You know this person.
We ALL know this person.
With a few cocktails, perhaps we have, briefly, been this person.
Who, you ask?
The person I like to call the "One Upper"
If you've done it once, they've done it 14 times backwards.
You broke your arm once skiing? Well, did I ever tell you about the time I broke every bone in my body except for one toe bone when I was bobsledding with the Jamaican Bobsled team and Katie Couric in the Swiss Alps? Funny story...you have a few minutes?
You know this person.
I am blessed to know several/way too many One Uppers.
One, who I'll call "Fester", works at my place of employment. We share an office with 4 other people, so conversation is inevitable. Sometimes we have typical, somewhat productive exchanges with one another, but normally I find myself cursing myself afterward, pissed at the 15-20 minutes of my life I'll never get back. Example:
Fester: "So, how are your classes going?"
Me: "Good, for the most part."
F: "For the most part? Uh-oh, that doesn't sound good."
Me: "Well, I just have a couple of problem students that are making things a little difficult."
F: "Problems? How?"
Me: "Well, I have one with a Heroin problem and the other one, I think, is smoking crack. Plus the one started talking about guns and knives the other day in class. I'm a little worried."
F: "Did I ever tell you about Bob Bobson?"
Me: (sensing that I was about to age considerably but seeing no way out) "Um, no."
F: "Bob was my student and wasn't doing so well in class. I had a little talk with him suggesting that he find another career to pursue, which he didn't seem to agree with. So one day Bob just stopped showing up, and I figured that was that. But he started showing up at my house, and I would see him wherever I went. The grocery store, the bank, even at my colonoscopy, there he was. He started following my family, and tried to start dating my daughter. He became more and more destructive. I called the cops, but they said there wasn't anything they could do as he technically hadn't broken any laws. Finally, he went too far. He followed us on our yearly vacation to the lake."
Me: "Really? Holy cow!"
F: "Yeah, we go to Cape Lear every summer. Nice place. Well, things got pretty heated that year, and Bob didn't come out of it so well, that's all I'm saying."
F: "Well, I've got a meeting. Good luck with your 'problem' students."
And, well, you get it.
In the food industry we seem to have more than our fair share of these charmers. Being a debaucherous bunch, for the most part, leaves most of us with piles of really juicy stories about everything from abrupt and dramatic job exits to who snogged who in dry storage. I have piles, Ms. Mecca has piles, Stacy has piles... but we know how to dole them out and use them primarily for good, comedic relief, rather than evil (usually). But over and over in this business you meet "that guy" (or girl) who has done all of it, been everywhere, cooked everything, fucked everyone (literally and figuratively), and luckily, lived to tell about it.
Lucky for us. Wheeeee!
Typical interaction with this type, who I'll call "Douchie"
Me: "Hey Douchie! How's the job going? Are you still at Snooty's?"
Douchie: "Snooty's? Christ, I quit that job months ago. You know the owner is wanted for Murder, don't you?" (You know this is a lie. Everyone in the business already knows that Douchie got unceremoniously fired for smoking weed in the wine cellar a week ago and the owner is just having tax problems. But, you keep this to yourself.)
Me: "No, I didn't know. Sorry. I thought you liked that job? Too bad- I like Snooty's. I think the food there is really good, really interesting."
Douchie: "Seriously? You have got to be joking. That place was so beneath me. I mean, I trained (um, worked one week and left in tears, I heard. But do go on) at Chez Fancypants in New York, for christ's sake! I could run Snooty's with my eyes closed. In fact, I pretty much was running the place. People thought I was the owner all the time. Jorge, the 'real' owner was begging me to come on as a partner but I just didn't want to. You of all people know how fickle the business is, right? If I have my own place I'll be much smarter about it- I mean than Jorge, not you of course. But hey- what are you up to these days?"
Me: "Oh, I'm teaching now. I love the hours and the pay rocks."
Douchie: "Yeah, I'm thinking about teaching at Le Fancypants du Blanc. They're totally bugging me to run one of their programs. They offered me a $90k gig, but I don't know- I think I'd miss the biz. And- no offense- but, I feel like my talent would be wasted there, you know?"
(You last heard he was delivering gourmet pizzas part-time)
Me: "Yeah, you might get bored. I don't, but hey."
Douchie: "Hey! Did you know that Wolfblitzer VonDuck contacted me about possibly doing training for his new place?"
Me: "No, I didn't. I thought he was going to have Helga St.Stern do that."
Douchie: "That's just what the papers are saying, but it's not true. Wolfblitzer's people called me directly. (about "missing" information on his job application. Specifically, the "previous employment" section wasn't filled out properly. Douchie had just written: "Let's talk, its a long story.")
Me: "That's great Douchie! I hope whatever you pick works out for you- but I have to go. You know, work and stuff."
Douchie: "Hey! Good to see you too. And, not that I would necessarily do it, but if anything opens up where you work..."
Another example. This one involves myself and the woman that I cater for who we'll call Dramatiste. I know she's done a lot, and I know that she knows a ton of people, but puh-lease already! It's starting to get silly:
Me: "I went to Chez Poopybum for dinner last night. Have you been there yet?"
Dramatiste: "Yes! What did you think?"
Me: "It was o.k, nothing special"
Dramatiste: "Really? I thought it was great. What did you order?"
Me: "Well, I had the fried baby deer eyelashes followed by an entree of braised wood sprites in a baby tear reduction and we had the candied rare stinkflower sorbet with monkey milk foam for dessert."
Dramatiste: "Well, I can see why you didn't think it was that good. You didn't order anything interesting. Don't you know the owner? Well, I do, and she always makes me something special as I am her very best friend and we hung out with Andy Warhol and Lou Reed and we created the very idea of food, and we were like rock stars and got in everywhere and know everyone and we hang out with Yoko Ono, and we taste food better and differently than you do, and we singlehandedly developed the concept of food on a plate, and...
Well, again- you get it.
I simply can't take it anymore. I can't stand the one-upper. I'm just going to start slapping them, one by one, as a service to everyone else.
You can thank me later.
On a side note:
The fall shopping has begun!
I bought these along with some sweaters, etc... here the other night after hanging out with my girls M & S for a few drinkies:
I wasn't even drunk.
I can't wait to get them delivered. Plus I got free express shipping to boot. (Ba-dum-dum. Yes, just call me Shecky)
I will wear the crap out of these lovelies. With jeans, skirts, metallic orange hotpants...you name it.
Have a good weekend, my little deep-fried angel wings coated in opium-poppy syrup and sprinkled with candied love.
And p.s. I will make an honest effort to get caught up on all your posts at your respective blogs this weekend. I know I've been a bit m.i.a.
It's been a looooong week, my dears. Long.