Saturday, August 18, 2007

That Don't Mean Nuthin'


Time: 1982
Place: Atlanta, Georgia

I was working as a paste-up artist at a printing company. The typesetter and I worked side by side in a small office. The typesetter, a zaftig woman about the same age as me, had a thick Southern accent, and was extremely good at her job. We got along very well and often went to lunch together. Our relationship was platonic. There was no sexual tension between us, besides she was happily married.

The printing company had two large four-color presses and three smaller two-color presses. Bill and Dwayne ran the four-color presses. They were both fat slobs. Bill was an alcoholic who routinely missed a week of work starting the Monday after payday. He would cash his paycheck on Friday and drink heavily all weekend. It always took him a week to recover.

Dwayne was not an alcoholic. He was just mean. Dwayne had Barney Rubble’s body, wore Coke bottle glasses, and kept his black hair shiny and slicked down with hair gel. His mutton chop sideburns were manicured into sharp points along the side of his pudgy cheeks. Dwayne loved to sing as he worked. He only knew one song, well actually, one lyric, which he sang over and over again as loudly as he could.

“It’s hard to be humble,” Dwayne sang. “When you’re perfect in av-er-ree way!”

Dwayne kept asking me when I was going to have sex with the typesetter.

“She’s cute,” Dwayne said. “You should get ya some of that ass.”

“I have no intention of getting some of ‘that ass,’” I said. “Besides, she’s married.”

“Married?” Dwayne said. “That don’t mean nuthin’.”

“Really?” I said. “Then tell me Dwayne, what’s your wife doing tonight?”

Dwayne’s mouth dropped open. He stared at me silently for a full minute.

“Why would you want to go out with her?” he asked.

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