On Thursday my husband's friend Billy flew out to visit us from San Diego for a fun-filled weekend of Mojitos and general debauchery. They've known each other for years, after first meeting when they worked as baristas in a San Diego Starbucks. Just before J proposed to me I met Billy and instantly loved him. He's just like that -- always the one that "gets the party started", charming everyone with his humor, charisma and tan good looks. In short, everybody is friends with Billy. You know the type.
Well, that charisma began to wane a bit this weekend. Don't get me wrong, we all had lots of fun reminiscing and taking him around DC since it was his first time here, but I began to quickly notice that Billy does, in fact, have one flaw that most would probably not even notice: He knows as much about pop culture (and other things) as my grandparents probably know about the '90s rap scene in South Central LA. (Insert long, exasperated sigh here.)
Normally it's not that big of a deal. I've met my fair share of those who just have no clue what I'm talking about when I refer to Carmen Electra's humble beginnings with Prince, or I allude to the fact that Nicholas Cage had a 3-second role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High ... and a year later went on to headline as "Randy" in Valley Girl opposite Deborah Foreman. "Who's Deborah Foreman?" they ask. Okay, I get it. Not everyone knows these things, and really, they could care less. I don't even know how I know these things. They just stick in the smorgasbord of trivia and facts that is my mind and never leave. Kind of like the darts on those velcro dart boards we used to play with as kids. But even though I admit I probably know more useless pop culture trivia than most, it never ceases to amaze me at just how little some people know. And if you tell me it's because they actually know important things, you are so wrong, my little dung beetle. I do know some -- like my dad -- who can espouse any sort of calculus or physics you'd need at a moment's notice ... and yet he still knows that The Bee Gees penned Barbra Streisand's hit "Woman in Love," or that Neil Young actually wrote Nicolette Sheridan's "Lotta Love." (Disclaimer: My father despises The Bee Gees, yet he still knows these things.)
So here we are. Back to Billy. He's 26, has a Netflix account, uses the Internet on a normal basis and has friends who seem to have a handle on most things, even when they're surfing, smoking the mary jane, or building skateboarding half-pipes in their driveways. (Did I already point out they're from San Diego?) Anyway, I know that not all is lost since he's a self-professed Grey's Anatomy fan and "says" he loves Mad Men ... even though he missed the entire Season 2. (Don't worry, I fixed this during his visit. I can now proudly assert that yes, it is possible to cram an entire season into two days. Just make sure you've got the martinis flowing.)
But some of the things he'd ask or tell us made me gawk at him like he'd been born on another planet. It was maddening. Perhaps it was because the weekend didn't kick off to a good start for me -- what with J's sour job news and me surfing the crimson wave -- but it's always bothered me when a group of us will be laughing and I'll bring up some movie quote or song lyric and one person (in this case, Billy) sits there clueless, asking "What? what? I don't get it," as they laugh. If you don't get it, then why the hell are you laughing?! I want to ask, but at this point said person already has to be embarrassed. Right? And of course, when the "in" joke is repeated it's not funny anymore.
But I digress. Some highlights from the weekend:
- J and I found a pub called "Bilbo Baggins Tavern" that we wanted to take Billy to, thinking it was a cool take on the Tolkien book and he'd appreciate it as much as we did. Silly us. Apparently Billy not only has never read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, he had no idea that a character named Bilbo Baggins even existed in the literary sphere. He told us that one of his co-workers calls him that at work, and that same co-worker must have visited this little pub because where else would he get that name? (Cue crickets chirping.) We explained to him where it actually came from, and he said he just figured it was a play off his name Billy. Um, no. And the next day he brought it up again, saying "Bildoe Baggins is such a funny name." Just ... no. In my mind I was banging my head against an imaginary desk.
- Billy had never heard of the "fail" blog, or any of those viral "fail" videos that have made the rounds on Youtube. Okay, not a huge deal. But it turns out he's never really used Youtube in his life. He just figured everyone he knew used the term "fail" as an inside joke, not because they had seen some funny 2-minute video on Youtube. That single word has entered our generation's lexicon for a reason. Learn why.
- There's a character on Mad Men named Freddy Rumsen. Hilarious man who ended up not only helping Peggy move up in the office ranks, but also pissed himself after getting too drunk before a big meeting. Billy loves Freddy Rumsen, recognizes him well enough to pick him out of a line up. What does he call him when we're analyzing Freddy Rumsen over dinner? Teddy Ruxpin. Repeatedly. As in "I can't believe that scene when Teddy Ruxpin peed on himself." At this point I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Epic fail.