Exhibit Z: A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Cynic
Rhymes with Purple
Posted by Wobert on 10/25/03.

Here we are at Exhibit Z. Wow. 26 stupid practices, products, professions and people, and Iím just getting warmed up. To celebrate the end of the alphabet, I chose to give you, my faithful readers, a super-special post. This is a very emotional moment for me. I wish that I could say that this post took me so long to right that I wasnít able to post last week, but in reality I was just lazy last weekend. If it makes you feel better, though, then this post took me two weeks to write because I had to keep stopping and fighting to keep my emotions under control, because this is the last time I will ever write Exhibit Z.

A long, long time ago, in Exhibit H, I wrote about dating in general. I mocked all the silly little things that make highschool dating what it is, and I made it clear that I don't date. But I'm not sure I made it clear why, and so I've decided to give you a glimpse into my inner workings. I have a little cut on my side, and if you just squeeze in there and take a left, continuing up past the longs, through the palate and into my brain, I'd like to give you a tour of the little corner of my psyche that I reserve for dating. Here, instead of a list of pickup lines and girls that I've dated, you will find a list of the reasons that I don't date.

1) I donít trust myself.
Iím not mature enough to take responsibility for other peopleís emotions. Iím not even responsible enough to do my own clothes shopping or manage my own diet, and yet my friends, my peers and even my parents all expect me to jump at the chance to own a share in the emotional welfare of another human being. They want ME, a mere child that cannot even take care of his own physical health, to take a post that would make me vice president in charge of the emotions of some other mere child. Iím not old enough to legally make any decisions concerning my own physical health, but apparently Iím much, much older than I need to be to mess with the far more delicate and important emotional health of other people. If this makes sense to anybody, please explain it to me.

Perhaps the idea of being in a position to affect peopleís emotions wouldnít scare me so much if I wasnít such bumbling fool. Were I to involve myself in a dating sort of relationship with a girl, I would not simply be capable of influencing her emotions. Anything and everything that I did would have an effect on her, and I just donít trust myself not to Dubya things up. The idea that I could break somebodyís heart without even realizing it scares me more than Dick Cheneyís energy commission, so until Iím a bit more socially adept I think Iíll just leave the innocent women of the world alone. Perhaps Iíll be competent enough at reading people and thinking things through when Iím in my early eighties. Just in time for me to become a dirty old man and take a trophy wife.

The most basic elements of my personality prevent me from dating. I am, by nature, rather straightforward and even, at times, downright brash. I donít always think about whose toes I will be stepping on before I do something, and I often end up smashing someoneís toes and then moving right on up the leg until Iím stomping on somebodyís navel before I realize what Iíve done. This wouldnít be a problem if I had more of a mean streak, but apparently that gland is underdeveloped or something. I feel absolutely terrible when I hurt another human being, no matter how necessary it is.
FACT: I have been involved in one relationship. Thatís right: I, the mighty Wobert, did indeed date at one point. This relationship was based entirely on a misunderstanding.

The story goes something like this:

In the spring of eighth grade, a girl that I didnít like much at all came up to me and asked me out. I sputtered for a moment or ten, casting about furiously for a cyanide pill or a fifty-story drop, but there were none on hand. I looked pleadingly about for another few moments, hoping that the building would explode or a rampaging aardvark would disrupt our conversation, but both the animal kingdom and the world of physical phenomena had decided to abandon me. So I did what any suave eighth grader would do, and I asked her to let me sleep on it.

The next morning, after staying up all night trying to come up with a good excuse, I came in to school fully planning to reject this poor girl. I caught one of my (male) friends first, ran the speech by him, and asked him if it was kind enough to avoid bloodshed but still firm enough to get the point across. He said that it was. I blame him for what followed.

I found the girl. I started to explain that, although she was very nice and all, that my father would never allow it and that I was veryÖ.
ďThatís okĒ she said. ďWe can work around that. Oh, you donít know how happy this makes me. I was sooooo worried that you were going to reject me.Ē
My life flashed before my eyes.
I almost sprained my baffled brain trying to get out if it. As I was telling my brain to come up with a good, gentle explanation, my brain was going ďAAAA! I said everything right, where does she get off thinking that I want to go out with her?Ē Abandoned completely by my brain, my mouth simply said ďMeep.Ē

And so it began. A whirlwind romance that lasted all of two weeks and included about thirty seconds of actual conversation, twenty minutes of awkward silence, and literally hundreds of hours of me avoiding her at all costs. Including skipping classes. Classes taught by my own father.

The relationship lasted for two weeks because that was how long it took me to get up the guts and the gentle words to dump her. Well, I donít actually know how long it took me to get up the guts to dump her, because I just left a message for her on the bulletin board. We never talked again after that. Perhaps the words werenít actually gentle enough, but I think that itís more likely that she just realized what I knew all along-that we didnít even have enough in common to be casual acquaintances. Either way, she didnít come in to school the day after I dumped her. Apparently she was pretty upsetÖand, even though I didnít like her to begin with and I was exceedingly glad to be rid of her, I felt absolutely awful about upsetting her.

And so I immediately set out to ensure that such a misunderstanding would never occur again. I told everyone that I no longer wished to date at all. I told my friends that, if ever a girl should approach them asking about me (because thatís how things were done at that age), or even look like they were showing an interest in me, my friends were to take them aside and explain that I wasnít up for grabs. And then not tell me about it, because I really couldnít care less. And so I became a hermit.

And then this explanation became WAAAY too long for one post, so I had to split it into three. Huzzah!

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FreakBurrito @ 10/26/03
"hehehe dubya"

Legs @ 10/27/03
"I second that; the motion carries "

FredFredrickson @ 10/27/03
"You're my hero."

Shadow @ 11/12/03
"Hmm...You're not mean? A chemical imbalance, I suppose. You need a good dose of human stupidity, and you can be full of rage like me. Go and look at some furry sites."

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