Exit Strategy

My little brother and I just crip-walked through the Marcy Projects. He’s on crutches after totaling my parents’ 2002 Chevy Malibu in a no-headlight night race on a back road in my hometown. We got accosted by a guy telling us how he was laid up for a week with two broken ribs. He got a settlement of $9000 and his building had to install a new stairway. He used the money to put two comfort girls up in a hotel room for a week. He called the experience his “fantasy island.”

I was glad Little Brother got the chance to interact with an old lecherous drunk with a penchant for repetitive storytelling here in Brooklyn. One skill that everyone who aspires to end up not hating humanity when they die should learn is the art of exiting a conversation. Specifically the art of exiting a boring conversation between yourself and a closet megalomaniac who possesses the eye of the ancient mariner.

Little Brother did well in this regard once the old bastard told him for the third time that he didn’t care to know our opinions on his decision to cheat on his wife. Little Brother pretended to see some friends in the distance. An ancient, overused and crude tactic, but effective once in a while. I myself have an arsenal of escape plans ranging from the subtle (successive 3-inch backward step) to the extreme (faking sarcoidosis).

However, neither of us were a match for Brother-in-Law, who uses a time honored three pronged offense: guilt, intimidation, and insincere self-deprecation. Luckily my sister came through in the clutch and harangued her husband from afar with incessant texts concerning his whereabouts, complete with pictures of his sad-faced spawn.

Apparently, Wife and Sister had some troubles of their own while I was away at work last night. My good friend is a deep thinker and a slow talker and allegedly using these tools to hold them hostage over dinner. He asked a litany of questions that had to do with Wife’s recent foray into the world of food policy vis-a-vis grad school, forcing them to consider the ugly implications of the food they were planning on enjoying.

Nothing goes to plan in a world filled with boorish yahoos, and we’re all boorish yahoos. Especially you.

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