Journals of an Insane Genius - November 2000

"...when it came right down to it all I really wanted was a tuna melt", I finish bemusedly. At this point Wendy is laughing so much that she has to leave the pool table. It's not my fault; she started it. Wendy is Rich's friend. She works for the same company we do and has been pestering me, through him, to update my web page. Rich dragged me along to happy hour at the Sports Gallery so I could explain the delay to her myself. But in the mean time I'm in the middle of some high stakes gambling with Wendy's friend Amy. All that's left on the table is the eight ball sitting smugly about ten inches in front of the corner pocket. The cue ball is in front of the corner pocket on a diagonal from it. Amy has upped the ante to a bucket of movie popcorn if I can make the shot with one hand while standing on one foot. I finish my pint of Guinness to steady my nerves, take up a shooting stance that is half flamingo and half Karate Kid, and apply just the right amount of backspin so that the eight ball snaps into the pocket without the cue ball following along. The real trick is not to look surprised. I manage to pull it off.

Wendy has returned and is trying to get me to go over to the table to explain to everyone there why she is laughing so hard. I hold up a beer bottle, look over at the table, and shrug my shoulders. Why should I tell those people about my Christmas shopping? Like most people that read my journals, Wendy doesn't believe they're true. I try to explain that since they're for Mensa I strive for ninety-eight percent accuracy. She again expresses doubt as to the validity of my account of a recent Christmas shopping trip.

It started out innocently enough; I was taking two young, attractive, female friends to lunch. Obviously if I lied about these kind of things I would have made them twins. Better yet, twin stewardesses. Twin stewardess ballerinas with Masters degrees in massage therapy… I digress. So I'm driving through Tucson with these two young ladies. We're looking for this gourmet bakery that serves lunch when we find ourselves driving through a section of town that has quite a few "gentlemen's" clubs. Next to one of them is an adult bookstore. One of the girls says she's always wanted to go into one but has been too nervous. The other dares her to go now. What can I do? This is a Mars/Venus situation and Venus has decided on the bookstore over lunch.

Much to my grandmother's dismay as she reads this, I have - on occasion - ummm… gotten lost in strange neighborhoods …and… mistakenly stopped into an adult bookstore… or two… thinking that ummm… adults need maps. (okay that's the other two percent there) Anyway I know the rules about how men behave in these places: park in the back, avoid eye contact, don't get too close to any of the other men there, pay with cash, and harbor a secret hatred for the lucky bastard that somehow manages to talk not one, but two women into going with him. Except today I'm the lucky bastard that everyone else is jealous of. While the guys there are trying to be as inconspicuous as possible the girls I'm with are exactly the opposite. They're holding some very curiously shaped items up and asking each other's opinions from across the room. Normally I would try to play this up as much as I could just to annoy the other guys there, but I don't even have to do that. One of the girls comes over with this… well it was some kind of device for men. Through some kind of advanced marketing technique it had a revolutionary packaging feature. "Look Doug, it says you can try it by putting your finger in here! Go on, try it." What the heck, I give it a shot. I have to admit that it was more suggestive than the graphics on the label. In the mean time the other girl (the allegedly shy one) is over at the display case examining various restraining equipment. "How about these handcuffs?" she asks coquettishly. "What exactly is it you're planning to do that you need to chain a person down to do it?" I ask nervously. She just smiles knowingly. The clerk, accustomed to a more subdued clientele, uses the opportunity to discuss some of the more advanced features of his wares. He also directs our attention to a case full of figurines that you won't find in the Hummel catalog. The most unusual featured a goat meeting a much more disturbing fate than the one in Darth Mel's goat story. "People buy these?" I ask while realizing I could ask that question about most of the merchandise available in the store. "Actually that's one of the most popular ones in the series. A lot of people give them as gifts." As we pay for our purchases I resist the urge to toss in a goat figurine to surprise Mel with at Christmas (it's the thought that counts). Unlike most stores this time of year, the only gift- wrapping available here was a plain brown paper bag.

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