I am bad at pool, good at identifying polar bears and awkward white boys

This past week:

  • Upon receiving an invitation to an “ugly sweater party,” I interpreted “ugly sweater” as “cave-cougar-wear” and attended said party accordingly.
  • There I was reminded of how bad I am at playing pool. I scratched 4 times and launched the cue ball off the table twice in one game. Match? Is it a game or a match? Either way, the only sport I am worse at than pool is any actual sport.
  • It was also there I was reminded of being bad at sports when I was reunited with friends from high school and they were fondly recalling a particular baseball game at a particular field, and the only thing I could remember about that field is that there was a pretty righteous snack shack on premises. They remembered plays, I remembered Bazooka Joe selling for 5 cents a piece.
  • While visiting Manhattan, I went to F.A.O. Schwartz. There, I watched a 5-year-old boy show his parents a stuffed polar bear and earnestly explain that it was a sloth.
  • Speaking of white things, particularly dumb white people, at the intersection of 40th or 41st and 3rd I saw a young, white 20-something guy run up to a cab with that stiff-upper-bodied, feigned-confidence form and start banging on the driver’s window. He yelled, “Get out of the cab! Get out of the cab!” in scorned, white guy fever pitch. Listen, I am not trying to be the white, disaffected hipster who talks about all white people as if they are some other of which I am not a part, but this pitch is very distinct, and it carries with it the confusion of someone who is not presently getting his way even though he has spent a few thousand getting used to being on the receiving end of exactly the opposite. He kept banging on the window with one friend behind him and another joining him from down the street. The new friend banged and yelled the same order. The driver, an older Middle Eastern guy, opened the door, got out of the cab and stood up to the trio in defiance. The initial instigator backed off, pushing his friends back as if doing them some sort of favor and they all feigned being held back. Stop for a second and imagine how hilarious the image of three guys pretending to be “come at me, bro” tough one second, then immediately thereafter very obviously pretending to restrain themselves when confronted by a middle aged man with the biggest balls in the world is. The driver got back into his cab and yelled something to them in response, which the late addition mocked as they all walked away.  They then congratulated each other and took turns giving those awkward high fives—where hands sort of lock but then there is no plan for what to do afterward and so you’re just sort of holding your buddy’s hand—before realizing that everyone who witnessed this happening was laughing at them, particularly others in their group of friends. “IT ISN’T FUNNY,” the lead instigator exclaimed shakily, bowled over by humiliation. In the words (and tone) of that deep-voiced announcer from Mortal Kombat, FLAWLESS VICTORY.
  • Back to that boy. He was seriously like, “No, I am pretty sure it’s…” And his father said, “No, that’s definitely a polar bear.” And the boy said, “Let’s take a look at the tag” like he was going to school his dad AND HE WAS SURPRISED TO DISCOVER THAT THE WHITE, STUFFED BEAR WASN’T A SLOTH, IT WAS AN EFFING POLAR BEAR.

See you later, ice caps.


Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.