I've had a monthlong stretch where I haven't been sleeping before 3 or 4 a.m. It's been happening night after night, due to work, extreme socializing, and general whathaveyou. This doesn't both me because I'm indestructible. I can smoke a pack of Marlboros and then run an eight-minute mile; I provide genius three hours early under a four-hour deadline; I can subsist for days on a bowl of Vanilla Special K, a pack of Trident, and black coffee. Sleep, like food, is a nuisance that keeps you from doing better things, and a hobby for felines and infants.
Nevertheless, yesterday it caught up with me. I met friends in the afternoon to talk college football and presidential politics, and the four or five pints affected me roughly twice as much as normal. Then it was a big dinner at a French restaurant, and by the time I finished dessert, even the coffee wasn't bringing me back to life. I felt exhausted.
I'd think that this would be a welcome relief. I mean, I assume that people get tired of the bombast and provocations. Last night, I was tired, calm, and almost tranquil. All night, I was thinking, "What a nice treat for my friends. I'm sitting here engaging in normal conversation, moderating disagreements, not taunting anyone. I am delightful, friendly and sophisticated."
Instead, it was like when the mean older brother breaks his leg and the younger siblings use the opportunity to beat him while he's weak. At a birthday party later that night, I was the zebra carcass on the Serengeti. Co-blogger Flop had invited a delightful young woman, but instead of amusing her, he spent the whole night yanking my leghair and telling people that he's buff. He wasn't the only one. It was open season on everything: my goddamn hair ("Did you dye your fucking hair?" A: "No, my hair turns blond when I'm in the fucking sun."), my fucking pants ("Why do your pants keep falling down?" "Loan me your fucking belt."), my goddamn armhair ("You're hirsute." "Bullshit, just my arms below the elbow."), my posture ("Look at you, sitting there all reclined. Are you gay, or just prissy?"), my drinking choices ("Why the fuck are you drinking MGD?"), my past behavior ("Jump some rope, asshole."), my underwear ("Stop showing people your boxers.") my reading choices ("You haven't even read Gravity's Rainbow, so you're an idiot."), my smoking ("I hope you die."), and immortality ("What's it like to be born without a soul?").
By the end of the night, people I barely knew were joining in.
I took it, dude. The fight was drained out of me. After midnight, I curled up on a couch in the corner of the bar, taking their abuse without protest. Most nights, it would be open season. This kind of weak-assed, inept mockery would have triggered my predatory instincts, and these assholes would have been left like the mice and lizards on What Jeff Killed. They took down a man in a weakened state, and one who showed a small degree of consideration in not ruining his friends' lives in the presence of their significant others.
To Flop et al.: Consider last night a free pass. I hope you had fun. But I'm not going to be tired forever, and I'm not going to always show concern for the welfare of your dignity, your self-respect, or your self-worth in the eyes of women. You enjoyed yourselves, and I'm aware that if you'd administered complete justice, the attacks could've been uglier. Just like Muhammed Ali, they called him Cassius, and just like Muhammed Ali, I can absorb your pummeling, but will come back with a knockout.
It was fun. I'm not offended. But don't think that I'm turning over a new leaf.
On a similar note, the Comedy Central Roast of Flavor Flav is horrible, except for the part where Patton Oswald makes fun of Brigitte Nielsen's snatch.