Saturday, 8 June 2013

Ramblings of a 30-something man... The Argumentative Friend

Ramblings of a 30-something man... The Argumentative Friend
I’ve agreed to meet a mate I haven’t seen for a while. We’re going for a few beers because that is what men do. Women do lunch, we drink alcohol. I walk into the pub and meander my way through the Sunday lunchtime drinking crowd to my pal who is sitting at the bar, nursing the two-thirds of lager that is left in his pint glass.

I give him a manly slap across the back as I greet him. “Hello mate, long time no see,” I say with genuine enthusiasm.

“You’re late,” he replies rather deadpan. The reaction takes me aback a little. “You know I can’t abide tardiness,” and he taps at his watch. I start to feel a little bit like a naughty school child. This wasn’t the sort of greeting I expected after a couple of months of not seeing each.

“Yeah, sorry about that mate. The tubes were a nightmare. I should have left earlier,” I say in a tone to placate him; after all no one likes tardiness, so I hold my hands up and order myself a pint and raise my glass to good health.

“So how have you been?” I enquire, and we start to engage in the type of intelligent conversation most men of my age talk about, which happens to be the same conversation man has had with each other since we are able to open our mouths and gurgle.


“What do you make of Luis Suarez then?” I say in reference to the Ivanovic-snacking Liverpool strikers comments about wanting to leave English football. “That guy is one sandwich short of a picnic!”

I raise my eyebrows in approval at my very own assessment of the controversial Uruguayan. As an Everton fan, I rarely need any excuse to have a good dig at anything Anfield-related and I’m hoping my friend will join in.

“I totally agree,” he says. “That is one hungry man for success.”

And I burst out laughing at his witty pun, clearly referencing Suarez’s penchant for biting opposition players. Granted, I probably go a little overboard with my level of laughing to be honest. I mean it was funny, but it wasn’t that funny. But I’m keen to encourage this theme of Suarez bashing so I’m hoping my reaction will coax my buddy into more of the same.

“What was so funny?” he asks me, with a face as straight as Family Guy’s Glenn Quagmire.

“You know,” I say, brushing away his obvious fishing attempts for a compliment at his rather average joke. “The thing about Suarez being hungry for success.”

“Oh right,” he says and takes down a mouthful of lager. “But I still don’t get what is so funny about that.”

This is ridiculous now. Give a guy one tiny piece of encouragement about him being the funny man and he wants to swim in it for the next half hour. I simply give him one of those ‘yeah right’ nudges in the arm, and I’m confident he’s satisfied with his moment of glory and we can move on.

“I still don’t get it,” he pipes up again and I’m now starting to look around for the nearest fire exit so I can make a quick escape because there is no way I’m going to continue letting him dine out on what was quite a shit gag. “I was merely agreeing with your assessment that Suarez is driven to succeed.”

“I never said he was driven to succeed,” I make my point clear. I’ve never said any Liverpool player was driven to succeed. That would be a compliment for crying out loud! “You said he was hungry for success. I said he was one sandwich short of a picnic.” And I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.

“It’s the same thing!” and his face lights up as he wiggles his finger at me like he has just found me after a game of hide and seek.

“No it’s not,” I protest, now realising that his witty comment minutes earlier was anything but a witty comment, and was in fact him making a statement. “It means he is off his rocker! A loony-tune! A whack-job! It’s an old well-known saying.”

“It does not mean that at all! That wouldn’t make any sense!” And he now has the gall to look at me like I’m one sandwich short of a picnic! “If you pack a picnic and when you’re finished eating all the food and are still hungry, you’d want another sandwich. Hence the saying one sandwich short of a picnic.”

I look around in disbelief, half expecting Jeremy Beadle or Harry Hill to jump out at me as part of some hidden camera show.

But then it dawns on me.

There is a good reason I haven’t seen my mate for a while, and that’s because he is the most argumentative person I’ve ever met. He’d argue the sky wasn’t blue, and he even did once!

I take a deep breath and decide I’m fighting a lost cause with this one. It’s best if we just move on and forget it so I raise my glass to him as a compromise. “I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree,” and I clink my glass against his.

“Why would anyone agree that they are wrong?”

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