Hypocrisy. I hate it. Don’t you?
And yet, we’re all guilty of being hypocrites from time to time. It’s so much easier to do as I do than to do as I say. Still, it bugs me when I find myself caught up in it.
Take friendship. I’m always rattling on about how lousy my friends are. Because for the most part they are. Oh sure, they’ll hang out with you at work and eat lunch with you at work — but out in the real world they want nothing to do with you. Or rather, me. And don’t even think about trying to get them to come to your parties. You don’t have to like Billy Joel, for Pete’s sake.
So yeah, I occasionally lecture my friends about how they should put out some effort ’cause some day I’ll be dead and then they’ll all feel bad and show up at my funeral but I won’t care then.
Anyway, a few weeks ago my friend Susan got her first mystery novel published. Now, the fact that Susan wrote a book is no big deal. We met at the Journal, you see, and it’s a well-known fact that all journalists are really wanna-be novelists. In fact, studies show that less than one percent of people who go into journalism (we call them ‘the crazy ones’) actually do so because of a desire to go to city council meetings and inform the public about what’s going on.
The rest of us are writing books. Or we’ve written a book. Or we’re going to write a book. No, it’s not impressive that Susan wrote a book. What’s impressive is that she got it published. She didn’t have to self-publish. She didn’t have to beg people to give her money through some crowd-funding site. Some publisher took her work and agreed to put it out there.
I’m very proud of Susan. I hate her guts. My admiration for her success is clouded only by feelings of jealousy and bitterness.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Susan announces a book launch party for Tuesday night. Hmm, Tuesday night. I’ll probably have a movie screening. I check the schedule:
JURASSIC WORLD (Universal): Tuesday, June 9th – Galaxy 14 Cine (Mega Screen 3D) – 7pm
So for the next couple weeks, Devil Ronnie and Angel Ronnie are camped out on my shoulders having the following conversation:
You have to go to Susan’s party. She’s an old and dear friend.
Are you mad? Dinosaurs! You’ve loved dinosaurs your entire life! Longer than comic books, even!
Dinosaurs have been dead for 65 million years. Susan is alive and here and now.
Dinosaurs are always here for you. You’ve only known Susan for, what, 20 some years. And how often have you seen each other since you stopped working together?
Susan would be there for you if you needed her, with a hug and a smile. What dinosaur can say that?
Oh yeah, how many times did Susan turn you down on a movie night or some other event because she had dance class? Where was she at your last Joelfest? Or Halloween party?
You can go to the movie anytime. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for Susan.
You can see Susan anytime. “Jurassic World” will only be in theaters for a few months. And Tuesday you can see it on the MEGA-SCREEN in 3D for FREE! It’ll cost you like $20 if you go later. And you’ll probably have to buy one of Susan’s books if you go to her thing.
Susan was your first best friend at the Journal. She means a lot to you and you know it.
And dinosaurs don’t? Remember when you were a kid and your family went to California and they drove out-of-the-way to stop at some piddly museum or something in Flagstaff, Arizona, because you read somewhere they had a skeleton of a giant sloth? It wasn’t even a dinosaur, but they drove out of their way so you could see it.
And remember when your dad and your sister stood in line for hours outside Battlefield Mall so you could catch a matinée of some dumb dinosaur movie?
Heck, you wouldn’t have met your wife if it weren’t for dinosaurs! Why else did you spend spring break with a Presbyterian youth group if not to see the dinosaurs at the Smithsonian?
You can step in any time you want, Angel Ronnie.
I gotta admit, he’s making a compelling case.
Look, at the end of the day Susan is your friend and you gotta support your friends or else what kinda friend are you? The kind you’re always bitching about, that’s who. Besides, Chris will be there, and Michelle, and Mickey, and Amy. It’ll be like a Journal Reunion, but one that you didn’t have to throw together for a change.
And let’s be honest: Dinosaur movies suck. You’ve said it a million times. It’ll be all about the people and they’ll only give the cool dinosaurs maybe five minutes and then it’ll all be T-Rex and raptors. And everyone will be stupid. Heck, just the other night you were watching “The Lost World” on TV and complaining about how lame it was.
Seriously. A teenage with acrobatic skills takes down a raptor?
And the third one was so bad you don’t even own it on DVD.
True. I blame Tia Leoni.
Look, we all know that dinosaur movies suck. But since there is no real life Jurassic Park then this is all we have. And the people who make the Jurassic Park movies make the best dinosaur effects out there. Unless you want to sit at home and watch the crappy animated dinosaurs and boring paleontologists on The Discovery Channel.
OK, let’s go from a different angle. If you go to Susan’s thing you will have this to hold over her head forever. She won’t dare skip Joelfest 2017 or one of your Halloween parties now. You could probably even get her to dress up as Batgirl.
Hmm. That’s a good point.
No fair! He’s not thinking angel thoughts! He’s appealing to your baser instincts — and that’s my job!
And so it was that Tuesday night The Wife, The Son and I drove to the Three Families Restaurant in St. Peters for the book signing and launch party for “Cracks in the Cobblestone.” Laurie had picked up a copy at Main Street Books a week earlier. She read it in one sitting.
I’ll get around to it. If only it had pictures.
Turns out I did indeed have a lovely night visiting with the old gang. The event was supposed to end at 7:30 but we stayed for dinner and more gabbing until the hour was late. For a weeknight, anyway.
I predicted that Amy would show up at 7:15 and sure enough, she did. Making an entrance as only she can.
“Did you see how I brought balloons?” she says to me. “And candy. What did you do?”
“Oh, let me tell you what I gave up to be here tonight….”
“Cracks in the Cobblestone” by Susan E. Sagarra is available at Main Street Books in St. Charles, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com and OakTreeBooks.com. “Jurassic World” is now playing at a theater near you.