I was browsing the DVD's at F.Y.E. in the Provo Mall when I ran into John Wilcox, the younger brother of a friend of mine from High School. He was listlessly rummaging through the pop section when he noticed me and after a slight pause he wildly threw his hands up in the air and yelled, "NEIL! How the F$*K are you?" Which was awkward considering we were in a mall and there were at least three children by the video game section...but that was John for you.
To be honest I hate running into people I went to high school with. The reason being that if I cared about you enough to want to see you again...I would simply see you again. I would rather put energy into keeping current relationships than awkwardly stammer through conversations about how someone who I don't care abouts life is going while I desperately try to remember anything that we did when, and if, we hung out.
But, the fact was I hung out with John's older brother Anthony, and John always hung out with Anthony so that didn't really make us "friends" per say. John and my friendship consisted of me marveling at the copious amounts of energy John had, and John trying to hump my leg for a laugh...as it turns out not a lot had changed with John when I ran into him at F.Y.E.
"Hey, John. It's great to see you." I said, deciding to approach this conversation like I approach conversations with my Family...by pretending to care. "How have you been?" By the look of John's stained Ethnies shirt and dirty jeans...probably not well. "I'm in between jobs right now." John said. I hate it when people said 'in between jobs.' I understand no one wants to say I was fired or no one would hire me, but sugar coating it gets us nowhere. "I'm sorry to hear that John," I lied, "so what brings you here?" He pointed to a girl positioned behind the checkout counter, an attractive, young brunette with an affectionate smile. "She's my girlfriend." He said, winking to punctuate his sentence. "We've been living together for about three months, let me introduce her to you. I've told her all about you." He cupped his hands over his mouth and yelled in her direction. "LACEY! LACEY! Come here I want to introduce you to Neil."
Lacey smiled affectionately and headed our way. I shook her hand and introduced myself. "Hi, my name is Neil."
"This is the guy I was telling you about," John interrupted. "The funny guy who would talk to his penis." And all at once it seemed as if everyone in the store sucked the air into a single collective GASP! I could almost see the words hanging there in the silence "the guy who would talk to his penis." The silence and shock that held in entrance of the store was deafening.
To be fair to John...I did talk to my penis once, as a joke mind you, and only through my pants...it's not like I tied it to a string and had it dance around while I called it madam. But I digress.
It was Lacey who finally broke the awkward silence. She nodded her head in approval and simply said, "It's nice to finally meet you..." And then she said it, the phrase that still baffles me every time I run it through my head, she fixed her eyes on mine and simply stated, "I thought you would be taller." Then turned on her heels and walked back to the front desk to help more customers.
I stood there for a moment and rolled her words back and forth across my mind, as if they were a game of shuffle board being played during a hurricane. Sad to say the first thing that popped in my mind when she said it was, 'what the hell has John been telling her?' Did he just come home from work and say, "You should meet my friend Neil. He holds a ventriloquist conversation with his private parts and gives it a shoddy British accent...also he is ten feet tall and crushes cities with his every step, you will love him!"
What confuses me the most about the situation was that she was so disappointed that I was short. Standing at 5 Ft. 8 Inches I am about average height. But that isn't what bothers me. What bothers me is not that I am short, but that she was impressed by the crappy stories John had been telling her about me. He didn't tell her that I was in a band sponsored by a skateboarding company that had been on tour and opened for bigger groups like the matches, homegrown, etc, he didn't say that I was a headlining stand up comic...he told her that I once talked to my junk and it was funny and for some reason that means I should have been taller...C'est la vie.