What would James Bond do? It’s a question I ponder in my brain whenever I find myself in an awkward social situation and I would prefer my outward response be a measured, nuanced display of wit and sophistication. Unfortunately, as a social role model, James Bond’s depth is somewhat limited. He would either kill something, rape it until it dies, or make a lewd quip or sexual innuendo, which I believe is an Italian brand of suppository, about killing it and then raping it. “I thought Christmas only comes once a year,” is what he said while he was molestering Santa Clause. Santa thanked him for the milkshake and the ride home, afterwards.
Ok, so I don’t actually aspire to being a drunken pervert like James Bond, I am already pretty accomplished at that, but I would like to be able to imitate the cool matter-of-fact demeanor that he somehow manages to pull off under the most stressful of situations. Personally, I generally don’t like being around a lot of people, and at those times that I find myself unavoidably in a room full of noisy strangers with smelly faces, quickly running out of things to talk about, I draw inspiration from a mental model, What would a person of class and social distinction say or do in this situation? And then, I invariably do the exact opposite. Not intentionally; no, I just suck at displaying social graces. What my brain thinks, and what my cake hole makes manifest are usually two very different stories.
James Bond needlessly shoots someone in the face and then speaks to everyone else in the room as if he just did that person a favor, you know, for shooting them in the face. “Now he has a speed hole in his brain so that he can do brain things with more speed.” Ok, that was just terrible, but that’s my point, I am no good at the one-liners as ice-breakers, especially when feelings or self respect are at stake.
“Is that a gun in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?”
Actually, it is an English cucumber wrapped in aluminum foil that I have jammed down my pant leg for the purposes of misdirection. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but upon further consideration, it was an ill-conceived action. It wreaks havoc with airport security whenever I fly commercial. Would you happen to fancy a cucumber sammich? I have mayonnaise, but don’t ask where I am keeping it.
Whenever I feel threatened or intimidated by an awkward situation, or unable to resist the urge to laugh inappropriately at a funeral, I typically respond by creatively stringing together long sequences of profane adjectives that I holler at anyone near enough to be a source of anxiety. I do that first, and then my brain says to me something along the lines of, Well, I’m outta here, or Yeah, you’re on your own from here on out. Then, I find myself brainless and all hopped up on adrenaline, and any chance for a graceful recovery has long vanished.
It would be so much better if I could dig deep and find the confidence necessary to just take a moment, smile politely, and say something cool and clever, I like my laundry dry, shaken, not stirred, and preferably folded. It may not be suitable for all occasions, but it should cause sufficient confusion that it distracts from my sneaking out the back window.