a palm tree. I was wondering if I would need to check for a pulse. Surely something would get him engaged. Problem was, he didn’t budge. He stood his ground as if waiting for that one perfect pitch to take deep. This was way too much work. I was exhausting myself trying to get him to bite. It was beyond awkward. I was playing 21 questions with myself. So how about this weather? Is that the real statue of David in your front yard? I'm taking a survey, which looks thicker my lawn or my hair? I was getting desperate. I was bombing and I knew it. I just wanted to get the heck out of there. He wouldn’t leave, he wouldn’t engage, he was stuck in a loop. If he was a computer, I would have re-booted him long ago.
I don't have much social contact these days. I want to make every opportunity count. If I'm feeling up to it, I want some honest to goodness dialogue. Like today for instance. My brother came over for a short time. We always have a good visit. Sometimes we just hang out. Sometimes we watch a movie. Sometimes we work on a project. But we always seem to have good conversation. That's the way it should be. In my humble opinion, a good conversation should have some back and forth. Ask a question. Is that too much to ask? See how easy it is. Inquiring minds want to know. Both parties should share in the dialogue. People who are poor conversationists are pool poopers plain and simple. If you can't bring your "A" game then don't bother showing up! Leave your sales pitch and your hidden agenda behind thank you very much. I have a limit to my good nature. Life is far too short!