Category Archives: Travel

I don’t feel safe. I feel violated, humiliated, and angry.

Yesterday, I was touched — in my opinion, inappropriately — by a TSA agent at LAX.

I'm not going to talk about it in detail until I can speak with an attorney, but I've spent much of the last 24 hours replaying it over and over in my mind, and though some of the initial outrage has faded, I still feel sick and angry when I think about it.

What I want to say today is this: I believe that the choice we are currently given by the American government when we need to fly is morally wrong, unconstitutional, and does nothing to enhance passenger safety.

I further believe that when I choose to fly, I should not be forced to choose between submitting myself to a virtually-nude scan (and exposing myself to uncertain health risks due to radiation exposure)1, or enduring an aggressive, invasive patdown where a stranger puts his hands in my pants, and makes any contact at all with my genitals.

When I left the security screening yesterday, I didn't feel safe. I felt violated, humiliated, assaulted, and angry. I felt like I never wanted to fly again. I was so furious and upset, my hands shook for quite some time after the ordeal was over. I felt sick to my stomach for hours.

This is wrong. Nobody should have to feel this way, just so we can get on an airplane. We have fundamental human and constitutional rights in America, and among those rights is a reasonable expectation of personal privacy, and freedom from unreasonable searches. I can not believe that the TSA and its supporters believe that what they are doing is reasonable and appropriate. Nobody should have to choose between a virtually-nude body scan or an aggressive, invasive patdown where a stranger puts his or her hands inside your pants and makes any contact at all with your genitals or breasts as a condition of flying.

I do not have the luxury of simply refusing to fly unless and until this policy changes. I have to travel dozens of times a year for work, and it simply isn't practical to travel any other way. Airlines know that I am not unique in this regard, so they have no incentive to take a stand on their customers' behalf. Our government also knows this, so our Congressmen and Congresswomen have no incentive to stand up for the rights and freedoms of their constituencies against powerful and politically-connected lobbyists like the former head of the TSA. This is also wrong.

I have to travel back into the USA next week, and I'll be back and forth between Los Angeles and Vancouver for much of the next several months. When I think about all this travel, I feel helpless, disempowered, and victimized by the airlines and the TSA … and I'm one of the lucky passengers who has never been sexually assaulted. I can't imagine what it must feel like for someone who has been the victim of sexual violence to know that they are faced with the same two equally-unacceptable choices that I faced yesterday, and will likely face whenever I fly in the future.

It's fundamentally wrong that any government can force its citizens to submit to totally unreasonable searches so we have the "freedom" to travel. It is fundamentally wrong that the voices of these same citizens are routinely ignored, our feelings marginalized, and our concerns mocked.

I don't know what we can do to change this, but we must do something. I'm writing letters to all of my congressional representatives, contacting an attorney, and reaching out to the ACLU when I get home. I am not optimistic that anything will change, because I feel like the system is institutionally biased against individuals like me … but maybe if tens of thousands of travelers express our outrage at this treatment, someone will be forced to listen.

Edit to add one more thing: I don't believe that all TSA officersare automatically bad people (though we've seen that at least some are.) For example, I recently flew out of Seattle, opted-out, and got a non-invasive, professional, polite patdown. It was still annoying, but at least my genitals weren't touched in any way, which was decidedly not the case yesterday. I realize that most TSA officers are doing the best they can in a job that requires them to interact with people who automatically dislike them and what they represent. It isn't the individual officer who is the problem; it's the policies he or she is instructed to carry out that need to change.

1. The TSA recently admitted that the amount of radiation passengers are exposed to in backscatter scanners was 10 times more than they originally claimed. The TSA claims that the scanners are still safe, but what else would we expect them to claim?

I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool.

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One of my favorite things on JoCoCruiseCrazy was our Informal Moustache Formal, organized by the (now dead to me) Paul F. Not Coming On the Cruise Because I Got a "Job" that "Pays Me" and "Furthers My Career" Tompkins.

During the Informal Formal, Kevin Murphy loaned me this most exquisite fez, which I wore proudly until it was time for the Informal Moustache Formal to come to its inevitable and all-too-soon conclusion.

"Thank you," I would say when a gentleman or lady would compliment me on the aforementioned fez, "it is on loan from the Murphy collection."

(Photo by my friend Atom Moore, who has a brazillion pictures from the cruise up at Flickr.)

in which wil performs some material from the expanded happiest days

Hey look! It's me at the Emerald City Comicon, performing some stuff for the nice people.

If the embed isn't working, this link may get you where you want to go.

I thought it went well, especially considering that this was the first time any of these stories have been performed for an audience.

i’ll be at the emerald city comicon in seattle this weekend

I’m going to be in Seattle this weekend for the Emerald City Comicon. I had a blast at this show last year, and I’ve been looking forward to coming back ever since.

I’m coming up a day early to do some media stuff to help promote the con, so if you live in Seattle, you can hear me on KISW 99.9 in the 7am (ouch) hour on Friday morning, and Friday night, I’ll be on KIRO’s show Too Beautiful to Live at 8pm.

The con opens on Saturday at 10. I don’t have any panels on Saturday (though I’m considering an impromptu reading at my table in the vendor’s room sometime during the day) but I’ll be around until they kick us out. Sunday, the doors open at 10, and I have a panel at 2pm. I haven’t decided what I’m doing on that panel, but it will likely be a reading of something from the expanded Subterranean Press edition of The Happiest Days of Our Lives, followed by a Q&A.

I’ll have the usual collection of 8×10 pictures to sign, as well as the few remaining Monolith Press copies of Happiest Days, a few Dancing Barefoots, and a handful of Just a Geeks. I am also really excited that I have some copies of Sunken Treasure.

Admission to the con is $30 for both days, or you can come just Saturday for $20, or just Sunday for $15.

Books I Love: A Voyage for Madmen

While all the books I've talked about this week played an important part in shaping 20 year-old me into grown-up me, I'm finishing with one that I read a few years later than all of them, called A Voyage for Madmen. It's just as important as all the others, but for a different reason that sets it apart from the rest. They all helped expand my world, but this book helped me figure out who I was, and what was important to me.

In 1968, nine men entered a contest to sail around the world, alone, without stopping. The contest was sponsored by The Sunday Times, and the rules were pretty simple: leave from London between June and October, sail around the three great capes, and don't put into port until you get back. The first man to return to London won a trophy, and the sailor with the fastest time won £5000.

On one level, the story is an incredible adventure about nine men who took on a task that must have seemed almost impossible. Remember, there were no GPS devices in 1968, and no satellite navigation of any kind. They had to rely on charts, barometers, limited radio, and their wits to survive. Only one of them actually completed the race.

The book was exciting, but it spoke to me on an entirely different level than just adventure. If you've read Just A Geek, you know of my struggles with Prove to Everyone, my struggles to support my family, and my struggles to just figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life. I heavily identified with the insurmountable odds the sailors in this story faced, but none more than this man called Donald Crowhurst, whose story was so tragic you couldn't make it up.

Donald Crowhurst had experienced some small success with an electronics business, but as he got older, it was harder and harder for him to remain successful, or even relevant. This resonated with me like you wouldn't believe when I was around 27 or 28. He entered the race, completely unprepared, because he hoped the publicity and cash prize would save his business. He didn't do it because it was meaningful to him. He didn't do it because it was something he couldn't live without. He didn't do it for the adventure, for the challenge, or for the love of the ocean. He did it because he felt like he had to do it, and that it was his last and only chance to have a life worth living. When it became clear that he couldn't do it, he sailed off course to the South Atlantic and started faking his position through radio reports. He eventually lost his mind, and committed suicide. He never saw his wife again. I was never suicidal, but I read Crowhurst's story as a cautionary tale that I could relate to very, very intimately. In fact, in 2002, I mentioned him when I wrote about what I thought was a career-ending decision to accept a forgettable infomercial gig in Just A Geek:

Accepting it would mean some security for me and my family. It was also a really cool computer-oriented product (which I'll get to later, don't worry). It's not like I would be hawking “The Ab-Master 5000” or “Miracle Stain Transmogrifier X!"

It would also mean, to me at least, the end of any chance I had of ever being a really major actor again. That elusive chance to do a film as good as, or better than, Stand By Me, or a TV series as widely-watched as TNG would finally fall away.

I thought of all these things, walking Ferris through my neighborhood.

It was a long walk.

I thought of Donald Crowhurst.

I thought about why actors – and by actors I mean working, struggling actors like myself, not Big Time Celebrities like I was 15 years ago – suffer the indignities of auditions and the whims of Hollywood.

I remembered something I said to a group of drama students just before their graduation, paraphrasing Patrick Stewart: “If you want to be a professional actor, you have to love the acting, the performing, the thrill of creating a character and giving it life. You have to love all of that more than you hate how unfair the industry is, more than the constant rejection – and it is constant – hurts. You must have a passion within you that makes it worthwhile to struggle for years while pretty boys and pretty girls take your parts away from you again and again and again."

I listened to my words, echoing off the linoleum floor of that high school auditorium and realized that those words, spoken long ago, were as much for me as they were for them.

I listened to my words and I realized: I don't have that passion any more. It simply isn't there.

I am no longer willing to miss a family vacation, or a birthday, or a recital, for an audition.

I am no longer willing to humiliate myself for some casting director who refuses to accept the fact that I'm pretty good with comedy.

I am no longer willing to ignore what I'm best at and what I love the most, because I've spent the bulk of my life trying to succeed at something else.

I walked back to my house, picked up the phone and accepted the offer.

It was tumultuous, scary, exhilarating, depressing, thrilling, joyful.

I would spend the next three weeks wondering if I'd made the right decision. I would question and doubt it over and over again.

Was it the right decision? I don't know.

Things have certainly changed for me, though. I have only had three auditions in the last three months. A year ago that would have killed me, but I'm really not bothered by it now.

I've made my family my top priority and decided to focus on what I love: downloading porn.

Just kidding.

I've decided to focus on what I really love, what is fulfilling, maybe even what I am meant to do, in the great cosmic sense: I am writing.

Since I wrote that, I've grown up even more, and realized that I could be an actor and a writer, but my resolve to put my family ahead of everything, instead of putting Make It As An Actor No Matter What ahead of everything remains. (And, as it turns out, I enjoy this writing thing, which is kind of nice.)

There's another man in the story, named Bernard Moitessier. He was a famous French sailor, who seemed poised to win the race, when he decided to just … keep on sailing. His was a spiritual and philosophical journey, driven by the love of the journey. It was inspiring and reassuring to me. Following his story, and reading his book The Long Way helped me remember that if we're entirely focused on the destination, we rarely enjoy the journey. It took me a few years, but once I was able to let go of my destination (Proving to Everyone That Quitting Star Trek Wasn't A Mistake) I was able to enjoy my journey: my wife, my kids, my writing, my family, my life. And you know what ended up happening? I didn't get lots of acting work, but I got the right kind of acting work. Whether it was VO or on-camera, it was stuff that was fun, that was challenging, and that was entirely worth my time.

Every book I've talked about this week changed my life, and though I didn't expect any of them would when I started reading them, none was more surprising than this one.

Now, I don't want anyone to get me wrong. You don't need to be in your mid-twenties, struggling like crazy to support your wife and kids while you watch your once-promising acting career continue to slip away to get something meaningful out of this book; it works very well as an adventure story about some truly unique men who did something most of us will never do. There are truly heroic feats in this tale, and it's an easy and thoroughly enjoyable read.

But if you've ever wanted to test your wits against the world, or if you've ever struggled against the tide, I think you'll be glad you took A Voyage for Madmen.

in praise of the scenic route

The 101 between Ventura and Salinas is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway I’ve ever driven (and I’ve driven a lot of them). The highway winds up to San Francisco from Los Angeles, along the coast in places, but mostly inland through soft rolling foothills and quiet farming valleys. You’ll see everything from vineyards to oil fields on the drive, and though it takes about an hour longer than the more boring but direct I-5, if you’re not in a hurry, it’s worth the extra time.

This trip provided me with some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever experienced on the 101: the grass on the foothills is golden, creating an inviting backdrop for splashes of color thrown across it by wild flowers. There was orange from poppies, yellow and green from wild mustard flowers, bright purple from lavender, and occasional bursts of bright green from grass that hadn’t gotten the memo about dying off for summer. Around it all were gnarled oak trees, providing shade for grazing cattle and horses.

Once I got north of Soledad, towering Eucalyptus trees — sixty feet tall, it seemed — stood guard over vast green fields of lettuce and celery, as if the foothills had been somehow pushed back by farmers decades or even a century ago. Near Monterey, a heavy blanket of fog did its best to come inland, as coastal mountains held it back.

I saw all of this under clear blue skies as I made my way up to San Jose, accompanied by Dimension X on m iPod (an odd but wonderful soundtrack, indeed). I was tired and road weary when I finally pulled into the hotel parking garage nearly seven hours after I’d left my house, but it was entirely worth it.

Geek Tour 2008: San Jose Super-Con – Updated

This weekend, the 2008 Geek Tour rolls into San Jose for Super-Con!

Original Announcement:

May 17-18
Super-Con
San Jose, CA

When I worked on NUMB3RS, I met the guys in charge of Super-Con in
San Jose. In fact, they were a big part of making Alt Con 9 (the fake
con in the show) look and feel as real as it did. I haven’t been to San
Jose for a convention since the only way to get there was via mule
train, so I’m looking forward to traveling up the coast in more modren
style, perhaps by zeppelin or auto-gyro.

I don’t have a lot of details for this one, and I don’t even know if I’ll get a chance to perform from my books, make balloon animals or just stand around making lists of things.

However, I’ll have a booth of awesome, where I’ll be hanging out on Saturday and Sunday, trading books and pictures for shiny gold rocks. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to visit with some cool people while and angry guy complains about it. That’s always pretty fun.

I’m hoping the copies of Just A Geek and Dancing Barefoot that I ordered at great expense to myself arrive today, because if they don’t, I won’t have any of them for this show, which would be sad. [see Update at bottom]However, I should have shiny new copies of the second printing of Happiest Days, and 2008′s chapbook-o-rama, Sunken Treasure.

Uh, this is also pretty goddamn cool: The original cast of MST3K will be getting together — reuniting, if you will — for the first time since the exciting rock climbing portion of the film began. I’m kind of excited to listen to whatever they have to say, and hope I can trade them shiny gold rocks for their automagraphs on my copy of Manos: the Hands of Fate.

UPDATE: FedEx and UPS came through for me. I have the second printing of Happiest Days, as well as copies of Just A Geek and Dancing Barefoot. This means that, if you like, you can trade me shiny gold rocks (or Kongbucks) for The Complete Works of Me, Wil Wheaton.

Of course, now I have so much stuff to take and no time to ship it, so it looks like me and the 101 are going to spend about 5 hours of quality time together tomorrow. And again on Sunday. Good thing I have Dimension X on my iPod.

highlights from my damn geeky weekend

So my geeky weekend was totally awesome, and there were a few moments I thought I’d share. Before I get there, though, I need to clear something up: On Friday, as I was running out of the house, I said "Go see Iron Man this weekend. It is awesome. I saw a preview screening on Monday, and other than
the score (which is absolute crap) the movie is damn near perfect. I
think it’s the best comic book movie since Sin City, and blows
Transformers and the last two X-Men movies into oblivion."

Uh. Yeah. I don’t know how, but I managed to leave Batman Begins and Ghost World out of that, which is further evidence that I am a complete moron. Lots of people disagree with me about Sin City and X-Men. Those people are all wrong, of course, but my leaving out Batman Begins and Ghost World is just inexcusable. I deeply regret the error, and hang my head in shame while I carefully fold up my nerd cape. I’ll be in the corner for a little bit, thinking about what I did.

Okay, now that we’re done with that, allow me to share some highlights from my weekend with you:

Friday night I said to Anne, "When I finish this martini, I’m going to think it’s a great idea to have another martini. It will, in fact, be a very bad idea for me to have another martini, and I’d appreciate it if you’d remind me of that fact when the time comes."

When the time came, she wasn’t at the table. Oops.

Saturday morning, we unsurprisingly slept too late to get breakfast at the hotel, so we went to a supermarket and got yogurt, bananas, juice and stuff. I think we ended up having a more healthy and less expensive breakfast than we would have had at the hotel.

I wasn’t nervous at all about my reading at Mysterious Galaxy, which was really weird. In fact, while we were driving there (Anne was driving, I was reading from my book because I got it into my head that it may be a good idea to try something new about 20 minutes before showtime) I said to Anne, "You know what’s weird? I’m not nervous at all." It was at that very moment that I got nervous.

There were more people at Mysterious Galaxy than I was expecting, and when I walked into the store, the whole place fell silent and everyone was staring at me. You know how you walk into a room and feel like everyone was just talking about you? It was like that. I mean, they probably were, but it was still weird. It didn’t do much for the nervousness.

When I started my reading, I heard words coming out of my mouth, but I didn’t know what they were. I do that when I’m nervous and haven’t prepared any introductory remarks. If you were there and noticed this, thank you for not booing me.

I usually read blue light special and maybe exactly what I wanted, but I thought the MG crowd would be entertained by and relate to beyond the realm of the starlight. It turns out that they liked it, so my last minute decision to change the usual program was rewarded. In the future, though, I think I’ll stick with the cards, lest I get a visit from Nick Fury when I’m done.

Unrelated to this post: Time Machine is making a backup right now, and it’s making my mouse jumpy. That is SO FUCKING IRRITATING.

Right. Back to business:

After I was finished reading, I took some questions. The thing about this is that nobody ever has questions when I say, "I’d be happy to entertain your questions," but when I’m signing their book, they have tons of questions, so instead of getting to tell my hilarious and charming jokes to everyone, I get to tell them to one person at a time. I must come up with some way of helping people not feel self conscious when it’s Q&A time. I should also clarify that I don’t mind answering questions or getting my geek on when I sign your book. In fact, I’ve noticed over the years that when I sign books for people, we almost always end up having some huge geek moment about movies or software or other geeky topics. I absolutely love that and hope it won’t ever go away.

While I was signing books, a girl about my age walked up to the table. She extended her hand and said, "Hi, I’m Gina."

"Hi Gina," I said. "It’s nice to meet you."

"I’m a blogger," she said.

"Oh? Cool!" I said. "What’s your blog?"

"It’s called ‘Lifehacker,’ and –"

It was at this point that I completely lost my shit and spent the next eleventy hundred minutes telling her how much I love Lifehacker. I think I slimed her pretty hard, but she wrote the nicest thing in the universe about me on Lifehacker today. Uh, wow. Thanks, Gina!

I also met a reader who nearly made me cry when she told me about her relationship with her stepdad, and how my books were a part of it. Stepkids: it means more than you’ll ever know when you tell your stepparents how much you love them, and when that moment finally comes where you accept how much we love you back, it’s the most cherished moment in our lives.

Saturday night was much more sedate and responsible than Friday night (and how lame and old am I that 3 martinis now qualifies as crazygonuts?)

Sunday morning, we got up early enough to eat breakfast in the hotel, and I wished that we hadn’t. I had a waffle with berries and maple syrup, but forgot to ensure that the "maple syrup" wasn’t that corn syrup bullshit that makes me sick to my stomach before I infected the entire waffle with it. I still ate about half of the waffle, though, because I was so hungry.

"I am really looking forward to eating lunch at Stone," I said to Anne, "because I’m seriously thinking about going all Karen Carpenter on this breakfast."

We eventually made our way up to Escondido, wandered around the beer garden (which is awesome and beautiful) and settled in for a nice long lunch.

It ended up being longer than I’d initially planned, because the restaurant was ridiculously busy yesterday, and we didn’t get our food until about 15 minutes before I was supposed to go read. As I watched tons of people stream in with my book in their hand, I got the nervous stomach and couldn’t eat. Awesome. Greg Koch, who is the co-founder of Stone and invited me, reminded me that, once people are in the beer garden, they relax and live on "beer time," which is much more laid back than real time. This actually put me at ease, which is very hard to do before I am about to perform.

Oh! Please enjoy this moment from lunch, which I sent to Twitter:
  Anne: It’s Jedi day! Me: What? Anne: May the Fourth be with you. Me: OMG I am so sending that to Twitter.

My reading was great. There were about 50 people there, and I felt like my introductory remarks were much better than they were at MG, probably because I spent some time really thinking about what I would say. Amazing how preparation helps me feel prepared, isn’t it?

There were lots of questions when I was done, and I had a good time answering them (some marginally inappropriate answers were brought to you by Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale.) I think everyone had a good time, and Greg said that I could come back with future books, which I intend to do as long as I can keep coming up with stuff that’s worth reading.

After the reading, we had dessert, and I was finally able to enjoy a Ruination IPA. Anne drove us home in time to watch one of the funniest episodes of Family Guy I’ve ever seen, and I ended the night watching one of the most exciting NHL playoff games I’ve ever seen.

It was a fantastic weekend, and I want to thank everyone from Mysterious Galaxy (which has autographed copies of all my books, now, if you want to order them) as well as everyone from Stone who put on these events. Most importantly, though, I want to thank everyone who made the effort to come out and spend some time with me this weekend. I did my best not to suck, and I think I mostly succeeded.

anne and wil’s excellent new york adventure, part two

When we last left our heroes, your humble narrator had just gathered up his droogs for a little bit of the old ultraviolence a–

Oops. Sorry. Wrong humble narrator. Allow me to begin again.

When we last left our heroes, your humble narrator had just suggested a quick walk uptown to see the Flatiron building.

We headed back up fifth avenue toward midtown. It was starting to
get dark, and we’d planned to meet up with Kathleen and Atom for snacks
and drink, so we had time for just one more silly sight seeing thing I
wanted to do.

"I really want to see the Flatiron building," I said.

"I really wish you wouldn’t talk in hyperlinks," Anne said.

"Sorry. I’m a blogger. I can’t help it."

"What’s the Flatiron building?" She said.

"Oh, you’ll recognize it as soon as you see it, " I said. "It’s only about a fifteen minute walk from here."

I hate to disappoint everyone who was waiting for the hilarious joke about how it took an hour when I made a wrong turn and ended up looking into the Hudson, but the boring truth is that it really did take just about fifteen minutes to walk from Washington Square Park up fifth avenue to 22nd street.

The journey was not unpleasant, though I did notice an unsettling amount of big chain stores along the way. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m getting really sick and tired of seeing the same twenty stores wherever I go. At least they left the buildings alone on 5th, though. In California they tear the historical buildings down and replace them with peach stucco boxes that invariably have a Subway, Jamba Juice and Old Navy in them.

A question for New Yorkers: What’s with all the scaffolds? They seem as impermanent as the going out of business sales you used to see in the camera shops on Times Square before it was gentrified into a giant fucking mall.

By the time we’d made it to 22nd street, I’d gotten Anne accustomed to
walking across a street when it was safe, rather than only when
permitted by a stoplight. This is a significant achievement for a
couple of California kids. Please send flowers and awards.

"Okay, we just have to walk up one more block, and then you’ll totally recognize it," I said.

One block later, Anne said, "Hey! I totally recognize this building!"

"I know it’s stupid to walk all the way up here just to look at a building with a funny shape," I said, "but since we never do authentically ‘touristy’ things, I thought this was a better plan than going to the Hard Rock."

We walked up into Madison Square a little bit, while I took some pictures. "Man, this is going to be called ‘Wil’s trip to New York where he took pictures of the Flatiron building." I said. I took a few more and added, "If I take many more, I think I’m officially stalking it."

(The pictures are meh, but I’m particularly proud of this one, with the crescent moon sort of hanging around and saying, "Hey! I’m the moon! Soy la Luna!")

I put the camera away, and we walked into Madison Square Park. It was just as exciting and vibrant as Washington Square Park, without all the damn construction. We particularly enjoyed all the dogs getting their dog park on, juxtaposed against the tons of people sitting on benches using the WiFi on their laptops and iPhones. Living in Los Angeles with a huge back yard, we totally take public outdoor spaces for granted — and let’s face it, most of our urban parks here are crummy and filled with hobos — so it was cool to see so many people outside, enjoying them in the midst of the concrete jungle.

We meandered though the park and passed a couple in their mid-twenties, sitting together on a bench on what was most likely a pre-third date meeting. The energy and excitement between them was electric. Anne squeezed my hand a little tighter and said, "I love that I’m in New York with my husband."

"I love that too," I said. "I’m really glad we could make this trip."

Just then her phone chirped at her. "It’s Kat and Atom," she said, "they want to meet up at Galaxy in a few minutes."

"You mean Galaxy?"

"I really hate it when you do that."

"At least I didn’t do this," I said.

"You can’t Rickroll me in real life, dummy." She said.

"Oh yeah? Ask me a question."

She sighed and put her hand on her hip. "What time is it?"

"’Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down never gonna –"

"Just stop it. This conversation isn’t even happening. You’re just making it up to amuse yourself."

It was true.

"How am I doing?"

"The real me would probably make a comment that’s a lot funnier than anything you can come up with, and since you’re putting words into my mouth anyway, I’m just going to say that you’re handsome, suave and charming."

"Oh go on," I said.

"Also, when we get home, you should buy several classic game cabinets and put them in your office."

"You’re the boss, dear," I said.

And that’s exactly how it happened, I swear to jeebus.

Still more to come . . .