Thursday, May 7

The Restaurant Files Present: The Blame Game

The Location: Manhattan, NY
Scene of the Crime: Dallas BBQ
Assailant: Tristan, my best friend
Victim: Me

We’re at the bar when Tristan causally says, “…oh, by the way, I saw him.” Now, I know what this means. This isn’t just another “…oh, by the way…” moment; she meant to bring this up. That’s why she’s got me here surrounded by all this booze. She wants to talk about IT: her sort-of, kind-of relationship, with her almost, could-have-been boyfriend. I’ve just been hoodwinked; for the rest of the evening I have to play The Blame Game.

And for those of you who don’t know the rules, I’ll state them:

·The best friend (you) must agree with the said girlfriend in any conversation that involves placing blame for unfortunate accidents that have resulted in the ending of a relationship with the said boyfriend.

· Never insinuate that it is the girlfriend’s fault in any way shape or form, even if you know her account of the events to be untrue. If consoling words cannot be thought of, it is appropriate to nod your head in agreement or roll your eyes, it is never however acceptable to use the phrase “ok if you say so”-this can only cause confusion and mistrust.

· Any nasty remarks you aim at the aforementioned boyfriend can be recalled into later conversations by the girlfriend once they get back together.

Ok, so now you know how the game is played. However, if you are still at a lost on how this works, please refer to National Geographic’s documentary on the eating habits of the female praying mantis.

And now, to start with, let’s see how well you can pick up the principles of the game:

I’m going to give you a synopsis of our conversation as an example. Take notice of all my responses in quotation marks these will help guide you should your girlfriend pull a Blame Game on you. During the conversation I will refer to her male friend as ‘Bozo’. When mentioning the ex- in conversation, remember to coin an unfair-yet-humorous new name for them. This will ensure you ‘brownie points’, which are vital in this game.

The saga began when Bozo invited Tristan over to his apartment to have a couple of drinks with him and his friends. Bozo then mentioned something about having run out of vodka and that’s where Tristan saw her ‘in’, so she offered to pick some up on her way over.

Now, the ‘in’ is an opportunity for women or men to make like a hero and save the day. The goal is to gain that person as an acquaintance - to hang out, get tight, become one of his or her favorite amigos without the person realizing that this is but a ploy to achieve the ‘more than friends’ status. You have to go on the campaign trail and make like the politician pretending to love eating in the neighborhood restaurant. In fact, you love it so much that you’ve invited camera crews to film it. Not unlike the spectacle you’re willing to put on in front of his or her friends to win them over. Problem is, the ‘in’ is hard to swing and there are rarely second chances.

Ok, now that I’ve explained that, let’s put Bozo back in play…

Once Tristan got to the apartment, she made drinks, drank drinks, drank some more drinks, joked around with his friends, drank more drinks, got sick and threw up in his tub. Now, notice my immediate response to having heard of this tragic incident:

“Poor dear…no, of course it’s not your fault. Remember you didn’t have anything to eat all day. Bozo should have offered more at the party then chips and pretzels, because, maybe if he fed people right, accidents like this just wouldn’t happen. Cheap ass Bozo bastard.”

After the hurling incident, Bozo drove her home; that was nice enough. According to Tristan, she thought so, too. So, in the car, in front of her house, she revealed to Bozo that she had ‘feelings’ for him. She says that he seemed receptive to that bit of information, but two weeks later when she saw him at a social function, he ignored her all night.

Now, one could say that she was ignored because she’d blown her ‘in’ by boozing it up and hurling in front of God, country and his friends, but watch how I chastise him in an effort to stick to the rules:

“What a dirty thing for him to do, just DIRTY. A person should never be judged by an accidental sin. It’s like overlooking all Tom Hanks good movies and judging him solely on the basis of Joe Versus the Volcano. It’s simply not fair.”

I won’t bore you with the rest of the story (her drunken rambling), besides, I’m sure you get plenty of that with your own friends. The last thing she said before the eventual alcohol driven loss of common sense was, “I heard Bozo got MARRIED last week; hasn’t even known her for 6 months and he didn’t bother sending me an invite!” I sat there wondering if someone would save me by taking the fork off my plate and stabbing it through my right temple, but with a job still left to complete I manage these last few words: “I’m sure that he’s miserable and that she’s a troll.”

Oh well, now you know the object of the Game: To live through it.

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