Thick Skin
by Christopher Malone - Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

(Blog) “I don’t like you because your sideburns are so tight!”

Hello.  Welcome.  Take a seat.  Grab some coffee, or tea, or a water if you prefer.  Glad that we could meet at such an opportune moment.  Please, let me move that newspaper from that spot at the table.  You’re probably wondering why a bottle of water, a ginger ale, a cup of chamomile tea and a bottle of that thick, pink goo is sitting next to my laptop.  Don’t mind my stretching and groaning, because a smile will still be on my face as these acts are over-exaggerated.

Ah, who is the one being joked with?  We’re not in a coffee shop, but in my bedroom.  I’m writing this up, introducing myself to you, and you’re uncomfortable and awkward while sitting at the foot of my bed.  Hey, this state was not asked for.  The beverages listed above are on my nightstand, but here is wishing that they weren’t.  Instead of the Pepto, why not have a Guinness, instead?  The tea would still be there, the water and the ginger ale; I do not drink soda, however.  A shot of Mother’s Milk could be resting next to them, waiting to be dropped in when the Guinness height gets to a specific level.  No, I’m not that big of a drinker, but (a) I am a quarter Irish, (b) the day this post is being written is St. Patrick’s Day, and importantly (3) today is my brother’s birthday.  However, consuming anything with the slightest bit of alcohol would not do anyone good.  This is aside from Syracuse having a party time of the year.

But when doesn’t Syracuse have a good time?

If I were a wee lad, last night’s kneeling would have had a side of tears, because that whole liquidation process is never any fun.  As adults, we cry after the process and after examining ourselves in the mirror; eyes are half open, dropping a couple pounds could have been done differently, and your hair is a mess.  You’d rub your eyes, sulk and emit an exaggerated and sobbing I’m so hideous before gurgling mouthwash.  Maybe you’ll convince yourself that you’re melting.

* * *

Thick Skin Let’s get something straight about this sickness of mine, probably; it had nothing to do with the Irish, blaming the Irish or (if this pertains to you) you having a long St. Patrick’s Parade Day.  It’s my arrogance regarding my immune system.  This was another year of my refusing the flu shot, because of my desire to build immunity.  When it comes time for me to be a parent, my kids will be encouraged to play outside and roll around in mud.

This year, one of the coldest winters of my life, running (with proper gear, of course) was not much fun.  However, somehow, a cold never struck me or slowed me down.  Knock on wood.  Up until this morning, it was pleasing to recognize my inability to get sick this year.  A fun fact: Since my graduating college in 2005, I’ve called in sick only four times, and two of those were results of my peers forcing me to go home.  It’s dumb of me to risk getting others sick, but it had to have been entertaining to see my body slouching to dead weight in the chair.  Unfortunately, Mr. Flu is rubbing its delinquent hands.

Parade Day is an anticipated Saturday every year.  Sometimes it falls on St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s oftentimes a couple days short (unless our beloved Syracuse Orange basketball team is playing; then the parade is moved).  The parade was watched on television; each year, my brother and his girlfriend host a brunch where family and friends bring copious amounts of food, but dishes are never duplicated.  We fill up and regret the consumption.  It’s bad enough Green Beer Sunday comes in late February,and people jump the gun on Irish and wannabe-Irish festivities.

Can I just say that the Irish should not be getting such bad reputations as they have for years?  A Washington Times article states it clearly. I’m glad retail stores are taking a step back on the foreign-made goods that promote a lousy stereotype of the Irish.  I’m not a fan of gimmicks, and I am not fond of  putting down any nationality.  However, that’s a sign that the personal maturing process is on a successful route.

To be appropriate, our stops were Kitty Hoynes, Limerick Pub and Blarney Stone (for food).  Anxiety on my part was ignored, and readers will come to learn this about my nervousness with large crowds; people yelling at unreasonable volumes to a friend, who you can simply text, on the other side of a crowded bar; people giving horseback rides and plowing into you, causing the richly dark porter to spill down the front of you.  However, the staffs of each pub were all attentive and did not stop moving.  From out of nowhere, one of the Limerick’s staffers brought me a wet towel to dab on my stained shirt.  A very pretty young woman caught my attention at Hoynes; she wore green Converse All-Stars to complement my orange ones.  The guy, who was standing outside of Blarney was a riot; as he approached, he spoke in a very gravelly British accent.

“‘Ey.  ’Ey!  You!  Look.  I don’t like you.

I glared at him, questioning his statement.  I’m thinking this guy is going to beat the piss out of me.

I don’t like you,” he continued, “because your sideburns are so tight.

A dumbfounded look crossed my face.  ”Thanks, man,” I said.

But I don’t like you, because of your sideburns.  They’re TIGHT!

He emphasized tight with lifting his beer in the air and his other hand upon his thigh. We attempted an elaborate handshake, but failed.

* * *

What does this post have anything to do with this blog?

coffee_ring_ouroboros-250px-darkerIt’s an introduction, simply.  It’s a prelude to your inevitable getting to know me.  It’s a sample of the snark and sarcasm that will follow in upcoming posts.  It’s stretching before going out for a run with this 31-year-old Syracuse born-and-raised resident.  It’s the beginning of a different kind of tour of Syracuse, a nook of Central New York that that our friends at NoExcuses cannot actually walk you around.  (That would be interesting, however, if Michael or Christie could walk you around the Internet.)

These are simply words to make up chapters of a story that will be part of a greater whole.  These observations will give a take on the area we’ve grown to live in and love, to move from and move back to, or because it was your decision to move here.  You may enjoy most of this, you may not.  It happens, and my posts might take some getting used to.

This blog is that inevitable coffee ring that can be found clearly on a table-buffering napkin.  These are the words, the thoughts within that circle, making up the space that no one really considers.   Why?  Who doesn’t enjoy a good conversation over coffee, or tea, or Pepto.

Christopher Malone is the author of The Infinite Abyss(es) and also writes for Kinane Blue.

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