Tool Time

There’s a guy I run into around town who is one of those characters who makes you groan every time they step into frame. He’s introduced himself to me a few times and even given me his business card once (which I promptly tossed, despite the fact that it featured a photo of him on the front wearing a cowboy hat, his fax number prominently displayed in bold, and on the back was a collage of descriptor words like “Artist,” “Singer,” “Visionary,” “dreamer,” and “child of God”), but I still don’t know what his name is. He’s cocky, a bit abrasive, and loves to let people know how much he knows.

He is my own personal “Newman.”

He’s the guy at the party who eavesdrops on conversations and then bulldozes his way inside, offering unsolicited advice and criticism. He hangs out at the building where my wife rents space for her Zumba class and on more than a few occasions he’s approached me asking how much she makes (I didn’t tell him). When he found out I was married to the Zumba girl he tried to get me to hire him to be her web designer (I didn’t) and then told me how she is going about her fitness career all wrong. Of course, he would be more than happy to help steer her career for a small “mentor” fee. There was also the time he tried to convince me there was a “Steve” who worked at the radio station where I worked. When I told him it’s a small staff and  no one there is named Steve, he told me I was wrong.

So, as I was walking down the street today on my way to the local coffee shop to buy beans, listening to the latest album for my Comedy Reviews website, I felt my stomach sink as he stepped in front of me on the sidewalk. He was sweating and wearing cargo shorts, a flannel short-sleeved shirt, and a weightlifting belt. He recognized me immediately and said something (I couldn’t hear what he said, as my ear buds were in). I turned off my iPod and said, “I’m sorry?”

“Do you live around here?” he repeated, as if I had no business being in the area. I nodded and told him the name of the building where we live. “Ah,” he said, “You probably know Kathleen.”

“Kathleen?” I repeated, having no idea who he meant. He said her last name (I forget it now) and it still didn’t ring a bell. “No, I don’t know her.”

“You know,” he insisted, “Kathleen. Kate.”

“No,” I repeated, “I don’t know her.”

“You know, you walk in the door and she’s the first one on the right.”

As much as that narrowed it down, there are over 130 condo units in the building, four floors,  and at least eight entrances that I know of.

“No,” I said again, “I don’t know her.”

“You should meet her. She’s young, cute, and single. You’d like her.”

I held up my left hand and wiggled my wedding ring at him. “I’m good, thanks.”

He persisted, “Well, if you’re ever lonely, you should swing by. You’d like her.”

First of all, I’m married.

Second of all, I’m sure your friend Kate loves being whored out like that.

Third of all, you’re a douche.

I gave him a curt “No thanks” and popped my ear buds back in before he could say something else. I continued my stroll and left him and his weightlifting belt to continue sweating in the afternoon heat.

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