Thursday, September 27, 2012


            “I swear to God, I’m at a point where all I want in someone is a pulse.”
            “Don’t get down on yourself.”
            “I’m serious. Yesterday I tried flirting with a crossing guard.”
            “What do you mean?”
            “I’m at a red light down the street from an elementary school, and there’s a crossing guard at the corner waiting for the school to let out.”
            “Was she hot?”
            “She was at least sixty.”
            “What was your intro?”
            “ ‘If necessary, would you have to take a car for a kid?’ ”
            “I’m guessing she wasn’t receptive?
            “She said, ‘Have you ever heard of Megan’s Law?’ ”
            “Well, that’s uncalled-for.”
            “That’s what I said!”
            “Of course bringing up her mortality may not have been the savviest icebreaker.”
            “The icebreaker’s always been my problem. I’m like a golfer who can’t get off the tee.”
            “You should try an online dating service.”
            “No, seriously. My friend Mark met his fiancĂ©e on JDate.”
            “Mark’s Jewish?”
            “I don’t know, man.”
            “I’m telling you, it’s all about confidence. You just be yourself – not obnoxiously, but unapologetically – and people will gravitate.”
            “Easy for you to say. You’ve never had a problem.”
            “It’s not about quantity. I had to sift through a lot of rough to finally find a diamond.”
            “How are things with Meredith?”
            “Good! She’s a lot more comfortable around the family now. In fact my mother invited her down to the shore with us this summer, and she said yes. She even wants to meet you and the guys.”
            “Yeah, she’s really let a lot of her guard down. She’s started telling me more about where she’s coming from, her parents and college and all that.”
            “Is it that bad?”
            “I mean, I don’t think so. But I can see how she got scarred and why she’s gun-shy about opening up. I’ll go into details with you one day. But right now she’s just coming out of her shell and she trusts me, and…”
            “Don’t worry about it. When we’re friendly enough, she can tell me.”
            “I appreciate that, man.”
            “But let me ask you. How is she with you drinking?”
            “She’s fine with it. But I limit myself to one out of consideration for her.”
            “That’s downright chivalrous of you.”
            “I think so.”
            “Have you guys talked more about the A.A.?”
            “A little, yeah. She’s actually in a good place where she can talk about it and she’s rarely tempted. And when she is, she immediately calls her sponsor and then she’s fine again.”
            “What are those meetings like?”
            “I don’t know. I’ve never been to one.”
            “But what does she say about them?”
            “Mostly generalities. She takes the Anonymous part seriously, so she keeps the specifics confined to her.”
            “You know, I heard something recently about A.A. I heard for your fifth year of sobriety they give you a cake.”
            “I don’t know. She’s not there yet.”
            “Yeah, apparently they make a big to-do of it.”
            “Yeah, they wheel the cake out on a cart and they sing and clap and chant or something.”
            “Well, not like some Druidic rite or anything. But the cake is supposed to be outrageous.”
            “ ‘Outrageous?’ ”
            “Yeah, it’s supposed to be this secret A.A. recipe that gets passed down by word-of-mouth. Like it’s not written anywhere.”
            “It’s supposed to be so delicious that everyone comes to the meeting even if they don’t attend religiously anymore. I’ve heard people who were in the program but fell off the wagon will even abstain for as long as possible beforehand. That way they can go into the meeting with a clean conscience and enjoy the cake. And if they catch a drunk there, all of A.A., wherever he goes, will ostracize him from that point on. But first they tie him to a chair and make him watch as they feast on the delectable cake.”
            “What the hell are you talking about?”
            “I’m talking about A.A. cake.”
            “Who cares about cake?”
            “It’s really good cake. This one guy on a message board called it, quote, ‘the culinary equivalent of a threesome with Helen of Troy and a thousand-dollar bill.’ ”
            “You believe everything you read on the internet?”
            “Everything about A.A. cake.”
            “Stop calling it ‘A.A. cake.’ ”
            “What would you call it?”
            “I wouldn’t call it anything because I wouldn’t be sitting here talking about cake, be it A.A. cake, N.A. cake, or KKKake!”
            “Can you get Meredith to get me some cake?”
            “Are you crazy?”
            “I’m not asking her to get you cake.”
            “Well, can she get me into a meeting?”
            “Why not?”
            “Because I’m not asking the woman I love to sneak you into Alcoholics Anonymous so you can steal some goddamn cake!”
            “You got to help me get some of that cake. I need that cake!”
            “Are you my friend?”
            “Don’t pull that on me.”
            “I’m not, I’m not. As my friend, can I confide in you?”
            “I have met someone through the internet.”
            “Really? Where?”
            “Yeast explosion dot com.”
            “What the hell is that?”
            “It’s a website for baked goods.”
            “You sure it wasn’t, yeast infection dot com?”
            “Yeah, I’m sure. Anyway, I was on yeast explosion dot com – ”
            “What were doing on a website for baked goods?”
            “It doesn’t matter.”
            “What were you doing there?”
            “I thought it was yeast infection dot com.”
            “ANYWAY… I was there and I started chatting with this guy who’s looking to take his bakery to the next level. He started talking about how great it would be for him if he could get his hands on the recipe for A.A. cake. So I told him I knew someone in A.A.”
            “And I told him I’d try to get the recipe or at least a sample – ”
            “No. I mean why are you trying to seduce a guy?”
            “Not him! We made a deal: I give him the A.A. cake, he gives me his daughter.”
            “HIS DAUGHTER!?!”
            “I’ll ask again: are – you – crazy!?!”
            “What? It’s on the up-and-up.”
            “No it’s not! He’s pimping his daughter!”
            “It’s fine. He says she’s very slow and stammers like Claudius. So if you think about it, what I’m doing is straight-up benevolent.”
            “Does she have a say in this?”
            “He says as long as I take her once a week to McDonald’s and let her go in the playground, she won’t even notice.”
            “Oh my God, I don’t think I can be friends with you anymore.”
            “Don’t judge me! When you’re a lost cause, you take what you can get!”
            “I told you, if you have confidence – ”
            “I will have confidence if you get me some A.A. cake.”
            “I want you to listen to me very carefully. I will never betray the woman I am going to marry so that you can infiltrate a group of people whose health depends on anonymity, steal some fabled pastry with spurious properties, and use it to barter with an unscrupulous scumbag you met on the internet in exchange for a retarded girl who may or may not be his daughter!”
            “You only care about yourself.”