As you go through life–and I know you will–you will often find it necessary to exercise Give-a-Damn-Ship (“GADS”). The practice is sometimes referred to as “Give-a-____-Ship,” although this usage is discouraged in order to spare impressionable children and the frail elderly who use the internet to give away their life savings.
*Can’t . . make out . . score . . over her shoulder.*
GADS is both a form of physical engagement with another human being, and a psychological attitude composed of equal parts insincerity and indifference. As between husbands and wives, the failure to practice GADS is responsible for our nation’s high divorce rate, as illustrated by the following examples. The first occurs in a “casual” restaurant:
WIFE: . . . so I took the fabric samples back, but now I’m thinking that for the living room curtains–you’re not listening to me, are you?
HUSBAND: Huh? Sure I was–you were talking about decorating or something, and HOLY CRAP! IRVING HIT THE THREE! WE’RE GOING TO OVERTIME!
Or take this corollary female-to-male instance of failed GADS, recorded at a family dinner table:
HUSBAND: . . . so this could be a really big deal. I mean, literally years of hard work pays off with a great new client. Maybe I could finally afford that robin’s egg blue Thunderbird roadster I’ve always . . .
WIFE: KEVIN–IS YOUR HOMEWORK DONE?
SON: (from bedroom, with repressed hostility) Almost.
WIFE: WELL, DO IT! I’m sorry–you were saying something about work? Or something . . .
Outside the warmth of the home, however, we must depend on the kindness of strangers, Blanche Dubois-style, for business, professional advancement, and sexual favors. I mean human companionship. That is why an understanding of GADS is so important to your personal and professional development.
Blanche DuBois: You, like her, must depend on the kindness of strangers.
Practicing GADS in a business setting requires total control of facial muscles so as to be able to stifle yawns when a prospective client grows wistful at the end of a business lunch or dinner and reveals his innermost secret to you:
PROSPECT: So I’m sort of on the glide path to retirement right now.
PROSPECT: Trying to bring it in for a soft landing. Then, when Marguerite and I have the time for it, we hope to realize our dream.
YOU: What’s that?
PROSPECT: (Pauses, unsure whether to open his heart, then abandons caution) We want to be Ballroom Dance King and Queen of the Ferndoc Place Assisted Living Facility!
YOU: Super! So, can I put you down for two or three container shipments of the medium-size binder clips?
“Why do I love him? Because he’s rich and senile!”
The workplace has become a minefield of potential liability for those who are unable to practice GADS, as the slightest misinterpretation of a glance, gesture or ambiguous word can touch off a company-crippling sexual harassment lawsuit.
“There’s got to be 30 cents worth of deposit bottles in here!”
A conversation fraught with erotic tension can be diffused with proper use of GADS, the way bomb squads use their training to disable packages of oatmeal raisin cookies dropped by mothers on their way to the post office. In the following exchange, the mouth of the older male executive should be filled with hors d’oeuvres at an office holiday party, or a ball point pen if on company premises:
YOUNG WOMAN: So my fiance has been spending a lot of time in New York lately.
OLDER MAN: Mmmphf?
YOUNG WOMAN: Yes. He even got an apartment there.
OLDER MAN: Grrgsklfmft.
YOUNGER WOMAN: I know. Do you think I should be worried?
OLDER MAN: Nflgthfk? Nnng.
YOUNGER WOMAN: He brought a strange child home last weekend–he said it was a “loaner” his secretary wanted him to try out. You–you seem so–solid, and stable, and dependable. And affluent . . .
OLDER MAN: (Clears throat) I was wondering–is Viagra sold over-the-counter, or by prescription only?