You’re the Average of Three

Ever hear the claim that we are the average of the three people we hang out most with? Usually, it refers to financial status. Hang with three filthy rich people and some of that dirt will coat you. Unsure I buy into that. It’s more likely to be a symptom instead of the cause. If you’re rich, you typically hang in social circles with rich people, right?

I hang with drunks, baseball players, and cats. Average those three and, yep, you got me. Well, I don’t lick myself and sleep in the sun. Still, like my three closest friends, I’m a drunk with a baseball problem. Sure, I consider the benefits of ordering a cobb salad and unsweetened iced tea after a game. Yet, I’m not up for wearing a bully bullseye.

Do you see yourself in others?

I watch a buddy drink himself silly and applaud myself for not being in his shoes. Yet, I’m probably too drunk to realize I am. Then, I get paranoid about how friends and mates see me. Am I someone’s obnoxious drunk buddy?

Three guys my age strolled into the bar and sat in front of my last weekend. I was a party of one, as usual.  I could tell the three were around my age (double nickel), and all I could see in each were parts of me I despise. There must be some clinical term for this that, when eventually diagnosed, will open a wonderful new world of sedation options.

All three, in my eyes, were trying too hard. One had obviously died hair, intentionally messed. I couldn’t stop wondering why he wouldn’t dye his eyebrows to match. Another wore a fashionable T-shirt one size too tight. He looked like a potato sack. His bare arms featured lunch lady triceps and enough elbow folds to store his credit cards. Man three had tight jeans, a sweater tied around his neck, and thick framed glasses.

They all flirted embarrassingly with the servers, then stared creepily at the youthful butts as the ladies fetched their craft beer. Then there was the typical boy-what-I-would-do-to-her comments that made me wish one of these ladies would pivot and remind them the closest they’d ever get would be masturbation fantasy.

Yet, these women are not servants; they are wise manipulators of men who deserve to be exploited.

I was disgusted. Still, I’ve done all of those things. Is this Nature slapping me? Should I clear my closet and force myself to avoid objectifying women as gene replicators? Perhaps. Should I stop calling serves and bartenders pet names like “lovely,” “beautiful,” and “cuteness?” Yeah, probably should. They’re better than “ma’am” and “miss,” right? How about “kitten?” I know—fuck, no.

These fellas were likely similarly disgusted by yours truly—dirty old lonely man at a bar.

“Look at him. Pathetic. He’s probably married, and the wife kicked him out. Or, he’s stinky—hasn’t learned the fine art of modern male grooming. He looks desperate. Who wears printed shirts? Ew. He thinks he’s cool drinking bourbon. That reminds chicks of their grandfathers. Bet that watch is a knock off, too. Poor old sap.”

Yep. That’s me. Now, leave me be.

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.

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