The other day at work one of the guys in my hub told me he saw a plane driving around Alpharetta. I had no idea how to take this. I’m a pretty straightforward guy. I don’t play word games, I don’t intentionally try to confuse people to make them feel stupid. I feel that people are stupid enough on their own without my help. But the wonderful folks I work with frequently engage in attempts to make one another feel terrible about themselves. The dumber and more worthless you can make somebody feel, the more awesome you are I guess. It’s like high school except with middle-aged rednecks.
I avoid these games, but it doesn’t mean I’m not exposed to them from time to time. So naturally when I was told about the plane driving around town I was suspicious. The best way to handle it when you think one of these people is fucking with you is to not react. So when he told me about his airplane, I just sort of went, “Huh.”
I have an outstanding “Huh”. It’s so incredibly ambivalent that you know it’s dismissive, but you can’t really say anything about it. I got it from my dad. Years of showing him drawings and writing and paintings and whatnot allowed me to experience that masterful inflection over and over again. I can even do the same little eyebrow motion he did. It’s so condescending and yet so unassailable.
Note: I have vowed never to use this technique on my own son.
So I gave my co-worker the “Huh”. But then he blew my mind by producing these:
To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I was positive he was trying to set me up, but sure enough, there was an airplane car. He was really excited about it, but I was not impressed. Don’t get me wrong, it is impressive; I just didn’t feel like it was something I would want to ride around in. The guy assured me that it was a work in progress and he thought it was going to be awesome, but I just couldn’t let him have it. No matter how much it looked like a fancy plane when it was done, it was still going to look dorky.
Yeah – I guess I could’ve been nicer about it.
But then I realized the one way that it could be cool. Awesome, even. And that was if it had a rad mural on the side like a van form the seventies.
By this point we had a bit of an audience, and I tend to work best that way. So I elaborated on how there would have to be a dragon fighting a wizard. Even better, there could be a unicorn riding a fire-breathing dragon fighting a barbarian wizard with laser beams shooting out of his hands. Another guy said the dragon should be breathing naked women instead of fire and I thought that was a stroke of genius.
So I utilized my admittedly modest artistic skills and did this: