Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to build a perfect day

I've had a lot of great days with wives, lovers and good friends. Some even by myself. But like a particularly shiny rhinestone on Dolly Parton, they may have a hard time standing out from the rest of the great days. I think to have a really perfect day, it has to stand alone, unexpected and unencumbered by context.

Image from here

And I'm not talking about perfect moments, like the birth of your child, or the time the guy in your school who looked like Ashton Kutcher kissed you in the closet at your older sister's party. Because the birth was preceded by twenty-seven hours of screaming and threats, and the Ashton look-alike never called again, even though you let him go under the shirt in the closet. See where I'm going here? Minimum six hours, all pleasant. No complications before or after. These are the rules.

I've had exactly three of these wonderful days, and after careful analysis, I have a hypothesis about how one could go about building one for oneself. Because that's what I do. Show me three unrelated food items and I will develop an hypothesis about how they would taste together in a pie. Also, I invoke really old-fashioned spelling and punctuation rules intermittently, and with no perceivable pattern. Anyway, here's my (I'll count when I'm done) rules for building a perfect day.

1. Be in high school. I can't stress this enough. Perfect days require a particular blend of energy, ignorance, and foolishness that should only be found in high school kids. If you are a grownup and still doing/believing/imagining this stuff, move out of your mom's basement and get a job. Or maybe enroll in community college. Either way, the important thing is to take off the cape, put down the bong, and join the rest of us in the real world. Oh, and if you're younger than high school age, you are really not old enough to participate in, or appreciate, the PG-13 type activities required, so you're disqualified. Sorry.

2. Go someplace unusual. Preferably someplace exotic. It doesn't have to be Phuket or Xanadu, but Six Flags or Colorado will work, for instance.

3. Ditch your parents, chaperones, or any boring or ugly friends. You're allowed no more than one wingman (or lady). I really shouldn't have to include that one, but some people just need everything spelled out for them.

4. Meet someone of the opposite sex who is probably out of your league, but just barely. It helps if they are a little bored. It can be someone of the same sex if that's how you prefer to roll. I guess. Never tried it, because it's not how I roll. Not that there's anything wrong with it. And now that I think of it, a perfect gay day may be completely different than what I'm thinking. If anyone has one of those, let me know how it goes, and I will try to develop a hypothesis.

5. Play. Shop in the straw market, ride roller coasters, or explore a frontier town together. Smile. Laugh. Hold hands. You know, the crap they stuff into montages in romantic comedies, accompanied by Beach Boys music, or upbeat indie love songs.

6. Make a fool of yourself. Sing to them, draw their picture, buy them a straw hat and pull it down on their head, or something equally ridiculous. If they don't push you down and laugh at you, this is how you know that you have left reality behind, and it's safe to go on to the next phase.

7. Unexpected deliciousness. Something that indicates you've both lost all common sense and inhibitions. None of my days involved sex, at least not by Presidential standards. But at least two involved things I never expected to do with girls I just met, especially without buying them dinner first. And all three were at least partly in semi-public. In fact, I think we probably need a corollary, or a lemma, or something.

7b. Inappropriate deliciousness in semi-public. Examples include behind the smokestack of the Carnival Mardi Gras, standing on the platform between two cars of the Durango-Silverton railroad, and behind the Spindletop at Six Flags Over Texas. This is just the right degree of naughtiness to ensure that there will be a little (but not too much) shame tossed in, which seems to be important for Americans to feel like they've enjoyed themselves.

8. Leave everyone wanting more. You're going to want a hard deadline. Let's face it, most of us lose our luster pretty quickly, and if someone is going to populate my fantasies, we need to hit it and quit it before they start telling me I would look better with long hair, or how I remind them of somebody famous but they can't think of who and it's going to drive them crazy all day.* Or how their college selection process is going, or what sort of car they hope they get for graduation. The park needs to close, ship dock, or train arrive while we both still think it's going great.

9. Never see them again.  This is really an extension of the last one, but I'm starting to feel like I can stretch this to ten rules, so I'm going for it. It's okay to write for a while, if you must, and you can stalk them on Facebook when you're older, but don't try to parlay this into any sort of relationship. First of all, it's never going to work, and you're just going to end up ruining a perfectly good memory. And no one wants to have to explain to their steady girlfriend or boyfriend why this person from Stone Mountain, Georgia, keeps calling their house.

10. Don't go back there. It's good not to return to the scene for at least twenty years, after everything has changed and you're not 100% sure you can recognize the place where all the fun happened. If you go back too soon, you're either going to put ridiculous expectations on yourself and whomever you're with for how much fun it's going to be, or you will see your original experience in the harsh light of reality, and realize that what actually happened is a mutual sexual assault between two underage strangers who were overcome by boredom and an unexpected blast of hormones. Great memories are like great wines. They definitely benefit from aging. And there is always some crap in the bottom of the bottle that you don't want to examine too closely.

*It's either Jeff Bridges or William Hurt. Let's move on.


  1. not a bad set of rules, but if i obey them? i have never had a perfect day. i was about 42 the first time it happened... (conference hook ups ROCK!)

  2. Great fun. And I miss you. Having a fun week??

  3. Jeff Bridges or William Hurt; not bad!

    Okay, moving on now.

  4. @daisyfae: Maybe that could be a corollary. Conferences are sort of like high school. I've never figured out why.

    @Wye: It's been good, but busy. Miss you, too.

    @Two: Unfortunately, it's Jeff Bridges from The Big Lebowski and William Hurt from Accidental Tourist.

  5. Jeff Bridges is excellent.

    I've never had anyone tell me I remind them of anyone. But I've definitely had days like that. Had one a couple of weeks ago, in fact. Brilliant.

  6. Hey Chris, thanks for stopping by my blog again.
    Those were good things.
    I agree with that last part of the post. Good things/experiences need to be LEFT there for a long time. It seems like the longer they remain in your memory, the BIGGER and better it was.
    I think I'll try and creat...or accidently fall upon.....a few more of those good days.