Lots of times you don’t know if it’s a joke with Dave or not. If you survey all us folks who grew up with him from small-kid time, I think the verdict would be that most times it boils down to fun and games with him. For the most part, things are funny. But then Dave’ll lull you into thinking that, and all at once he’ll lead you down some hole, maybe throwing in a few laughs to cushion the way, but that turns out to be a question mark. Funny? Or not funny?
For instance, Dave’s an old school guy in a lot of ways. Our age kine a ways. Jes like me, he talks about how times have changed in how people aren’t polite like we remember them to have been way back.
This morning Dave said, “I don’t like how people walk around on sidewalks these days. When we was kids, folks respected other people when they walked. Guys would veer off path to pass and to allow others to pass. You remember that, right?”
“Yeah yeah, I remember that,” I said.
“I don’t see that much anymore. Do you? Like when a group approaches me on the sidewalk, and they’re all walking alongside of each other talking, so there’s no way I can walk past them without one of them stepping aside, it’s a miracle if someone does, right?”
“Yeah yeah,” I said. “It’s a miracle.”
“I mean I gotta like turn sideways and squeeze through the line like toothpaste coming outta the tube. I hate that.”
“Me too,” I said, “I really hate that.”
“Or when some dick is on his phone, and he doesn’t see he’s about to walk right into you, so you gotta get outta the way. Doesn’t that suck?”
“Yup, that definitely sucks.”
“So you know what I’ve started doing?”
I shake my head, wondering if this is going to be funny.
“Like with these cell phone idiots, when I see them coming, I pull out my own cell phone to make like I’m looking at it, and then I run into them.”
“Oh,” I said. “Hard?”
“Um, that depends. Like if the person looks like a jerk, yeah, pretty hard. But if it’s some dumb kid, maybe not so hard.”
“Oh, that’s, ah, good.”
“If it’s some jerk downtown wearing a business suit, man, I go full steam ahead.”
“Of course I always apologize. Hah! Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you. Hah! And especially if the phone is broken, maybe because I stepped on it, I’m even more sorry sounding.”
“But the funniest thing is what I call my new sidewalk strategy. Nothing to do with phones. Jes walking.”
“If it’s only one person and we’re on a narrow sidewalk, I’ll be the one to go a little sideways, little bit, but I make sure to give um the brush.”
“Yeah, with my elbow. Not really a full on hit. Just, you know, a little contact. Enough to let um know Dave was there.”
“Now for the line dancers, I got a little more exciting deal. It’s elbows again, but elbows and a little weight action.”
“Yeah, you know, I give um the elbow and I put my weight into it.”
“Yikes.” Dave is maybe 6’2’, 275. Solid muscle.
“The other day, I actually elbowed a guy off balance. If his friends hadn’t caught him, he’d have gone down for the count.”
“Wow. Did you do the apology thing?”
“Of course, brah, you gotta do the apology thing. It kinda hammers the message home. Oh, if you’d only been courteous enough to let me through, this would never have happened. See how that works?”
“Yes, ah, I guess.”
“Yesterday was kind of a bummer though for my new sidewalk strategy. I hit this one guy so hard he flew right off the sidewalk into the street. His friends tried to catch him, but was too late.”
“Was he okay?”
“Ah, nah, not really. When they loaded him into the ambulance, I felt bad.”
“But the bummer part was not knowing whether I felt more bad for the guy or for the woman who was driving.”
“Yeah, her car. She was freaking out. That was on me. I tried to shout out an apology couple times, but she couldn’t hear me, what with her crying, and the sirens, and the crowd.”
“Oh my goodness. She ran over him?”
“Yeah, well, no. Not really.”
“Oh, that’s good.”
“Yeah, he wasn’t on the ground. She hit him straight on. He actually flew through the air. It was pretty amazing.”
“His friends were all like, wow, look at that. And I could tell what they were really thinking was wow, look at that, I’m glad it’s not me.”
“I can imagine.”
“But everyone agreed it was all just a series of unfortunate events.”
Just then a couple of men walked between Dave and me. They were carrying some kind of a green door.
After they’d passed, I said, “Dave, don’t you think your strategy is a little dangerous? I mean, the guy could have been killed?”
“Eh, Lanning, people gotta learn. It’s time to bring back good manners, brah. One victim at a time.”
Okay, see, so this is one of those times, right? When Dave says that one victim at a time line, I’m thinking is he making a joke of the thing, or is he serious?