We used to do this thing, if someone was complaining too much—here. Let me show you:
“You won’t believe the day I’ve had.”
“Yeah? What happened?”
“Okay, so first, all my bananas turned brown in the night. I’m not even kidding. I go to bed with six green bananas, and by morning—“
“Wait, hang on: you went to bed with six bananas?”
“Fuck you. I go to bed; my bananas are green. Just a bowl of green bananas on the counter—happy, now? I wake up, and they’re brown. And not, like, that speckly brown, where they’re still good to eat. These are mushy brown. Brown with black spots. Bananoid crotch rot. So I go to throw them out, and this huge cloud of fruit flies erupts from the bowl, and my kitchen’s like…there’s flies—there’s, like…all over the ceiling, in the lights, crawling up the taps…oh, my God!”
“Y’know, you can get rid of those: you get apple cider vinegar, a wee squirt of dish soap, and they—“
“Shut up. I don’t care. Sorry, just—I’m not done. Uh…bananas. Fruit flies–then, my yoghurt’s expired, my tea bag breaks, and that crazy guy—that crazy guy’s back at the diner. I’m, like, locked out of breakfast. No breakfast. I’m starving.”
“I think I have Pop-Tarts. Hey, remember in high school, when I was obsessed with those?—Pop-Tarts and grape soda?”
“Sure. I don’t know. Who cares? I’m not done with my…I mean, those bananas? They’re the prologue. This is the story: I get to work, and Ken’s going for the microwave. He’s got one of those takeout things, and I know—I can feel him, with the fish. So I’m trying to squeeze ahead of him, and Tracy comes out…Christ, with the…can’t she see I’m hungry? I gotta hear about her kid’s whatever practice right now? So Ken stinks up the break room, I totally lose my appetite—I sit through this four-hour meeting, half-starving, half-barfy; fucking hate that feeling. And I miss lunch, and this bird sits on my driver’s side mirror all day, crapping streaks down the door, and I take too long cleaning it, and the dry cleaner closes, and—“
“—and then, a dog bites you.”
That’s it. We’d wait for a break in the tirade and interject a biting dog, like okay, we hear you; you had a shite day. Enough with the details, already!
Now, I mean, you wouldn’t dog-bite someone who’d had a horrible day. You wouldn’t dog-bite a lost job or a dead father. Dog-bites were for great, rambling litanies of mundane gripes—the sort that leave you thinking “yeah; you were alive, today. Get used to it.”
Me, I got dog-bit a lot. I like to complain about trivial things. Much of what passes for Scottish humour is complaining about trivial things—you do it in a deadpan sort of way; you make it sound as foolish as possible. It’s funny, approached with the right sensibility. But you have to be careful. People who didn’t grow up with that can mistake your levity for genuine negativity. They don’t like it. They get uncomfortable. They try to cheer you up. You’ve got to mind your audience.
Anyway, I’ve just spilt ink down my front. My hoover’s filled with hair, my shoe has an invisible stone in it, and soon, a dog’s going to bite me. Have a nice day!