Nice guys

This is the first part of three excerpts I shall be borrowing from the most recent book I’ve read.

David Sedaris has got it exactly right – the following example might be the spitting image of some people in american churches but no offence is meant to all the lovely people at Tab.

A very thin, spent-looking woman with shoulder-length hair gathered in a pony tail cleared her throat and said, “Like I was saying earlier, I thought that Timothy person was very nice. I liked him an awful lot. He’s a people person, I could see that right away. ” This woman was missing one of her front teeth.

Another woman, younger, with heavily moussed blond hair fidgeted with her chopsticks and agreed, saying, “Are you talking about the Timothy with the olive-colored turtleneck and the denim jacket? Oh, I loved that guy. What a nice guy. Was he nice or what?”

“I’d say he’s one of the absolute nicest guys I’ve met in a long time,” said the sullen Abe Lincoln lookalike sitting next to me. He paused, scratching at his beard, and small stiff hairs rained onto his empty plate. “I liked Timothy right off the bat because he’s just so damned nice how could you not like him?”
      “Talk about nice, how about that Chip?” Gill said.
      “A chip off the old block,” the ugly bearded man said, at which point everyone broke into laughter.
      “Ha, ha,” I said. “A chip off the old shoulder.”
Gill and his companions ignored me until the skinny hag turned to me and said, “You, sir, are standing in the way of our evening and I for one don’t appreciate it.” I suddenly understood why she was missing her front tooth.

Gill said, “Dolph, maybe you should just try to keep quiet and listen for a change.” I nodded and leaned back in my chair, thinking, Listen to what? He’s so nice, she’s so nice, aren’t they so nice. Nice is a mystery to me because while on some mundane level I aspire to it, it is the last thing I would want a table full of dullards saying about me.
      “Nice job, Byron.”
      “Hey, Kimberly, nice blouse. Is it new?”
      “I love your haircut, Pepper. It’s really nice!”
I don’t understand nice. Nice is a lazy one-syllable word and it says nothing at all. I prefer to surround myself with more complex words, such as heroic and commanding.
      “That Dolph, is he a national treasure or what?”

I sat at Gill’s table for another ten minutes or so during which time I heard the word “nice” twenty-three times until I couldn’t stand it anymore. When I finally left, the idiot with the beard called out,”Nice talking to you,” which I guess brings the tally up to twenty-four.

My sentiments exactly. I hate it when people state obvious things such as “You got a haircut?” or when they describe everything as “nice”. Talk about a stunted vocabulary. You may as well wear a T-shirt that says “I am so boring I can’t think of anything interesting to say save to point out but the blindingly obvious”

This scene in Barrel Fever reminds me of the ward in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with all of them sitting around talking about nothing at all, carrying on for ages and ages and somehow bearing the inanity as if it were a bitter medicine that would cure them.

We watched this movie on the asus tablet on the interminable bus ride from Milan to Geneva. It would not be inaccurate to say that that was the longest bus ride of my life. We got stopped multiple times, our passports taken by unknown people who we gullibly (and helplessly) trusted to be the border customs officers (even though we were still in the eurozone) and compounded the hopelessness of our moonlit, Alpen bus ride with this depressive movie that gave me motion sickness. But man, what a performance by Jack Nicholson.



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