Monday, January 20, 2014

Chili Cheese Fries...Please

            Since my last story was about a time when I was such a social embarrassment that I messed up a simple food order, I’d like to follow that up with one about when I was perfectly competent at ordering my food, but still managed to be extremely awkward.  In order to do so I’m going to take you back in time, to an age where I was, against all odds, even less aware of how the world works than I currently am.  It may seem surprising, but I wasn’t always as cool and put-together as I like to imagine I am now.  To put it bluntly: Lil Ryan was an idiot.

            I honestly don’t remember how old I was, but I remember that it was right about when I stopped thinking girls had cooties and started noticing that many of them made me feel fuzzy and act slightly dumber than usual, so I was probably around 23 at the time (that’s a joke, ladies).  I still wasn’t quite sure why, but I knew at the time that I wanted these beautiful women I was suddenly noticing to also notice me and hopefully be (inexplicably) impressed with me.  But what could I, Lil Ryan, possibly offer them to be impressed with?  Certainly not by regaling them with my many tales of epic victories in Pokemon battles.  No, these ladies were far too sophisticated for me to bring up my Squirtle around them.  Perhaps I could impress them with my more empathetic side by telling them how meaningful it was for Goku to sacrifice himself in the latest episode of Dragon Ball Z (shut up).  No, that probably wouldn’t work either.  Maybe that hilarious new knock-knock joke I’d heard?  Ha! She probably isn’t sophisticated enough for that one.  What did I have?

            What I ultimately settled on was equally simple, brilliant, and stupid.  I would impress these beautiful women by being extremely polite.  Now, before anyone says, “That’s cute! Lil Ryan was trying to impress the girls by having manners! What’s wrong with that?”  let me explain that Lil Ryan (grade school age) was trying to impress women that were in their 20s.  By saying “please” and “thank you.”  And the places I was most likely to see these beautiful women that I was trying to impress were the restaurants that they were waitressing at while I was out to dinner with my family.  So, let me phrase this perfectly for you: Lil Ryan was trying to convince 20-somethings into falling madly in love with him by being the most polite grade-schooler they’d ever seem, while I ordered chili cheese fries (without onions…in case they wanted a kiss)

            Eventually, I became extremely well spoken and adept at perusing menus and reading confidently my choices of sides.  Regardless, smiling politely and saying “May I please have another Mountain Dew?” never achieved quite the level of seduction that I had hoped. Honestly, I’m not sure what’s weirder; the fact that my stupid child brain thought this was a good plan, or the kind of woman that this idiotic mojo would have actually worked on. If it had worked, I’d probably be married to some 40-something right now and have way more emotional scarring to work through.  And she probably wouldn’t find me attractive anymore now that I have (some) adult features.

            I still try to be extremely polite when I order food anywhere, but these days I’m aware that I have no chance with the waitresses.  I guess that’s better than some guys I know who are still convinced that the Hooter’s waitress isn’t working for tips and was actually spending the whole night hoping that guy who just downed 40 wings and made a fart joke would ask for her phone number.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Mini Tacos & Mini Sodas

            I like to think of my jokes like mini tacos.  They are small, awesome and are 10 times more enjoyable when you’re drunk.  But also like mini tacos, if you have too many of them, you’re left with a stomachache and a sense of self-loathing.  I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that it’s generally unwise to let me prattle on for too long, but also that you shouldn’t eat too many mini tacos because the calories in them are outrageous.

            Regardless of whether you gorge on 1600 calories of mini tacos or just let me talk for too long, it’s important to own your mistakes.  I don’t mean to admit when you’re wrong, because this is an awkward and uncomfortable thing to do.  I mean to pretend like it wasn’t a mistake at all because social anxiety won’t let you correct yourself.  What’s that you say? You’d like an example? Of course.

            I find myself in a position to own my mistakes most often when I’m out in public ordering food (this is likely because one of the only times I allow myself in public is while eating and drinking…and the laws of probability).  A few weeks ago I went out to a little burger place with some friends.  I ordered a burger, fries and a drink because this is the most stereotypical story ever.  The cashier asked me what size drink I wanted, and out of habit I replied “Medium” because this is America and our medium drinks usually come in 13-gallon trashcans.  The cashier, noticing that I’m a grown man, points at a tiny cup and says “Our mediums are 10 ounces, would you like a large instead?”  Now, common sense should tell me to accept her polite advice and upgrade to the large, but social anxiety stepped in and said, “You cannot let her know that you are uninformed on the drink sizes here.  That is a sign of weakness!”  I ended up replying with some idiotic mix of “Oh yeah, that’s fine.  10 ounces is plenty.  Perfect. Does anyone really need more than 10 ounces?”   I then grabbed my thimble of soda and quickly went to my table so I could be alone with my shame while everyone else ordered.

            The only way this drink could have possible lasted my whole meal would be if I was drinking it through a coffee stirrer.  So, I finished my drink and still had half a burger and a mountain of salty fries left.  But, it’s definitely too late now.  I have to continue to own my mistake.  And I can’t go up for a refill because then cashier-girl would know that I’m an idiot and that I didn’t really want a 10 ounce soda as I so casually and naturally implied in our previous conversation (which she totally bought, right?).  Instead, I’ve opted to take the lid off my cup and start chewing ice while simultaneously breathing hot air into the cup in hopes that it will cause the ice to melt into water more quickly.  At this point, if I hadn’t played Oregon Trail so much as a kid, I probably would have gone to the bathroom and stuck my head in the sink, but as it stands, I’m still terrified of dysentery so I don’t trust just any old water source.  I also never ford a river.

            On the bright side, I didn’t have to pee most of the night because I’m pretty sure the lack of hydration combined with the salty food shut down my kidneys.