Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Use Me Up.

My friends feel it's their appointed duty
They keep trying to tell me
All you want to do is use me
Ha, ha, but my answer, ha, ha
Yeah, to all that use me stuff
Is I wanna spread the news
That if it feels this good getting used
Oh, you just keep on using me
Until you use me up
- Bill Withers

Good morning/afternoon, Speak™ readers. It's been a nice long layoff for me but I am back again to quench your blogging thirsts. Hopefully, I still have some readers out there. Writing in the summer is particularly difficult – it's hot, the sun is inviting you to come and play – and you're stuck in your office/cubicle/mailroom... thinking about ice cream sandwiches and dipping your feet in some water that isn't your bathtub. Sorry for digressing - the show must go on!

1994. Freshman Year of High School.
I was 12 years old, spry and full of life (and lunch money). I was also socially inept and ill-prepared for the rigors of the high school world (notably at one of the most notorious schools in the city of Chicago for breeding snooty adolescents and snobby attitudes). Not being the most social kid at the time, I clung to the dear friends I had during that time [Mr. H, The Corporate Grown Man, Gregg Calumet, etc.] and relished our lunchtime conversations, which generally were about sports, music, cars and women (actually we still talk about those things – but that's not the point...).

One woman in particular at that time, was always a huge conversation piece. For this exercise, we'll call her Bananas. Bananas was a 5-foot-nothing spitfire who could light up the room with her very presence. I became a disheveled mixture of sweat and nerves whenever she even looked in my direction. I think in one particular conversation my voice cracked about 25 times in a 2 minute span – my unofficial personal record.

Imagine to my surprise the one day she asked me to walk her to class. Class?!! I would have walked to hell in gasoline underwear for that girl! From that point on, we were inseparable. We walked to class, to the bus and ate lunch everyday. If she needed anything, I mean anything, she never had to hesitate to ask – good ol' Jorge was there for the rescue!

My boys never let me hear the end of it.

She's got you whipped.
You’re her slave.
Did you at least get to rub her butt yet?

Alas, I had not. Her butt was definitely un-rubbed but I was happy just being with her. In fact, [insert random romantic holiday here] was coming up and I had to set my lady out. I went all out (well, at least as far out a 12-year old could go on a 20 dollar a week allowance). I bought flowers, candy, teddy bears, and cards; lugged them to my locker; patiently waiting for her arrival so she could shower me with kisses and adoration.

Finally, she showed up. My heart started beating a million miles a minute. Smooches, here I come! Wait a minute... who is that guy behind her? Why is he hugging on her like that? Is he rubbing her butt?!! What in the world?!!

Turns out, Bananas had a man the entire time – and was using me to get food, gifts and my [mom’s] hard-earned cash. I was crushed – but I realized I was using her as well – for her attention. This taught me a valuable lesson: everyone is a user – some people just do it better than others.

Some of you might be thinking: I would never use anyone –that's just wrong!

Sure you would; you just might not be cognizant of the fact that you're doing it. It's my job to help you and recognize the symptoms and help you deal with them. You might be a user if you:

Use For Connections
You might know that person who has their hand in a million different pots and can get you a hook-up on free cable, discounted items or something that be considered of value. You generally only call this person up when you really have to.

Use For Property
I had a friend who was always dressed in really stylish gear. It seemed like he had something new on every time I saw him, like he had an entirely different wardrobe. He did have a different wardrobe – his roommate's.

Use For Decoy
Have you ever been out and seen a group of females where everyone looked like wildebeests mating, except for one knockout? This was a recurring theme whenever I would go out to bars and clubs across Nashville. One day, I asked a young lady why she hung out with obviously unattractive counterparts. She coolly replied that they made her look better. Yes, ladies (and some gents) – we know some of you are guilty of this heinous crime... please leave your ugly friends (and their surly demeanors) in the house!

Use For Personal Gain
While in college, I used to hear horror stories about females who would just go out with guys just to get out of the dorm. They had no romantic interest in these dudes; they just smiled their way into a warm meal and a movie. One causality who succumbed to this sham was a young man named Sweet Vic. He was all thumbs around the ladies – a side effect of being overzealous, nervous and horny. Sweet Vic opened up his heart and wallet to any female who offered some attention and the sight of some flesh. Unfortunately, the majority of the time, young Sweet Vic ended up a lonely chauffeur with very light pockets.

That in itself is a tragic tale and I am very remorseful for the people who have ended up like Sweet Vic but in keeping with the theme of this blog, I used this information so that I would not make the same fatal mistake. Remember everyone is a user, just make sure you have the upper hand and make sure you use my name when you prophesize my words to others.

Back again on Thursday!

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