A cocktail party. A nice house. There were a lot of young people in fancy clothes, drinking fancy drinks, using fancy words like “sazerac.”
My wife was buying a drink when she whispered to me, “Look honey, they have sazeracs.”
“How about that?” I said. “My mother had those once, but she had surgery to remove them.”
My buddy, Phillip, and his wife were with us. Phillip’s wife let me have a sip of her sazerac and I almost gagged because it tasted like Windex.
“You know what?” said my wife. “I wish we woulda gone to Red Lobster, I feel old around these people.”
“Me too,” said Phil’s wife, Miranda.
“Let’s leave,” Phil suggested. “Besides, it looks like all these people do for fun is count carbs.”
“We can’t just leave,” said Miranda. “They’ve already seen us, they KNOW we’re here.”
So we were stuck.
The house was in a nice part of town. The rumors going around the room were all about the famous interior designer who had decorated the home—whose name I can’t use. The designer is from L.A., and flew in just to “stage” this house for the party.
Each room had impressive furniture, and impressive photographs on the walls. The photographs featured the young couple, posing before exotic scenery, wearing skimpy bathing suits.
“Looks like they’ve been to Rome,” I said.
“And the Bahamas,” said Miranda.
“And this girl definitely ain’t a Freewill Baptist,” said Phillip, who was raised as a Freewill Baptist against his will.
My wife sipped her glass and made a sour face. “I think there’s something wrong with my sazerac. It tastes like Pledge furniture polish.”
“At least yours tastes like Pledge,” said Miranda. “Mine tastes like Four-Oh-Nine Degreaser.”
But Phillip and I were not interested in sazeracs, we found a place in the courtyard where we held Michelob Ultras and talked about middle-aged-guy things.
Things like: the College World Series, homeowners’ insurance, dietary fiber, and our first experiences with gout.
We watched the twenty-somethings mingle, and it was hard not to feel out of place.
“I’ll bet nobody here has ever heard the name Jimmy Carter,” said Phillip.
“Or George Jefferson.”
“Or Lucy and Ricky.”
“God, I loved that show.”
“Me too. I also loved ‘Happy Days.’”
“Joanie loves Chachi.”
“What happened to TV?”
“The Kardashians ruined it.”
We counted nineteen pairs of skinny jeans at the party, which made us feel even older. Because my friend and I were wearing the international uniform of guys from our generation, khakis with cuffs and creases.
Phillip’s khakis, for instance, were the same pair he wore to his son’s baptism.
Something else we noticed, everyone at the party was tapping on glowing cellphones. There weren’t many conversations happening.
“I’m glad we didn’t have cellphones as kids,” I said to Phillip. “How about you?”
“Sorry,” he said. “What’d you say? I was checking Twitter.”
“I wish we woulda went to Red Lobster tonight.”
“I love their cheese biscuits.”
A woman joined us in the courtyard. She was a hair stylist from Atlanta. She gave us free fashion advice. She told Phillip he should consider getting a “pompadour” haircut.
Then she inspected my hair and said, “Dude, you should get an undercut.”
“I should?” I asked.
“Absolutely,” she said.
“Yeah, live a little,” said Phillip.
The undercut, as I understand, is not just for collies anymore. It is a hairstyle in which the bottom half of your scalp is shaved, but the top half gets dipped in thousand island and lit on fire with an acetylene blow torch.
Finally, a man in a chef’s jacket announced that dinner was served. The people applauded. The chef recited the menu for the guests.
I couldn’t understand many of the chef’s culinary terms, but it sounded like he said:
“Tonight, we’re serving a glazed reduction of Ma Cheri Amour, tossed with a silicone clarinet, and topped with Mel Blanc and Corvair potpourri.”
When the night was over, we bid goodbye to the host who shook everyone’s hands. For legal purposes, the host asked each departing guest the same question: “Do you want me to call you Uber?”
To which Phillip answered, “No, just call me Phil.”
The young host looked confused when Phillip said that.
“Nevermind,” Phillip said. “It was only a joke.”
But nobody laughed because, as stated earlier in this column, Phillip is a fossil with a haircut from 1973.
Next, the young host shook my hand and thanked me for coming. And to be honest, it was hard not to feel like a plain hick around him.
The young man is everything I am not. He is young, wealthy, stylish, well-connected, important, nice-looking, and he has a very nice house. And I should be ashamed of myself because I don’t want any of these things. I don’t care about house-size, and I like my four-dollar haircut.
“You have a lovely home,” I said to the host.
“Thanks,” he said. “Our interior designer flew in from L.A. to decorate for this party.”
“L.A.?” interjected Phillip. “What a small world, I’m from L.A., too.”
“Really?” the young man said. “What part?”
“Dothan,” said Phillip.
Then we all went to Red Lobster.