PATRICK STEPHENSON

Earthbound concerns of an ascendant adult

“Stand Up Routine”

by Patrick Stephenson,
latinate, auburn-haired protector

Look me over, ladies and gentlemen. What do you see? A pale guy, red-haired, four-eyed, not the most masculine man you’ve seen today. But you know what they say. Appearances are deceiving. A book [pause] should not be judged by its cover. It’s what on the inside that counts. Is there any other cliché I can revive? No, but I’ll explain. If I were a book [pause] whose cover you shouldn’t judge, on my cover… there would be [pause] an ineffectual dope, staring at his shoes, afraid of the world. The cover version of me would mumble, would be a shy guy. He’d stare out windows and wonder, Comedian“Where have I gone wrong? What am I doing with my life? What could have been? If only… if only… if only…” That isn’t me. In reality, I’m a Fabio.

Yes, the Fabio you see on books in the supermarket. Yes, the Fabio of romance novels, his pants tight and shirt torn. YES, that Fabio is me. I’m not the Fabio of reality. Reality Fabio is a girly man. Reality Fabio goes on rollercoasters and birds crash into his nose. I’m the Fantasy Fabio, the one adored and dreamt of by middle-aged women. I may not look it, but Fantasy Fabio—the supermarket stud—is lurking beneath this unmanly exterior. Outside, I say again: pale, red-haired, four-eyed. This is what you see, but what you get is entirely different. The man beneath the mask has long flowing hair, chiseled pecs & abs, and an enormous penis [uses hands to evoke the size of the Fabio penis].

Do you know how I know this? How, you’re wondering, can I back this up? Do I fight fires? Do I pursue and arrest criminals? Have I killed a man…? just for fun? Am I in the military? Have I tortured a terrorist—or two? No. None of those. What I am, is a security guard. That’s right. I guard and I secure. I’m a security guard at a bookstore. I guard books. We also stock pens, and markers. I guard those, too. And iPods, we sell iPods. I guard those. As a result, as you can imagine, the girls swarm over like bees to a flower. I swagger around with a walkie talkie at my hip, and they faint as I pass. I don’t have bad body odor. Don’t attempt to imply that. I’ll strike down your insinuation. “Do you have a gun,” they coo at me, “in addition to your walkie talkie?” “I do,” I say, “but it’s not made of metal, and it’s in my pants.”

Unfortunately, I don’t do much more than swagger, and lately, what else I’ve done hasn’t been manly at all. I’d like to say I’ve arrested criminals, that I’ve apprehended a few (maybe three) red-handed book thieves. The most interesting thing I’ve done lately, however, is force a deaf guy to leave the bookstore. This poor guy, he comes into the store. All he wants is someone to shake his hand, show him where a good local eatery is. But as soon as I see him, gesturing at me, I receive an order over my radio. “That’s Tim. Tell him to leave the store.” So, I point this guy out. I treat him terribly. Another time, I caught an old guy with liver spots trying to walk out with a book. “I need this book,” he said, “but I couldn’t pay for it.” Why couldn’t he pay for it? I asked him. “Because I don’t have a check.” Isn’t that a checkbook sticking out of your bag? I asked him. And it was. So, I directed the oldster to the register. This is as exciting as it gets. No book-stealing rings, no iPod thieves. I have confidence, however, that things will shape up. Eventually, I’ll live up to my swagger.

Another supposedly un-manly thing about me is my knowledge of Latin. Most people, during college, take a normal langauge, one they can use to engage a real, still-living person in conversation. For instance, Spanish. There’s still a ton of Spaniards out walkin’ around. But I took Latin. No one I know, except for the Pope, speaks Latin, and I’m not about to converse with THE POPE—about anything. First of all, I don’t agree with his politics. I’m a supporter of abortion. I liked John Kerry. I wasn’t Hitler Youth. And second, he’s celibate. I’m a college student, so my life revolves around girls: meeting them, talking with them, inebriating them. What could the Pope tell me, a college student, about anything important, in Latin or not? Nothing.

I am, then, alone in my little Latin world. Learning Latin is unmasculine because knowing a language no one speaks makes you an academic. The more you know, the less manly you are. But this is incorrect. Latin, after all, was the language of Roman warriors. Caesar spoke with Latin, and fought with Latin, and wrote with Latin. Caesar reported from battlelines with Latin. During your first year of Latin, all you learn about are weapons and shields and wars. My first Latin text was “De Bello Gallico,” or “Concerning the Gallic War.” That Latin is unmanly is a misconception of the ignorant, and let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, I’m sick and tired of ignorance. Caesar was the Fabio of his time.

Whenever I talk about Latin everyone’s like, “It’s a dead language!” AHHH! Shaddup! You’re just repeating what everyone else has said! Saying that doesn’t make you clever! It makes you boring! Why be alive if you’re going to say what’s already been said a trillion times, by people who felt they were being special and brilliantly critiquing a language that’s actually wonderful, and thought-provoking, and instructive. The trademark of our time is willful ignorance. Ignorance is praised. Ignorance is exalted. That philosophy is embodied by our president, by our media. Please, please. Stop saying the same things over and over! We’ve all heard that before! It’s not a dead language. Your mother’s a dead language.

Et tua mater.

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Written by patiomensch

February 28, 2007 at 4:32 am

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