Monday, January 02, 2012

Corny Lines: Number One Cause of Spousal Eye-Rolling for Over 10 Years

Over the years I have managed to come up with a few choice lines that I can use in social situations to mask my social phobia(s); In this case, my fear of talking to/with strangers.

Unfortunately, my wife has heard them all; Over and over again. So it occurred to me that I could list these out so others can annoy their own spouses with them as well!

Surely I've missed a few of my suave "des phrases intelligentes" but the ones below will certainly be sufficient for you to begin your stroll down the same dark path I've trampled for you.

I've provided some context for these since it occurred to me while I was writing down the ones I could remember that they may be a bit too ripe for the double entendre treatment without context. So if you like, please look them over again with one eye closed and throw in a couple of that's-what-she-said's for a different reading.

One final important note here too is that I in no way mean to imply anything disparaging about my wife. She is wonderful to put up with me for as long as she has and the behaviors listed below only scratch the surface of the torments I put her through. Eye-rolling is better than I'd expect from anyone else and certainly better than I deserve!

Out to Eat (for the most part - some of these work elsewhere, too)
  1. When asked by the server, "Would you care for anything else?" I pause for a couple of beats and look straight in their eyes then say, "No, nothing else. Is that ok?" The usual response is something like, "Of course! But let me know if you change your mind."
  2. Upon arrival a few moments later of the check, I don't allow it. "Excuse me, but, I think we agreed just a few seconds ago that I didn't want anything else." This is where the wife usually swats me on the arm and takes over the conversation with, "Thank you!" followed by the eye-roll.
  1. Ok, this one is actually really cool. But it really wears a bit thin on people who have to endure it from me time and time again at every damn restaurant I go to! But so what?! It's really cool! To do this, you need to make sure that your server actually has a few minutes to spend at your table. Also, you need to have a cloth napkin or a paper napkin that is rolled diagonally to make the longest paper tube you can make with that napkin. In other words, if you don't have something to measure about a foot and a half or so (under half a meter), don't try this.
  2. Place your soda glass in the center of the table. Then ask your server to estimate which distance is greater, once around the circumference of the glass or the distance from the edge of the glass to the table. It doesn't matter what they say at this point. You can even suggest that they might be about the same. Whatever the answer, grab the salt shaker and put it under the glass. You may need to hold the glass there to keep it from spilling. Ask the same question again. Of course now the distance from the lip of the glass to the table looks to be WAY more than the circumference of the glass. This is where the napkin comes in handy as a measuring tool. Have the server do the measuring. Specifically, have them find the circumference with the napkin and then use that length to see if it is greater than the distance from the table to the rim of the glass (i.e., including the distance added by the salt shaker). Unless it is an unusually small drink glass and/or an unusually tall salt shaker, the circumference is going to be greater than the distance of the glass and salt-shaker! Isn't that awesome?! Try it out and see for yourself! Too cool! You'll have your friends rolling their eyes in no time with this one alone!
General Shopping (grocery store, Wal-Mart, etc.)
  1. When I am at the register to pay, the cashier will usually quote a price like, "That will be $17.12 please?" Note that this only works if paying with cash.
  2. As I count out my money, I will hand over the $17 and then say, "Is that close enough? Or do you really need the rest of it?" Ha ha ha! We share a moment until my wife's giant sigh followed by her opening her pocketbook to add her 12 cents worth of eye rolling.
    Actually, you can't blame my wife's eye-rolling here since people don't really like to joke about money - for example, I've opened myself up to the same line if I hand over a dollar to cover the $0.12 and expect change back - the cashier can say, "Well, that's close enough isn't it? You don't need any change back, right?" Where's the humor there?!
  1. My wife really hates this one. Practically every single time I get to the checkout the cashier will automatically ask, "How are you today?" Although I could go with, "How am I what?" (see below) I prefer to go another route that has gotten smiles every time I've used it (except from my wife and anyone else who has heard me do this multiple times before).
  2. After a really big sigh, I will answer, "Well, I'm old, fat, out of shape, balding, I have bad knees, my teeth are crooked, my hearing is going and I will never get rid of these glasses." Plus whatever else occurs to me. Then I ask it back at them. Usually they say they are fine. To which I say, "Yeah, oh yeah, that's what I meant to say, I'm fine too." Cue the spousal eye-rolling! 
Note: If the person you are planning to inflict the preceding line upon seems like they are either in a bad mood or maybe having a bad day but are forced to be in public-relations mode, I recommend switching to a less abrasive response like, "I seem to be getting older faster than I am getting wiser."
  1. Usually this works best at a restaurant when the manager comes around to the tables (e.g., "How was everything?"), but I find that cashiers at Wal-Mart and such ask something similar. They will greet you and then say something along the lines of, "Did you find everything ok?"
  2. Wow, talk about a great setup line! Take them literally. "My gosh, it would have taken us forever if we were looking for everything!" Or, "Yikes! We only had the fish! We couldn't possibly have eaten everything!" Smile and look at your spouse to see the eyes start their obligatory rolling!
Anywhere Else (can include the above places)
  1. Upon noticing that a person is left-handed.
  2. "Excuse me. Perhaps you can answer an important question I have?" They say "Yes?" and then I ask very earnestly and innocently, "Is it true that left-handed people are more intelligent than right-handed people?" Commence eye-rolling. Note too that I happen to be left-handed. When that fact comes out, I simply state that I am trying to get unbiased data from people who would be in the best position to know the answer: Other left-handers. (More eye-rolling.)
  1. This one is used any time that a salesperson (or whatever) is dealing with us and has to leave. So this would be for a server at a restaurant or a salesperson at Lowes, your aunt who leaves you in the living room to go to the bathroom, etc. You'll get the idea.
  2. With a slightly worried or confused look on my face I ask, "So, do you want us to wait here?" This actually causes people to stumble a bit sometimes. You can see them working it out in their heads why I would think otherwise.
    The more obvious the situation, the more fun it is to say. Imagine getting pulled over by the police. They'll come up and ask for registration and license then want to go back to their cruiser. Try to catch them before they leave your window, "So, do you want me to wait here?" Or when you visit the doctor's office and the nurse gets you into the paper half-robe in that little examination room with the butcher-paper on the cold leather couch. "The doctor will be with you shortly." This is ripe for, "So, do you want me to wait here, then?" I think you get the idea.
  1. These last two are usually inflicted on my students. My wife has long ago burned these set-ups from her linguistic repertoire. A few times each semester I will get a student to wave me over and make the mistake of saying, "Can I ask you a question?"
  2. My now automatic response is, "You just did!" This is followed about 80 percent of the time with, "Can I ask you another question?" Which gets the same awesome answer! After a few moments of rusty gears turning in their noggin's they will finally get to, "Can I ask you two more questions?" This is often delivered with a bit of a smug, "gotcha now" grin. At this point I will tell them that I have a three-question limit and then I walk away. Surely they find this particularly endearing (especially when exam-time is upon them).
  1. As noted above, this last one is often triggered by a student on Mondays. They will ask something like, "How was your weekend?" or more generally, "How are you?"
  2. My response is to fall into an Asperger's-like semi-fugue-state and ask back, "How was my weekend what?" or, "How am I what?" They will come back with something they think is more specific, like, "How are you doing?" (etc.), hence, "How am I doing what?".
  1. Oops, I just remembered another eye-roller (but this one isn't ever from my wife as I never have the chance to use it on her). Mainly this is for my students or the occasional cashier, etc. and can be used for best effect only on Monday or Tuesday.
  2. As I or they leave, I will say, "Have a nice weekend!" Which gets me about a 90 percent hit with, "You too!" Followed moments later by them stopping in their tracks and saying, "Wait, it's only Monday…" Or, "Does that mean we don't have class the rest of the week?" I explain that it's never too early to wish someone a nice weekend; and yes, classes will be meeting.
Alright, that's what I can recall for now. Maybe if I remember some more I will add them in. But truthfully, probably not since I seem to be pretty lazy about this whole blog thing. On the other hand, maybe you know of a few more that you, a spouse, a significant other, a friend, a parent, etc. has used and you can send them to me?! I'd be happy to add them to my list!