Love Me, Lesley Devertergrass
Lesley Devertergrass, we've known each other for some time now. You, working at the bookstore where I work; me, working at that same bookstore. We both punch in on the same time clock. We both talk to the same boss. You're quiet and shy, you keep your opinions to yourself. You have hair of golden flax. Me, I'm not quiet and shy. I used to be, but then I got a little unhinged in the eighth grade, and I can't stop myself from talking when I need to. Which is why I'm saying now: love me now, Lesley Devertergrass.
You know me, you know my last name, you know what my face looks like from day to day. You know my glasses are usually smudged. You know I'm a bad driver because I'm always complaining about other drivers so much, and I'm sure you've deduced that I'm not constantly around horrible drivers, and that I am the cause of it. You were there the other day when I came in after I got that ticket. I'm sure you find it endearing.
I'm sure you don't see the flakes of dandruff that flank my shoulder blades on the days when I wear dark shirts, or smell the kind of rancid whiff of ham that my teeth emanate, which I'm trying to ignore/clamp down on. We never get that close, physically. So, you've admired me from afar, silently. You're usually over at your register, staring in this kind of death-lock at its metal surface.
I imagine you say to yourself, "Why can't I learn something interesting about Ted. The good stuff. The personal secrets?" Or, if you hate me, if you think I'm annoying -- really, really annoying and that's why you never talk but you also never talk to anyone so I'm sure it's not me -- you think, "Why can't I get Ted to see himself as I see him, and change him into a wonderful beautiful flower which he only will if he listens to me?" and you're dying to use the dead air in between our selling copies of the Left Behind series to strangers to educate me in the ways of living.
I say, fear not, Lesley Devertergrass. Educate me in the ways of living.
You probably have some weird political views, or have a retarded brother, or are religious. I need to know this. You shouldn't be afraid of telling this stuff to me. Yes, I talk a lot, and compulsively, but sometimes the only way to get me to shut up is trust me with information. I will see the importance of the personal details of your life and I won't tell anyone about them.
This is how it will be when we are lovers, Lesley. I will call you like I called you just now, by your first name only, and then after demonstrating that I am such a heterosexual man that we will have sex, we will do other heterosexual things, like cuddle, and raise children. Or, no -- first, we will be rebellious white twenty-somethings living in the arty section of town, doing important things with art or near artists and somehow no longer working in this soulless middle-class chain bookstore, with its obviously chosen "B" name so people can find it near "Books" in the phone book. We will fly away from here, like Wesley and Buttercup in a Princess Bride, with just as much wit as I remember that movie having, and with also, like a movie, no smells.
Come over to my register.
I'm telepathically telling you to come over to my register now.
I'm waiting for you.
I'm pulsing. I feel you, across the bookstore. I feel your heart beating beneath your tasteful earth-tone sweater.
Listen to me, Lesley Devertergrass:
The owner of a lonely heart
The owner of a lonely heart
Is much better. Than.
No, wait. That song doesn't fit my purposes at all. I. I just heard it on the radio.
Nevertheless, you won't risk a broken heart with me, Lesley Devertergrass. I'm so hard-up I'll never leave you. Come over here to where the good stuff is. Where you might actually smile. Come to the good side. Come to Ted country.