daily preciousness

Friday, June 04, 2004

Howie and the Voice

Howie is my roommate:


Our Lady of Murderous Intent


His character sketch is something like this:

Taking a smoke from his Virginia Slim, Howie takes an order for chili cheese fries from a rowdy table of folks at the Crystal City location of Chili's.

He orders them to stop making demands for extra ketchup, instructing that "You see, it's like this: This is not how it works, folks. Maybe this is how it works where you people come from. But here in the U.S., you have to think about what you need and you tell me all at once. You don't catch me every thirty seconds and ask for something else. Got it?"

The shocked Pakistani family looks at him in wide-eyed shock. And they comply unquestioningly.

Howie's got a knack for telling it like it is. And I think he's got to be one of the most entertaining characters that I've ever met. You know that evil vixen on the soap operas? The one who will lie, cheat, steal and commit triple homicide to get what she wants? Well, that's our Howie. (He and my other roommate, David, always seem to be plotting murder. In fact, it's probably their most frequent topic of conversation. Coffee, tea or MURDER? Those are the typical breakfast menu options at the Sorority brunches! David even refers to Howie as "Our Lady of Homicidal Intent.")

This archetype is just a slightly more mature version of the cheerleaders from Heathers. (Howie's official sorority name is Heather because of this.)

Yep. He's like that. Howie's like an adult version of a Mean Girl. And let me tellya, you don't want to be in her burn book. 'Cause he will plot his way to destroy you if he needs to. But that's a subject for another post.

Despite his minor flaws (the inhumane psychological cruelty, the penchant for murder and his power-hungry plotting), Howie is a great guy.

And I enjoy his company.

Just yesterday when he and his parents were treating me to dinner, he told me the story of his experience with First Lady Laura Bush.

As a producer of large scale live events in and around the DC metro area, Howie rubs elbows (not to mention the egos) of the rich and powerful. He handles stage management for rallies, parties, conventions and the like. So it's no surprise that he would find himself assisting the First Lady at one such event.

Just moments before Laura had to go out on stage, Howie was preparing her for the schedule of the show. In his most pleasant and professional tone, Howie let her know how the event was structured and what to expect. The First Lady didn't seem to be paying attention. She didn't look at him. Instead, she stared blankly into space.

"Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Bush, are you listening?" Howie asked.

She didn't respond. So he tried again, in a louder tone.

No response.

So this time, with the Secret Service all around her, he reached up, grabbed her shoulder and gently shook it. Eyebrows on all the guards raised and their muscles tightened.

"I'm just trying to get her to listen," Howie explained, nervously eyeing their bulging muscles.

"Ma'am," one of them asked in a husky tone.

Finally, she awoke out of her odd revery. And that's when she used the Voice.

"I am ready. I don't need your help," she responded, using a strangely powerful tone. Her guards relaxed. Howie stepped back, amid the realizations that she was powerfully capable and capably powerful enough to handle this little stage manager all by herself.

Howie ends his retelling of the story with a Farah Fawcett kick back of his head, adding, "It was outrageous! Here I was trying to help this lady, making a concerted effort to make her look good. And not only does she not listen to me, but she cuts me off and doesn't let me do my job! I completely detest her. She is a loathesome and vile person."

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