On red pills, blue skies and tits

See, I am having this imaginary conversation with a couple of blue pill men. I mean, it is not real at all. I am totally making it up. I know exactly how it goes, too. Word for word. It is not because I am all that creative. It’s just that the last thing you need to imagine a blue pill conversation is imagination.
We are sitting at a table in a sports bar (of course). The conversation goes like this.
“So man, how ‘bout them Cowboys?” says blue pill guy number one.  “Can you believe they gave Romo all that fuckin’ money? The son of a bitch chokes in the clutch every year! It is like he is allergic to winning playoff games!”
Just then a woman walks by, just out of earshot.  Blue pill guy number one stops talking and suddenly tilts his head toward her. He is looking at me but his eyebrows are popping up and down sharply, aimed at the woman, like he is trying to point at her with them. Then he talks again.
“Man, get a load of those TITS! Sweet fucking Jesus!” The look on his face is pained, like he has heartburn.
“Ohhhhhhhhhh!” chimes in blue pill guy number two in agreement, and he has a similar grimace on his face, like he just stepped on a nail. I admit to myself that the woman has nice tits, but I am also thinking that it has been a long time since the sight of someone’s tits made me grunt and wrinkle my face up like I was visiting the proctologist.
“Yeah, they’re just…great,” I say. I feel stupid.
“Anyhow,” says blue pill one, “Romo’s a fuckin loser, and still gets 140 mil and a career contract. Is this a great country or is Jerry Jones just fuckin nuts?” He laughs at his own joke and then looks back over his shoulder to see if the tits are still there.
“Another round?” asks blue pill two. “I’m buyin’. Hell, I might as well buy. My money’s not worth piss anyway. This fucking Obamaconomy.”
Blue one turns angry in an instant. “You gonna start in with that shit again? Yeah, like he screwed the economy! It was shit the day he walked into office thanks to Bush. What a moron that guy was.”
“At least he didn’t sell us out for the nanny state!” two barks back.
At this point, I want to kill both of them. Blue pill two slides me a beer and I find myself drinking it, quickly, as blue pill one explains why Obama is a better president because “At least he speaks English better than Bush, or probably even Romney.”
I know I am fucked at this point. But I set down my beer and find myself enjoying a brief, Obamaless, Bushless, titless silence. It has fallen over the table like a shadow. Then, just about the time I was getting marginally comfortable, number two asks me The Question.
And no, he does not ask me which side of their stupid political divide I have decided to invest my heart and soul. That is not The Question.
The Question is what all blue pill men ask each other sooner or later. It is critical information, more important than which generic, undifferentiated political candidate you favor over the other relatively identical one. It is more important than whether you can believe that a quarterback that can’t win a playoff game gets paid like The Donald. It is even more important than whether you “got a load of those TITS!”
Two leans forward, putting on his most convincing, serious, I really want to get to know you face, and asks, “So, Paul, what do you do?”
There is a special inflection on the second instance of the word “do.” Now, in proper English, not the kind that George Bush would speak, it would not even be a complete question. But when a man asks you what you do, then you, as a man, fill in the rest in your mind. “What do you do, for a living?”
Of course, plenty of women ask the same question using the exact same verbiage, but for men it is different. When a man asks another man what he does, he is really asking him who he is. He is getting to the core of your supposed identity. Because men are their jobs. A man’s work is every measure of his worth; his relative value to other men, and too often, to himself.
So, in that situation, it is not an inquiry about employment; it is a window into a man’s soul and he is not allowed to have curtains. That is just the way it is.
This is a kind of a difficult situation for a guy like me. How do I explain to two anesthetized zombies who are arguing mainstream politics and marveling over tits like they have never seen a pair, what I do?
It is not like I get to say “stock broker” or “engineer” or “I.T.,” any of which would quickly and mercifully put me in a labeled box that both of my imaginary clowns could wrap their heads around and move on to more sports and politics and tits.
Oh no, answering The Question, explaining what I do, is a whole different conversation. I could try to cop out and say something like, “I’m a writer.” The damned thing is that being a writer is interesting. I have told people that before and it takes almost no time for the follow up question. “Oh, yeah, what do you write about?”
And there you see the dilemma. I might as well say, “I am a men’s rights activist and I spend most of my days fucking people’s shit up,” as to tell them I am a writer. We are going to end up there anyway, right?
So, going back into my imaginary conversation, I get myself another imaginary beer and take an imaginary sip as blue pill one and two sit patiently and wait for me to tell them the sum total of my worth as a human being.
“I tell people the sky is blue,” I say.
“Beg your pardon?” asks one of them. I am not sure which one.
“The sky,” I say again. “I tell people it is blue.”
Both one and two now look equally nonplussed. It is like they are waiting for a punch line but something sneaky in the back of their minds tells them there is not one coming, so they just sit there and look at me.
“I tell people that the world is not flat, too.”
“And that up is up and down is down.”
“And that granite is heavier than balsawood,” I say. “And you know what? They don’t fucking believe me so I have to tell them over and over and over and they still don’t believe me.”
Now, blue pill one and blue pill two are looking at me really funny at this point. Both their heads are cocked to the side a little and they look really confused, sort of like a couple of dogs watching TV. I start to feel sorry for them and decide to take the conversation toward its close.
“And I tell people that regret is not rape; that being cared for is not oppression; that being a slave to work is not freedom or power; that paying a surgeon more than a babysitter is not unfair discrimination; that a small number of criminals don’t define an entire culture; that disagreeing with an ideology is not hating a class of people. And I tell them that men are human beings.”
“And they don’t believe me no matter how much I say it. So I say it pretty loud and pretty rude at times. And of course they still don’t believe me. But what does happen is that while I am being loud and rude and telling people who don’t want to listen that the sky is fucking blue, somehow, some way, other people who already know the sky is blue start joining in; saying the same thing, and at times they get loud and rude, too. But that feels pretty good.”
“And that is what I do.”
Number one and number two both have pained looks on their faces again, but not the good kind of pain you get from looking at someone’s tits. It is a bad, confused, scary kind of pain. It is the kind of pain that looks like it is not going to go away on its own. It is the kind of pain that people who don’t know that the sky is blue are likely to take out on someone if you are not careful.
So there I am, even in my imaginary conversation, feeling a little nervous. I need a plan, and I need it quick. Luckily, I know just the trick.
I point across the sports bar at a far corner of the room and make my eyes big and wide with wonderment. And then I say, with all the excitement I can muster, “Man, get a load of those TITS!”
Blue one and blue two have heads that turn on a swivel, and they spin around like Linda Blair, giving me just enough time to sneak away from my imaginary companions.
Now, I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I love what I do. I cannot imagine doing anything else. But some days, I have to tell you, I think I would just about give anything if my mind could be filled, and my world defined, by some lying politicians and a nice set of tits.

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