Wednesday, August 8, 2012


How about one more short post about Schmoo? What the hell? We were together two-and-a-half years and good or bad, every day was interesting. The ingredients were just too perfect to not create masterpiece after masterpiece. What have we got here? Two giant egos on two smart guys who both think they're never wrong (and even when they know they're wrong will try to convince you that they're not). Add Schmoo's absurd storytelling ability – every story had three completely separate arcs that would all dovetail together like a Seinfeld episode just at the point where I was screaming, “What the fuck are you talking about?!” Stir in his impeccable timing with tossing out some fractured idiom or syntactically bizarre gem right in the middle of a vicious screaming match. Then top with literally pounds of methamphetamine.

(About the song: Believe it or not, I actually would walk from the subway to our apartment 
in the middle of the street lip syncing this song -- the whole time making approximately 
the same hand and head motions the lead singer is making in this video.)

Here are some random things that still make me smile when I remember them.

English wasn't his first language. He spoke it very, very well, but there were some things that kept him stumped. One thing in particular was the use of articles (the, an, a) in front of words. His native language didn't have articles, so it wasn't something that came naturally to him. So he might say, “Let's watch the television” instead of “Let's watch television.” Or “Would you like apple” instead of “Would you like an apple.” It wouldn't have been a big deal or even anything I noticed, except for one odd thing. Almost without exception, he got it wrong every time. If the word needed an article, he didn't use. If it didn't, he did. If someone had coached him to get them wrong, they would have told him that he should get one right once in a while just to make it believable. After a few months, he would say something and just by the look on my face know that he'd done it again. I even could tell that I had a look of utter befuddlement because I couldn't even fathom that he could do it so consistently.

He also had a tendency to reverse compound words, so (and I only heard this one second hand from a friend of his) spreadeagle became eaglespread, hungover was overhung, and on and on. Sometimes, he would do it and the word would be such that I'd end up getting really confused by the whole thing. For instance, he once asked me if I knew how to drive a shiftstick. I just sat there and looked at him for about a minute. “I don't think that's right. I think it's stickshift. Wait. No. Is it shiftstick? Fuck. Now I'm not even sure. Damn you and your Spanglish.” At which point, someone would try to correct me and tell me that since his native language wasn't Spanish, I had to put the first syllable of that language there instead. “Look, here's the thing. I don't make any distinctions. You either speak English or you speak Spanglish. Those are the only two things I recognize.”

Language snafus aside, he LOVED to talk. He would talk for as long as he could keep you from getting away from him. Add crystal to that and you can imagine what ensued. He was strategic about it though. While we were waiting for the subway, he might chit chat a little bit, check his phone, look around. But then we'd get on the subway and the doors would close. Now he had me. Off he'd go on a story about something I usually had no idea about. Early on, I was totally infatuated and I didn't want him to think I wasn't interested in everything about him, so I tried to keep up. I'd stop him every 7-10 minutes and ask a question about something he'd said. And every time I'd do it, he'd get this exasperated look on his face that essentially said, “If you shut up, I'll get to that.” So finally, about nine months into our relationship I finally just called him on it. “What the hell? Every time I ask a question, you get all snippy. I'm trying to participate in the conversation. Do you not even care if I'm really listening?” His answer: “No. Not really.” Well, hallefuckinlujah. You're just talking to hear yourself talk. Why didn't you tell me that six months ago? From that point on, as soon as the subway doors closed and his mouth opened I put on my earphones and started reading my book. And everyone was happy.

I'm tired and it's after midnight now, so you'll probably be getting another Schmoo post this month. That's because there are a couple of my favorite stories I didn't even get to tonight. Stay tuned. More to come.

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