Every time Richard opens his mouth he makes two mistakes. "I absolutely love Picasso's works from his purple period," he declares at the art museum, staring in admiration at a tiny, colorful work.
These pronouncements always stop me in my tracks, because I never know which mistake to address first. In this case I say, "Actually, Picasso never had a purple period. And that picture in particular is a Mondrian."
"Oh," he says. He nods his head like he's suddenly semi-educated, when in reality he's just moving on to his next mistakes. He doesn't seem to realize how hard it is to talk to him. When somebody makes one mistake, the human brain can easily decipher it. One mistake is glaringly obvious: Ellen Degeneres is married to Portia de Rossi, not Tia Carrera. Narcissus aren't orange, they're white. One can't actually dodge taxes by diverting some of their income to a 10K. The brain decides whether or not the err is worth correcting, and that's the extent of that.
When someone makes two mistakes, though, additional parts of the brain are required, because the conversation receptor is thrown into overload. A dialog starts ping-ponging inside the head. It's like the NYPD caught a naked man holding up a liquor store and then couldn't decide whether the case should go to Violent Crimes or Vice. "Have you seen that movie with Roma Downey Jr.?" Richard asks. "Hawaiian Tropics?"
I have to mentally list all the possible permutations and then rank them by the likeliest. Does he really mean Roma Downey? Probably not. Nobody's meant Roma Downey in quite some time. No, odds are it's Robert Downey Jr. But he never made a movie about tanning lotion, right?
Meanwhile, Richard is standing there blissfully, not a thought in his head.
Now, I kind of like Richard. He's attractive and fun and professional, three qualities I've rarely found before, let alone in the same man. But I can't help but wonder. Making one mistake at a time marks you as an ordinary, fallible human. What does two at a time say?
Still, he's my man for most of December. I bite my lip when he tells me he has a crush on David Beckham, the rugby player who's married to Scary Spice. I sigh sadly when he announces that Oreo cookies are made by leprechauns. I watch in silence as he pours champagne into a martini glass that has colored salt around the rim.
And still, somehow, we make it into bed. The usual way, pretty much: we go out to dinner, drink a bottle of wine, go back to his place and start making out. "I bet you've got a big dick and you know how to use it," he whispers into my ear.
I say, "Oh, just shut up and lie down.""
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