Chris Tucker. Rush Hour.
Funshine: “Am I supposed to get the meaning behind your comment? . . . I'm sorry Chris we just don't hang out enough for me to get your language”
Renard: “Chris, I still remember . . . the strangest things coming out of your mouth.”
Stems: “How do you do that? Are you making this stuff up right now?”
Evidently, I have my own language. Chrispeak. Unfortunately, I seem to be the only one that’s fluent. I don’t know if I can teach you how to speak it, but I can provide some basic principles that should at least make interpretation easier.
1. Welcome to the Gun Show.
I like to flex. Some people flex by using words like sacrosanct or soporific or supernal. And that’s all fine and well; I do that sometimes. But that’s really the fast-track to pretentious, not flexible. I like to flex by connecting things. Stems was confused because I picked up some banjo picks (which I didn’t bend) and started talking about homemade Catwoman suits, Michelle Pfeiffer playing the banjo etc. If I don’t keep connecting things I get bored. So expect frequent jumps to topics that are only loosely related, and enjoy the ride.
2. Just the Facts Mam.
I like to flex, and don’t mind how convoluted and inefficient conversations get because of it. But I hate conversations being inefficient for no reason. So I nearly always skip the “How’re the kids” and the “Goodbye” parts of the conversation. Jump into it, then keep moving.
3. Everybody lies.
Bookwormwood and Husky have taken to questioning every little thing I say, which I must say, is counterproductive. I lie for the same reason I connect banjos and Batman; it’s flexing. It’s easy to tell the truth, it’s hard to come up with convincing and entertaining lies. But I’m not actually trying to bear false witness, just entertain, myself and/or others. So almost always (excluding stories about twins or ice cream eating championships) I’ll tell you which parts were lies by the end of the conversation. Another clue: if it’s funny it’s fake, if it’s boring it’s the truth. Why would I make a boring lie? And when is the truth of my life funny?
I was recently asked if I’m ever serious. Making out, temple sessions, suicidal patients, residency interviews, I’ve yet to encounter an experience where flippant remarks didn’t come to mind. Obviously I censor myself when necessary, but it’s so rarely necessary. Meaningful doesn’t require boring, and jokes shouldn’t restrict conversation, they should enhance it.
5. Keep Your Enemies Closer.
If I’m making fun of you, chances are very good that I like you, and feel that your ego strength is sufficient to withstand my barrage. I try not to make fun of people I don’t like, and if I do, it’s certainly not to their face. So if you’re being mocked, you’re in like flint. If you’re not, I may not be too fond of you. Or maybe you have no foibles to flaunt.
6. Nothing Bears Repeating.
I hate retelling stories. I hate hearing stories retold. However, I love being self referential. So I don’t want to retell the story about Shoneys, but I want to be able to compare things to it. Unfortunately this means I prefer my company to have been with me for past experiences so we have the same pool of experiences. Which means I tend to keep talking to the same people. So part of Chrispeak is that it discourages branching out.
I’m a tv/movie/music/(former) literature person. Even if I don’t like a certain element of our culture, I try to at least be aware of it. My average conversation would have a lot of footnotes to various media. If you don’t have the cultural background, the conversation may not make a lot of sense. This is why I’ve given up talking to exchange students.
8. Jump . . . to Conclusions.
I often jump straight to the punchline/conclusion without laying out all the groundwork. When it works we save a lot of time. When it doesn’t, just ask me to start at the beginning.
Hopefully these points will make me little less indecipherable. Because we all want to be decipherable.
Media referenced in blog post: Rush Hour, CareBears, Batman Returns, Anchorman, Dragnet, internetese, The Godfather, SpongeBob, Office Space