Tuesday, September 22, 2009

For the last time, it's NOT Bildoe Baggins


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.

10 comments:

dospajaritos said...

Hilarious... but, I'm sorry. My boyfriend's friend came with us to the festival in sisters and we both had a little too much of him too. Its been about a week and a half now and we still aren't ready to hang out... so I totally understand. ("surfing the crimson wave" ha. clueless was my favorite movie for so many years of my adolescence!)

Penny said...

LOLOLOL!!! You know what's terrible about those type of situations for me though? I wind up feeling like perhaps I'm the one that's too caught up with useless information but then at the same time feel like 'What the hell is wrong with this person anyway?' I guess the important thing is that he's a good person....he is a good person right?;)

Dominique Kathryn said...

Omigosh! I completely understand. I once went on a date with a guy who was so gorgeous but when he ordered a beer the waitress asked him if he wanted it "bottle or tap." He thought about it and said said, "I ordered a Heineken." She looked at me like 'Are you really with this guy?' It was awesome.

I am so with you though, in terms of pop culture knowledge no one else would know and in terms of saying something people should be familiar with (unless they live in Mordor...) and they just look at you blankly. Yeah. It's always a great punchline, too, met with a blank stare. Then you have to give the backstory, then there is an awkward, semi-laugh and a great joke dies on the spot. And I'm all embarrassed for knowing this apparently trivial knowledge that I thought was pertinent.

P.S. My boyfriend (in law school, L3 - sort of feeling you...) and I are starting to plan a post BAR graduation trip and your description of Buenos Aires has put it on the list of potential locations! Thanks!

Bonjour Madame said...

Soooo funny! I think everyone can relate to this at some point in their lives.

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

I bet he doesn't have a girlfriend right? Quick, someone send that guy the 90's Pop Culture Trivia game and get him up to speed!

Sorry you had to spend a weekend with someone more clueless than Alicia Silverstone. Hopefully those mojitos and lots of Mad Men helped.

Crystal said...

dospajaritos: Ah, a fellow blogger who feels my plight! ("Clueless" was also a favorite of mine back in the day! I knew the entire script by heart. I was pretty proud of it back then, but acknowledging it out loud now just sounds pathetic.)

Penny: Yes, he's a good person, but it still feels like I'm talking to an alien at times. ;)

Dominique: LOL @ your Heineken boy. I take it that didn't work out. Congrats to your soon-to-be graduated boyfriend! Law school sucks, I can attest to this as someone involved with a law student. Buenos Aires is just what you two need to unwind after a stressful 3 years in school!

Bonjour Madame: Ok good. Glad it wasn't just me, or else I'd start wondering if I was just too hard on the poor boy.

Mandy: He doesn't have a girlfriend...but it's because he likes playing the field! Women throw themselves at him, and he loves it. I have a long, somewhat disturbing story to tell you someday about his last breakup. :P Love your new pic by the way!

Jeanne said...

When you first started describing how handsome and charming he is, I was a little uneasy -- sounded like a triangle in the making.

So the upside is, THAT will never be a problem!

Thanks for visiting the Raisin Chronicles!

Anonymous said...

Wow--I don't know any of those references either! If I weren't happily married, you should probably set me up with this guy.

I considered myself fairly up-to-date on pop culture (except for reality shows) but then start hanging out with a co-worker who seemed to make obscure references all the time. She probably thought I was an alien for not understanding.

The bright side is that I married an Italian. As much as America dominates pop culture and although he has lived in the U.S. for quite a while, his knowledge of pop culture is even worse than mine (or rather, his pop culture references are often Italian movies, shows and music)
Maybe that's why we are so compatible...

dospajaritos said...

I also knew all of clueless by heart! I would recite it until my sister yelled at me to stop... but yes, sounds a bit pathetic to admit it now...

Ron Mexico said...

I can sympathize. I was at a new dentist this morning and he asked where I was from. I told him, and said it was the hometown of Jimmy Stewart.

“Rock and roll,” I heard him say, thinking that was just a personal colloquialism.
“I don’t have his accent, though,” I said, trying (pointlessly) to be funny.
“Yeah, and you don’t have his headband either,” he said.

It was at that point that I realized he had no idea who Jimmy Stewart was and that he had someone gotten him confused with (I think) Jimi Hendrix. I no longer want this man touching my teeth.

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