Published Thursday, 23-Feb-2006 in issue 948
Sometimes when you get on the go you tend to neglect the little things in life that you need to do to keep yourself in tip-top shape. Whether it’s impressing people with your shirt off at the bar or flashing a winning smile at a moment’s notice when you see a hot guy at the mall, every once in a while you need to take time for the little things. Because after all, isn’t there always room for improvement?
The night was young and the drinks were flowing. It was my softball teammate Steve’s birthday party, and we kicked things off by enjoying the Saturday night entertainment at Martinis Above Fourth, Vintage Vegas, before heading off to Numbers, where both dance floors were packed with a hot crowd. Alex was still not happy with my last column, which had started with a walk of shame, and he wasn’t afraid to walk over and pick up a copy of the GLT to prove his point.
“Are you running out of funny things to say?” my teammate and friend Rich asked as he flipped through the paper to find my column.
“Yes, he is!” Alex said before I could get a word out. “It’s not that funny. I kept telling him that.”
“You haven’t read it,” I protested.
“I don’t need to. I know funny,” Alex countered.
“No, you know bitchy,” I insisted.
“That too!” Alex said, taking a drink of his Strawberry Drop Martini.
It’s funny, I work all day on Friday and then go to bartend and shake martinis until I’m exhausted. Every week, somewhere around 11:00 p.m., when all of my buddies are heading out to The Flame or to Rich’s after letting me get them good and buzzed, I get this second wind. I always ask them where they’re headed so I can run home, change clothes and meet up with them.
Lately, I’ve been trying to be better about this, because softball practice has started up and the spring season is just around the corner for the America’s Finest City Softball League (www.afcsl.org). And, really, softball practice at 10:00 a.m. the next day with a hangover is not pretty.
So some of my friends were a little shocked to see me when I showed up at Rich’s on a Friday night a few weeks ago.
“I thought you were going home after work because you have softball practice,” my friend Tyler asked upon my arrival.
“I was, but I bailed on practice because I have to take KC to the vet tomorrow,” I explained. My dog, KC, needed a little checkup. “I can’t do softball practice with a hangover, but the vet I can handle. I’m such a good parent, huh?”
I was on my own for dinner with Alex. Our friend Brian out of town for the big gay ski week at Whistler, but we kept with our regular routine and headed out to Baja Betty’s for the Monday night Cheap Date Special. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit.
I was hitting up Alex to help out at work on an upcoming Friday night, because we were looking to have some shirtless guys pass around shots for a couple of events – our big Valentine’s Day party and then a Mardi Gras kick-off night, which leads up to next week’s Hillcrest Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Alex turned me down flat, complaining about how the rest of the guys had visible abs and he didn’t. I contended that he had better arms than all of us, but it was to no avail. I couldn’t convince him even though I reminded him that he always gave me a hard time about my body, and I was willing to pass out shots shirtless.
“Fine. Yes, you do have a nice body,” Alex grudgingly admitted.
“You know that means a lot to me coming from you,” I said, feeling like I had achieved a small victory of some sort.
I had been in the mood to take care of all the little things we sometimes forget about. For me, that included a visit to my dentist, Dr. Okihara, so I could get a checkup and my teeth cleaned. For my dog, KC, that meant a visit to the vet, because I was getting the suspicion that he was allergic to something since he couldn’t stop scratching. (Turns out I was right – he had a flea allergy.)
One shot later and KC was a happy camper again, so I decided to stop off at his favorite store, Dogma-Catma, to buy him a new toy. That afternoon, my softball teammate John called to see how everything went at the vet since I had missed practice. I explained the allergy remedy that included a shot of steroids.
“I halfway expect to come home from work and find him rearranging the furniture by now,” I explained. “Because, yes, my dog really is that gay.”
So Brian had been out of town and missed two of our regular Monday night dinners, and we had a lot of catching up to do. I explained over a Kick Ass Margarita (served by Lee, my favorite waiter at Baja Betty’s), that I had a lot of work to do on my column since it was due the next day.
Explaining these columns when they’re still a free-form jumble in my head can be hard at times, partly because I never know what I’m going to feel like – partly because my head can be a scary place at times. However, I did point out that I was going to be including a comment from my friend Rich, who I had left out of the previous column. (I was reminded of this fact at length.)
“You can’t put that in,” Brian declared.
“But he felt left out that I didn’t include him in the column last month, so I have to now,” I explained.
“Well, be nice,” Brian insisted.
“When was the last time I wasn’t nice to someone in my column?” I contended.
“Um, Cliff?” Brian said, citing the column where my long-distance “thing” came to a crashing end.
“Well, he deserved that,” I responded. “Besides, that wasn’t mean, it was catty, and that’s funny. You can even ask Alex. I’m sure he would agree.”
So yeah, not every joke is a winner, as my friend Alex pointed out, and there is always room for improvement. However, I have no shortage of crazy friends and antics to keep things interesting in my life and in this column. The thing is, when you see something that you can improve on, do it. Whether that means getting your teeth cleaned, spending a little extra time at the gym, cleaning your house or taking time out to build your friendships, there is always room for improvement.