by Slo Mo
I came home the other day from a long ride in the park and it occurred to me, quite suddenly, that I could no longer see the living room floor. Papers, clothes, nail polish, pizza boxes? Yes. Floor? No.
Time to get organized.
So Dog and I were sorting through a bunch of my cousin's old magazines (okay - I sorted, while Dog got in the way and farted a lot) when I spied with my little eye a rogue edition of Playgirl in amongst the back issues of Forbes and Accountancy Today. I had to laugh. Who knew my cousin had a pulse, let alone a libido?
But that wasn't The Big Surprise. The Big Surprise, the thing that caused me to trip over Dog and spill iced tea all down my shirt, was the fact that the cover boy, Mr. April, turned out to be none other than... Scary Gary. Yes, that Scary Gary: sole member of my high school's taxidermy club, the guy who hid under his desk when the sprinkler system went off by accident, the guy voted Most Likely To Go On A Shooting Spree. I didn't give Gary a second look all those years in school - none of us did. But NOW he sure had my attention. Whoa.
Why the hell didn't I notice Gary's potential back then, when I had the chance? How did I miss those puppy dog eyes, that cute grin, those adorable dimples... that body? And if I'd managed to miss all that in Gary, then how many other MFGs (Mighty Fine Guys) have I passed by?
My track record in choosing MFGs is, well... dismal:
My first real kiss happened in seventh grade, with Mike Dempsey, in his parents' basement during a Halloween party. It was completely unremarkable except for the fact that as I recall Scary Gary was in the basement too, fiddling with Mike's chemistry set while the rest of us played spin-the-bottle. So, instead of getting my lower lip snagged on Mike's braces, I could have been spit-swapping with the future Mr. April 2000. How depressing.
And there was Steve, the guy to whom I devoted all my attention in junior and senior year, while Scary Gary was off on the sidelines, waiting to be discovered. Steve wasn't a bad guy, and we certainly had our moments. But Steve was a football player, and all those blows to the head had already begun to take their toll. So in retrospect I'd say he was a PFG (Pretty Fine Guy), but not MFG material. Not in Scary Gary's league, that's for sure.
Then I went to university and wasted three years with a neurotic film student called Luc, which wasn't his real name - his real name was Doug, but he re-christened himself Luc because he thought it made him sound more mysterious and artistically brilliant. Whatever. That guy was so sub-MFG that he drops right off the radar. And I still get homicidal whenever I catch a whiff of clove cigarettes or see a Dali film. Meanwhile, Scary Gary was probably chowing down on MetRx bars and flashing those gorgeous pecs for some other, luckier girl who had better taste in men.
I followed my undistinguished university career with a two year Musician Bacchanalia. I wasn't fully conscious, let alone lucid, for most of that time, but I'm pretty sure I'd remember meeting an MFG if I had, in fact, stumbled across one. But I didn't, and I don't. The only one who even came close to MFG potential was Captain Tantric, the world's first coke-snorting taoist. He was funny and cute and (unlike most of his peers) he could form complete sentences and spell his own name, but that hardly qualifies him for MFG status. And I'm still bitter about the way Captain Tantric would use my eyeliner and never replace it. I'll bet Scary Gary packs his own toiletries.
Which brings us to The Divine Prick, who took what few years were left of my dwindling youth and then ditched me last winter for a half-wit aerobics instructor. At Christmas. On the same day I lost my job. Just after my cat had died. While my mom was in the hospital... So while I was burning the mistletoe and cutting up El Pricko's clothes and learning how to make a car bomb from household chemicals, Scary Gary was flashing that MFG smile (and a few other things) for the camera and making some photographers very, very happy.
There's no denying it - in the lottery of life, I keep losing the MFG Sweepstakes.
So where did I go wrong? What clues to MFG selection have I overlooked in favor of all those other sub-MFGs who've taken so much of my time and energy? And how can I avoid making the same bad choices in the future? How can I tell if there's a Mr. April 2000 behind the next Scary Gary I meet?
I suppose I could start by being a little less quick to dismiss guys who are quiet, or shy. (Even though shy people make me want to reach out and slap them silly.) And a little less quick to dismiss guys who are into hobbies and other stuff that doesn't interest me. (Even though most hobbies are, let's face it, mindless and banal and unworthy of my superior intellect.) And a little less quick to dismiss guys who might have a hokey haircut or wardrobe or whatever, but who may be hiding something surprising and delicious underneath. (Even though bad haircuts set my teeth on edge.) Basically, I have to throw out all the old rules and rethink my entire view of humanity. Starting with myself.
So that's what Dog and I will be doing for the next little while - mopping up the iced tea and watching the sunset and pondering the choices we've made. In the meantime, if anyone from the Stonybrook High School Alumni Association is reading this, can you drop me an email? I need to find Scary Gary.