I’ll Trade You A Ceramic Chicken For Him

Sitting at the bar with a drink, a light nosh, and a magazine. Unwinding and looking for fashion ideas that will hopefully deceive the public as to the amount of class and grace i actually possess. Starting to feel all the bad vibes escape through the calamari. I feel a presence, and a body slides into the chair next to me.

At first glance, i was guessing his name was Chet, and he spent his weekends trying to lure 14 year-olds into the back of a panel van.  I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s kind of hard to get past that thought. Home-bleached Sideshow Bob hair, tobacco-stained teeth, and a shirt unbuttoned to show his mangy chest hair… The appearance of a man who sells weed out of the back of an Ice Cream truck.

Why is it always these guys?

But maybe i’m being prejudiced. He might be a perfectly fine man. So i nod hello and go back to my magazine. A minute or so later, he sticks his jaundiced finger on an ad with a young and voluptuous model wearing strategically and provocatively torn jeans and two pasties over her ducks and says, “You would look good in that.”

The fact that it is total bullshit is overshadowed by my disgust at the lechery oozing from his face. Eeeewww. Just eeeewww.

So much for me being prejudiced.

I raise an eyebrow, utter a quiet and curt “Thanks”, and go back to the magazine.

He chats up the bartender, who appears to be about as enamored with him as i am, and in the periphery of my hearing, there is a comment about bitchy and unsociable women. I wanted to say something, but ignored the impulse, lest it start a conversation.

I’m not in the mood to fight.

I’m not sure what it is about me that attracts these people. The creepy; the crude; the crass. The ones who smack of squalid morals and smell of stale hormones. They always seem to find me. Or maybe it isn’t me… Maybe they hit all of us, and we all wonder that same thing. In any case, the only way this man could be more scheevey is if he was wearing a big, ugly scorpio medallion around his neck.

Just about the time i motion to pay my tab and gather to leave, a couple of young blondies take the stools on his other side and he puts his attention there. One of the few times in life i’ve been relieved to be replaced.

But i will give the guy credit for one thing – He was real. He wasn’t hiding his intention, not trying to be sly. He wore his indecency like a signature cologne – as part of his persona as his accent. I might not have liked what he was peddling, but at least i knew i wasn’t being swindled. And there is real value in that. Not enough value to give the man my number, but value nonetheless. And it makes me question what would be enough value, and am i trying to buy a Mercedes on a Chevy budget?

Since value is largely subjective, i don’t suppose there is a single correct answer. There are people in this world that would pay $100 for a ceramic chicken. I wouldn’t pay $5. So what is the value of the chicken? Maybe there isn’t a single value at all. Maybe it’s a range of values. Maybe it’s a three-dimensional graph plot. Maybe it’s a complex trigonometric equation to be expressed in base 7.  Hell, maybe it’s 42. I don’t know. To be honest, i’m not even sure we can know our own worth. “Eye of the beholder” and all that.

It’s probably a good thing. It would be sad to find out that you weren’t worth more than a ceramic chicken.

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