I have writing projects I work on each day and sometimes when I achieve a high level of concentration and get in a good writing rhythm and spend hours and hours alone, it can be hard to transition to normal human conversation when my wife enters my office and tells me we’re late for one of the many, many parties to which we’re constantly invited.
This is why the pockets of my smoking jacket are full of note cards listing various prompts such as ‘interesting topics of conversation on which I’m an expert,’ ‘offensive statements to quickly end dull conversation,’ and ‘reasons I was late to the party.’
Sorry, I Was Late to the Party
The holiday season is here and it’s the perfect time to update the ‘reasons I was late to the party’ note card in anticipation of holiday gatherings. The trick is to get them talking about something besides you being late.
“We drove up on time but we realized we had left the kids back at the Indian restaurant where we bought the samosas for the party. When we went back to the restaurant the kids were gone and the samosas were cold. Ordering more samosas took another twenty minutes before we could drive back here.” (This will only work if you brought samosas to the party. And have kids. And didn’t bring the kids.)
Enter while holding your phone to your ear and shouting, “Great! I’m glad! Go for it, pal! Yeah, I’m really scared! Not if I shoot you first! Not if I shoot you first! Go for it! Take a shot! Well, are you gonna shoot me in the face or are you just gonna talk about shooting me in the face? I’m waiting for you at…um…” Then turn to the host and ask, “What’s the address here?”
“I was busy polishing my medals. It always takes longer than last time because the trophy case keeps growing.”
If you hope to steer the party conversation towards your being a huge financial success, walk into the party while shouting into your phone, “Buy low! Sell high! Market capitalization! Profits! Limit tax exposure! Bond yields! More profits!”
“Can you believe one small rash could require a hospital quarantine? Luckily I slipped out while they were debating whether to call the Center for Disease Control.”
“When the invitation said significant other, my wife and I spent an hour arguing about whether that meant mistresses.”
Arrive out of breath and ask, “Does anyone else hear a police siren? Were the police here earlier? Why do I ask? No reason.”
“You would not believe how long it took to convince my wife to come inside. I finally told her, ‘Honey, couldn’t you just as easily bad mouth those people inside where it’s warm instead of bad-mouthing them outside in the cold?’”
I should make clear that the reason people will overlook you being late is because they’ll be saying other things about you.
Did your kids seem ungrateful for the homemade video games you knitted them for Christmas last year?
Are you engaged to someone who sympathizes with the evil tycoon, Mr. Potter, over George Bailey while watching It’s a Wonderful Life and you wonder if this a bad sign?
Are you wondering whether it’s okay for your Christian kids to celebrate Hanukkah, just in case?
Please submit your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus-themed questions on the Dear Good Greatsby page.