“We need to talk.”
“Have you any idea what time it is?”
“Yeah, it’s 2:10 am.”
“Can’t this wait until tomorrow?”
“Nope, we have to talk now.”
Anyone who knows my buddy Stan is familiar with this pattern. After pulling some ridiculous stunt, he will put off what he knows he needs to do until he is in crisis and then he hits the panic button.
The panic button is the DIAL icon on his phone.
For some strange reason, this usually occurs shortly after 2:00 am. I think it has something to do with bar closing hours.
However this time, it was me calling him rather than him calling me.
A storm had woken my wife. She had been up for half an hour padding about the house in her slippers before she roused me and said, “Call Stan, NOW!.”
I never ask why when she does things like that. She has a sixth sense about people and when she tells me to call Stan to avert a crisis, I do it – but then guessing that Stan is in crisis is a pretty safe bet.
“What do you want to talk about?” Stan asked.
“I have absolutely no idea,” I told him.
“So why did you call me at this ungodly hour?”
“I was told to.”
“That makes perfect sense,” he said.
It was raining where he was too, I could hear it over the phone, along with the hiss of tires and loud voices calling to each other across the street. I figured he was in the warehouse district of Minneapolis. There are a lot of bars there.
“You know you have issues, Stan.”
“Failing to realize you have issues, is an issue.”
“You are unreliable.”
“Selfish and self-absorbed.”
“Does that count as one flaw or two?”
“Can you say anything good about me?” he asked.
I had to think about that.
Stan always did things the hard way. For as long as I knew him, the guy could never follow the rules.
In first grade, when the rest of us learned our ABC’s, Stan tripped over the rule that says ‘B’ follows ‘A’. He simply could not hold his focus that long. When we learned to count to ten, he stalled at zero. Nor could he wait patiently in line nor stop talking in class.
But here is the strange thing, despite the fact that he couldn’t grasp the basics, or that the nuns beat the crap out of him and the rest of the kids called him stupid, Stan thrived.
He wasn’t stupid. He was a kind of savant.
Where everyone else sees chaos, Stan sees patterns. He is able to perceive a current of life that flows deeper than rules or laws and he operates on that level while the rest of us swirl and bob about on the surface of things.
He became a very successful engineer, a machine-whisperer of sorts and unlike the stereotype of the nerd or geek, he developed a knack with people. He gets along with everyone and though he drives them crazy by trashing every social convention, people still love him, though few understand why.
As I pondered these things, the only sound that passed between us was the drumbeat of rain ringing against the roofs and hoods of cars that was picked up by the speaker on his phone.
He must have been walking through a parking lot.
“I’ll admit my flaws,” he said, “but they have always worked for me. You, on the other hand, are the one who needs to change.”
“Yeah you. You always put off what you know you are supposed to do until it becomes a crisis.”
“Like what?” I asked. I was flabbergasted that he would resort to the tactic of trying to turn this around on me.
“Like your leaky roof,” he said. “Don’t you know that is why you called me? I had guessed your wife told you to call me the minute my phone rang. Did she step in a puddle? And how long have you been putting off fixing that leak and how many times has she complained about it?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How did he know about my roof?
“You better get to it first thing tomorrow.”
“I… I… I….”
“Dude, you know you have issues.”
42 thoughts on “My Flaws”
Great post. Stan is a lot like my son [43 now and a welder]. My son does most things by the rules but often is asking questions about those rules. His IQ is in the high 140s.
They say about some places, “it’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.” Sounds like hanging out with Stan is kinda like that – you wouldn’t want to spend all your time with him, but a visit every now and then makes life much more interesting.
I have heard that said about grand-kids too. (Oops, did I really write that?)
Wonder if your wife called Stan first… 🙂
I wouldn’t put it past her.
welcome back, stan. i think i spotted him in austin the other day. maybe whispering to a machine at the spam museum.
If you venture down this way to visit the museum, remember to stop by. You are always welcome. Also there is a great bookstore just across the street from the museum
So, I confess that we were in Austin one day last week, just to poke around. It was one of those last-minute decisions. I adore the bookstore.
I hope we’re still your friends even though we didn’t call you while in town.
Most of my friends sneak in amd out of Austin without stopping by. 🙂
Too funny. I guess we all have issues here and there. Otherwise, we wouldn’t get married or have friends.
Spouses and friends rarely help us with our issues. Their job is to constantly remind us about them.
Face it, he may be a pain in the wazoo, but the world needs more Stans! And I bet your wife was grateful you called him…..
She will be grateful once the roof is replaced. I did call the roof guys on Monday. Now all I have to do is figure out a way to pay for it. 🙂
Stan is Stan, and he’s great, but this one was worth the reading just to find the phrase “padding about” in the middle of it. I can’t remember ever having read that one, anywhere, although I heard it a good bit in Iowa. Perhaps I heard it only in our household. Perhaps it was only my mother who used it. In any event, it was like having an old friend drop in with a lexical cake. Wonderful.
Hmmmm, I wonder what a lexical bagel would sound like?
Seriously, I don’t know how that came into my head, whether I heard it or just made it up to create an image. Who knows? All I know is that the more I write, the more things like this bubble their way onto the page.
When you titled it, “My Flaws” I was worried it would be too long to read in a day. Good luck with the roof… and Stan.
It used to be that enumerating one’s flaws was a tedious and time consuming process. Now, Voilà, we have computers!
I missed Stan.
I did too, but that is the nature of Stan. He will disappear on some adventure then suddenly reappear, in crisis, with a truckload of stuff (of dubious title) to store in my shed.
I left your post until I had everything else read so I could end my blog reading on a high note and a chuckle. You always come through. Here’s hoping all is well on the home front. We, married folks, all understand. 🙂
Lately, I have been putting off writing until all my other chores are done. I do have a roof that needs re-shingling, the satellite TV guy knocked out the power to my shed installing a dish and the garden, oh the garden, has been taken over by weeds that go from seed to small tree in a single evening.
I’ve been missing Stan….
Now that he has shown up again, perhaps he will stay for a story or two.
No puddles. No leaks. No Stan. But lots of tasks unbegun . I’m beginning to think I’ll I might need a Stan
He is motivational…. unless it is about something you need him to do, then he is demotivational.
I know it always twists, but it annoys the crap out of me when it twists in a direction I never expected it to twist!
Ah, but that is the trick. I spend my days walking out on country roads devising ways to annoy the crap out of my readers. 🙂
This is a classic! Like I’ve said before, your bride is sharp as a tack. Thanks for the hearty laugh. You never fail to deliver .
🔹 Ginger 🔹
She is sharp and always worth a laugh. 🙂
Nicely done. Nothing like the wife discovering a leaking anything. That’s on you, every time.
I try to remind her that I did not cause the roof to leak so it should not be on me to fix it. Never works.
It’s part of your domain.
HAHA! Boy she ALWAYS gets you in the end. Didn’t see this one coming! Well done
She is a kind of savant in that way. She always knows how to get her way, but then I have my talents too. I know how to avoid doing whatever she wants me to do until the last moment.
Stan’s not just a machine-whisperer…he hears houses, too.
Although, usually he interprets what he hears from them as some variation of “I’ve got a good place to store some of your stuff right here…”
There might even be an assumed ‘wink’ from a flickering porch light.
That would be my wife. She is an HGTV addict. She keeps hearing our house whisper, “spend money on me, spend money.”
People do like Stan stories.
Had me laughing. Fabulous, Greg.
Glad to entertain, John. I guess that is why we do what we do.
So true. (I just had to complete the sonnet line.)
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