How to silence an oafish boor

24 Jul

There is nothing worse than getting stuck at the dinner table with a pompous international agent of some sort who prattles on about the unbelievable hit he just made on a French textiles executive, or the time he removed the nose from Egypt’s former ambassador to the UN.

“I flew with it in my trousers pocket,” he says, pausing for a sip of rare, Vietnamese whiskey. “They discovered it as I went through customs, in Amsterdam.”

“What did you tell them it was?” your host asks, breathlessly.

“Why a nose, of course.”

There is a smattering of polite laughter. You grimace.

How do you deal with this oafish boor? If you have to hear one more story about political subterfuge or the ineptitude of the CIA, or how he once stole a Gulfstream G5 in the middle of the night from a private airport in Monaco while carrying the Japanese Minister of Cultural Affairs, who was naked and tripping on acid, you think you might puke.

“Can we talk about something else for a change?” you ask, loudly, interrupting a long-winded story about how the Cardinal Camerlengo from the Vatican, dressed as a call girl – a call girl – once blew his cover during an arms deal on Yasser Arafat’s yacht and agents from the Israeli Mossad had to save everyone’s life, a fact the Vatican and the PLO would never admit, and he swears he’ll never work for terrorists again.

Now everyone is looking at you. Of course, you haven’t assassinated any world leaders lately, but you do have a pretty interesting job.

“Tell us about your job, Nelson,” the host says.

“Well, I’m a Wal-Mart greeter,” you say. “I go like this: welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome. Sometimes, if it’s slow, I say, ‘welcome to Wal-Mart.’ If it’s busy and I miss someone, I chase them down and tap them on the shoulder and say, ‘welcome to Wal-Mart.’ It’s the Wal-Mart way. Wal-Mart: Unbeatable low prices.”

At this point, everyone should stand up and applaud wildly, cheering and wiping the tears from their eyes. The men should hand out cigars and the women should slip you their phone numbers and/or hotel room keys.

If they don’t you should probably get different friends.

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