I have the luxury (or curse) of having ten plus years of stuff I’ve written on record, either in this blog or in thousands of pages of notes. We have a terrible habit these days of taking a tweet some guy wrote ten years ago and using it to sink their entire career. On occasion, I’m going to uses things I’ve written in the past to show you how absurd this practice is. I barely recognize things I wrote a year ago, much less ten. While I take responsibility for the things I wrote, because I did write them, I ask that you allow me the opportunity to change my mind. To admit I was wrong. Please let me learn from my mistakes, even if it takes years.
This is not easy for me to do but I think it is important. Something I wrote two years ago came up again and I feel the need to address it. “My Last Supper” is a small post, only 500 words, but it still lives with people I care about. And it’s ugly. And I’d like to correct the record.
This old post is about how much trouble I used to have attending large gatherings like dinners. Instead of trying to figure out why and fix the issues in my life, I decided to blame the dinners themselves and my friends for even inviting me to them. I wanted you to know how much I hated the evenings and I wanted you to in turn quit having them or at least quit inviting me. The people that I’m speaking to in this post aren’t adversaries, they are people that I love. Why do I so crudely admonish them for inviting me to a party? I don’t know. I think I was looking for something or someone to blame for my unhappiness. Other than me of course.
Honestly, I wanted to just delete the post because it is so hard for me to read and admit I even wrote. But because someone recently brought it up again, because they were planing a nice dinner and they were worried I would not agree to come, I feel the only way I can erase the damage the post has done is to address it verbatim. I so easily forget that the things I write and say matter. Even if it only matters to a few people.
The words in bold are from the old post. They appear unchanged. I’ll also link the post here.
I have to make it known that I will no longer be attending dinners that include nine or more people. I can’t take it anymore. This weekend, I went to a birthday party that included 30 people for dinner. Well, I didn’t eat dinner with all of those people. I ate with about six of them. The rest of them were so far down the table that we weren’t together. I said hello and it ended there. The only thing we had in common at this dinner is that we were at the same table and couldn’t eat for 2.5 hours because there were 30 people to serve. Enough. No more. My anxiety can’t take it.
I have to make it known that this person no longer exists. I don’t know why I insisted on insulting the only people that would ever invite me to dinner like this. How embarrassing. If I read this by some fool I invited to a party, I would never invite them to anything ever again.
First of all, there wasn’t 30 people there and it didn’t take 2.5 hours to eat. I’m sure it seemed that way for the other people around me as they had to endure my complaining. Two and a half hours, the horror. I’ve come to realize how important some of the people who were at that dinner are to me. And that I will enjoy their company in any setting. Even if the service is terrible and the food is terrible. That doesn’t matter. What matters is getting the rare opportunity to spend time with your friends. That may seem trite and simple, but what is the alternative? Bitching about everything, even before it happens?
I must have written this at the bottom of my obesity and depression. The only part of the 500-word piece where I say I enjoyed anything was the part where I mentioned drinking. I did at least acknowledge I enjoyed the companionship. If you could get that far past the negativity.
I used to hate dinners like this because the booze would send my anxiety through the roof and I feared having a panic attack right in the middle of the dinner. These dinners are situations that I couldn’t control and instead of calming down and enjoying it for what it was, I would spend the entire time wanting it to be over. It had to be the alcohol because since I quit drinking, I’ve been on multiple dinners such as this where people were hammered and it was a disaster and I had the best time. My cheeks hurt from laughing because I was with my friends in a good place.
This is not a gender specific issue. It could be true that girls do this more for birthdays, but in my experience, girls can only stomach about three friends before there’s a life long grudge involved. Boys do this crap on golf trips and bachelor parties. Big steak dinners after a day of drinking at 10 pm is never going to go well unless you’re a tiger. I’m about to go on a golf trip in a few weeks. I know there will be a dinner that will inevitably suck. Can’t wait to not eat for hours while I sit there in a drunken sweat.
I don’t know how I ever got out of bed. I really had a talent for summing up an entire swath of people’s value in one terrible, negative description. I was openly dreading a GOLF TRIP. I could go on a golf trip with Mussolini and at least enjoy the golf part. I’d probably tire of arguing about Fascism and Hitler, but at least I’d be able to say stuff like, “Nice chip, Muss.” This is why I thank the people that stuck with me through these years because you must have had some doubt. You must have wondered if bringing this negativity on a golf trip would threaten the overall good time. I deliberately chose these words knowing that some of the people going on that trip would read them.
I would like to apologize for two years ago. And, I would like to go back and tell this miserab that you don’t have to sit there in a drunken sweat. It’s not a requirement.
The wait staff must dream about these things during their weekly night terrors. Bills get split and tabs are wrong and one schmuck throws a fit because he didn’t have the three dollar mashed potatoes appearing on his bill. You’d like to ball up a twenty and shove it in his eye socket so he’ll shut up. Even when I’m eating alone, my least favorite part of the meal is the time between when the server puts down your check and then comes back to get it. Where are you going? A twenty-second transaction takes twenty minutes. Add thirty people into this transaction and it becomes my Waterloo.
I do still feel sorry for the wait staff during these dinners. But, they are getting paid and dealing with some stress is apart of their job. Restaurant technology could pick up the pace and the slack as well. Why the hell am I still getting a paper bill? And places that refuse to split checks can simply kiss my ass. We all have magic devices in our pockets that can do amazing things. Let me hit you for that tuna tartare via text or Venmo and let’s roll.
Nobody remembers these dinners as “great.” You remember them if they were awful, which most are. You remember the time your buddy finished face-first in his plate. You remember them when the clam chowder had you sitting on a cork on the way home. But nobody remembers, “that great meal we had with thirty of our friends at La Happy Con Carnitas.” Don’t translate that, it’s nonsense.
Since I quit drinking, off the top of my head, I can remember three dinners, no four, like this that were drunken messes (except me) where I had the best time. I’m smiling now thinking about them. So, I was just full of shit two years ago. I’m still full of shit but at least I’m more pleasant (I hope). And if I ever saw one of my friends pass out in their plate, I’d be telling that story for a laugh, not relaying some terrible experience.
I am right that the meal is secondary (except at “Galatoire’s” in New Orleans). But that is fine. The company is what matters to me now. In the bold letters, I complain about not eating. I think I would still prefer not eating because it gets in the way of the laughs and the good conversation.
I had a great time at the “dinner” with thirty last weekend. My point is that the dinner part got in the way. Why were we eating? I had a ball drinking a few pops and bullshitting with people I genuinely enjoy being around. The fact that I also had to shove food in my face and then pay for it became an annoyance. I would prefer eating a prison baloney sandwich in the parking lot and then having drinks with my buddies for three hours than eat anything else with them for who knows how long these things are going to take.
Four paragraphs in and I only say something nice for one sentence. This should have been the point of the essay. I should have explained how much I love these people and how lucky I am that they are apart of my life no matter in what setting or capacity. Instead, I shit all over them for three paragraphs and then offered a short “never mind, I do actually like you.” I made the point that I wanted to make, I just hid it in a sea of negative boloney because it’s how my brain worked at the time.
I thought I had to give my opinion on everything. A commercial, a drink, a restaurant, a dinner, a moment, a time of day. And that opinion usually started with “I hate.” This whole post is about what I hate about spending time with people I love. It’s really hard for me to read because I can’t believe I wrote it and thought that those people I was writing about would be fine reading it. Like, they’d have a big laugh about how I thought our time together was so miserable.
In fact, from now on, my strategy going into these monstrosities will be to eat beforehand. This may offend people because they want me to be as miserable as they are at this thing they created. I won’t care. Either get over your offense or never invite me again. Win Win.
That is the end. That’s how I ended the piece. “Hear ye, hear ye, if you invite TC to a big dinner he’s going to eat beforehand and then hate being there anyway because he’s unhappy.” And then I threaten you if you don’t understand why I think that. I almost deleted this from the original post so I wouldn’t have to address it here, but that would be dishonest. Not only am I warning people in the future that I have already decided to not enjoy their dinners or parties, but I also blame them for my state of mind. For not heeding my warnings. They should have. I certainly didn’t deserve their friendship.
I hope they know how sorry I am. I hope they were able to enjoy themselves despite my negativity. I hope I was able to bring some value to that table in spite of these issues. I hope that you will forgive me. I can’t say that this person is totally gone or erased. It’s just me two years ago. But I can say that I am making a conscious effort to at least be sensitive to how you may feel. That I understand now that everyone doesn’t need to hear what I think about every little thing all the time.
I hope this is true. And I hope you’ll still have me for dinner.
Support the Author
If you would like to support the author of this blog, you can do it through PayPal by clicking this button. Thank you for your support!
If you liked this post, please hit the “like” button below and comment. And don’t forget to share it with your followers on social media and in emails. Thanks.