Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I'm wandering the East Village with nothing to do so I stop by the bar owned by Anderson Cooper's boyfriend. My mind isn't even on meeting hunky dudes, since I've given them up for the new year. I just want stupid, noisy fun. The music is good, the gin is cold, and they're playing videos geared to nonexistent attention spans.

I'm not halfway through my first cocktail when a guy pulls up next to me and introduces himself as Van. He's a cute, thin hipster with tousled brown hair. "You know what I'm in the mood for?" he says, just out of the blue. "One of those fried Mexican dough things that's covered in powdered sugar. I forget what they're called."

"Those are pretty good, aren't they?" I reply. "It's on the tip of my tongue. I'll have it in a minute."

"Crispitos," he says. "Crunchitas. No, I've got it: Chancres."

He smiles proudly and I offer a fake one in return. Those few, idiotic words have totally wiped my memory clean. It's like I'm a human Etch-a-Sketch, and he's just turned me over and shaken me.

"'Chancres,'" I repeat. "You know, I'm pretty sure even Taco Bell wouldn't put powdered sugar on an open sore."

I try to forget the word I can't remember and eventually our conversation gets back on track. We really do have a lot in common, I discover, as we find a shared interest in the Flintstones. We ponder the wisdom of having a brontosaurus wash one's silverware before we get to the inevitable jump-the-shark talk. I'm thinking it was when Fred hit the top of the music charts, but Van disagrees.

"It was definitely when that alien showed up," he says. "The one with the stupid name."

"That's easy," I say, and I stop to concentrate. "It's like a sneeze. Wait, it's coming to me."

Before I can answer, he throws out his guesses. "Fatso. Carmine. No, I've got it: Mr. Greenblatt!"

I smile while shaking my head. "No," I say, "it isn't." I add another frustrated memory lapse to my mental annoyance list, and start picturing a little green man flying around Fred Flintstone's head while holding a bag full of lox and cream cheese.

I decide that if Van and I are going to get anywhere, I'll have to explain something. "Look," I say, "You clearly have a lousy memory. I, on the other hand, have a terrific memory. My head is completely stuffed full of random trivia, and though it might take me a second or two to access it, I will eventually access it. When you throw out all these weird guesses, though, it distracts me. It confuses me. It totally erases my brain."

"Oh," Van says, looking equally embarrassed and apologetic.

It takes a minute or two for our conversation to restart, but once again it gets catches. Like me, he loves bad monster movies, and he lists his favorites: Godzilla. Mothra. Reptillicus. "What's the name of that giant turtle from the 50s?" he asks.

And he stops for a second.

I smile. He's learned his lesson! I've finally got a chance! I fire up my brain and load the memory tapes.

"That's easy," I say. "Kid stuff. It's -- it's -- "

But I'm too late. A spark fires up in his eyes as his brain spews out another fart. "Godiva? Caracas? Kimora? KIMORA!" He nearly high-fives himself as he basks in the glow of pride. "I finally got one!" he says. "It's Kimora."

I fix my gaze in his direction while my heart pounds like a Vanagon headed uphill. "No," I say, slightly squeaking the word, "it isn't Kimora. Kimora is a fashion designer, the ex-wife of Russell Simmons. She didn't fly over Japan while shooting sparks out of her ass."

Van watches while I turn a shade of purple not usually seen in human complexions. "Sorry," he says. "I forgot. Well, we can still go out some time, right?"

"Absolutely," I say. "Totally." I get up from my bar stool and put my jacket on. "Give me a call some time. 212-432-7827."

He grabs his phone and starts to punch in the digits. And I yell, "THREE! FIVE! NINE! SIXTEEN! EIGHTY-FOUR!" while I'm walking away.

Ed. note: Churros. The Great Gazoo. Gamera. You're welcome.

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