A guy at the bar where I work asked me recently, “You know what your problem is?”
The phrasing of the above question intimates that there was some previous admission that I, in fact, actually have a problem. “Hi, I’m Kendra, and I have an unidentified problem. If you have problem identification skills, please do step in, by all means.”
The best is that it sounds like a rhetorical question.
Unlikable Person:“You know what your problem is? You got a bad attitude. That’s your problem. It’s an attitude problem is what it is.”
ME (likable person): “You know what your problem is? You ask questions and don’t let people answer them. That’s your problem. It’s poor conversational skills is what it is.”
But the guy at the bar waited for my answer. I gotta give him that. He didn’t seem to listen to it, but he did allow me to respond.
Guy at Bar: “You know what your problem is?”
Me (girl behind the bar): “Which one? Commitment? Control? Dependency?”
Guy at Bar (ignoring my answer): “Your problem is …………”
(This is the part of bartending I hate, when you gotta pretend that someone’s barstool analysis is worthy of a listen.)
I know I have issues. I don’t know what they are, but I have them. All these affirmation and self-help books always suggest you go back to your childhood memories to start a thorough introspection.
My biggest memories are of school. I was a fat kid – but not blubbery fat, which I always thought looked like it would be fun to sleep in – my fat was hard. I look perpetually uncomfortable in my childhood pictures. Not only that, but I loved learning about obscure things. The teacher would say, “OK, everybody, pick an interesting person in history, and write a three page paper. Be prepared to share with the class next Friday.”
My papers were always way too long and sometimes I would write two, in case I decided at the last minute I didn’t like the first one.
Teacher: “Kathy why don’t you read your paper to the class?”
Kathy: “Chocolate Chip cookies were first invented in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield…………. And I brought chocolate chip cookies for everybody!”
(the crowd goes wild)
Billy: “The first recorded baseball contest was in 1846…………………………….. and I have baseball cards for everyone!”
(the chocolate chip cookie sugar high gets higher)
Kendra: “Adolf Hitler was a victim of severe physical abuse throughout his entire childhood. Some historians claim he was also mildly retarded……….”
(I lose the crowd)
Kendra: “…wait – can I switch? ‘Spontaneous combustion’ is death by incineration, with no identifiable source of ignition. So basically you could die at any moment, for no scientific reason – like right now –”
(I speed through the rest of the 9 page paper skipping sections)
“…um… I don’t have anything to hand out, so I guess that’s it. OH, but I have pictures if anyone wants to see dead people and skulls and stuff. Are there any cookies left? I suddenly don’t feel fat enough.”
I blame my parents. Who lets a little fat girl write papers on death and torture and then read them aloud to her peers.
I asked my mother why, and she said, “Oh stop! You were adorable. Half those kids would have never heard of spontaneous combustion if it wasn’t for you.”
Kendra Cunningham. Bringing fright and apprehension to a grammar school near you!
Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.