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January 17, 2007

Dinner conversation

"Well, what's your favorite sport?"

Scott is an old friend from Texas, in town on a business trip. We're at dinner and he is asking me this question because he thinks that if I take up some kind of sport I'll meet the man of my dreams. He thinks this because A) he is delusional and B) He is married to a woman he met while playing raquetball in college and C) he has forgotton the story of how I almost had a near-fatal rollerskating incident, and the time I took tennis classes and made the instructor cry with frustration, or the story of how I almost failed volleyball.

But married people who haven't dated in like twelve years love to give me "helpful advice" about my personal life. It's almost as if they're taking it on as an art project. I mostly find this very amusing, and sweet, and I try to humor them. They're just doing it because they care about me. So I try to refrain from telling them how much dating has changed in 12 years, and how there is now a higher chance of meeting someone who has an internet porn addiction than meeting someone with a job. Or how much fun it is to date in Los Angeles, where your dinner companion might have served time in Pelican Bay, or run a meth lab, or be on the downlow, or have four babiesmamas, or be married, or -- worst of all -- your dinner date might spend the next two hours talking about their agent, their craft, and what it means to grow as an actor. Then they ask you to read their screenplay.

"So, what's your favorite sport?" asks Scott.

"Have you even MET me?" I'm giving him the crazy-eyes. "I'm the one you once saw fall UP a flight of stairs."

"Hey, anyone can have a klutzy day." He's not giving up.

"So what's your sport?"

"Um...? I guess poker, probably."

"Poker is not a sport," says Scott.

"Sure it is. They have a tournament for it. Anything with a tournament is a sport."

"If it's not in the Olympics," says Scott, "it is not a sport."

"Oh!" says crazy-eyes. "So biking is not a sport? Tennis is not a sport? RAQUETBALL is not a sport?" (By the way, these might be Olympic sports, I have no idea. I don't watch the Olympics.) (And apparently neither does Scott because he is stewing on this one.)

"Okay, fine, but for it to be a real sport you have to do something, like it has to be something you could get an injury from..." Scott stops mid-sentence. He realizes the error of his wine-infused ways, but it is too late.

"AHA!!!! You want me to die for dating!!!" I am victorious. And maybe a little tipsy myself. "Plus! You are from TEXAS my friend, do you not know your Kenny Rogers? Poker is a sport. Every gambler knows that the secret to SURVIVING is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep. Every hand's a winner and every hand's a loser, and the best that you can hope for IS TO DIE IN YOUR SLEEP."

"Fine, I give up," says Scott.

"You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold em..." I say. Maybe a little smugly.

"Know when to walk away," says Scott. "Know when to run."

Posted by laurie at January 17, 2007 9:42 AM