There was this big, dopey kid who worked as a valet at the hotel where I used to work. I’d taken to calling him “Invincible Andy,” because his name was Andy and he seemed to think he was invincible.
I first noticed it while chatting with him in the lobby one day as a guest walked by. This particular guest was a really big dude; a pro-wrestler type with 30-inch biceps and a massive chest. We both said hello to him as he passed and, once he was out the front door I said, “I’d hate to run into THAT guy in a dark alley if he were mad at me.”
That’s when Andy said, “Eh” and shrugged.
“What do you mean EH?” I asked.
“You know the old saying, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
“Oh YEAH, Andy, you’re going to knock THAT guy on his ass?”
“Sure, man, you just have to know where to hit him.”
He shrugged again and walked away, an air of nonchalance clinging to him like cheap cologne.
Andy is not a small guy. He clocks in at about 6’1″, and maybe 220 lbs at the most. But he’s a blob and I’d bet my last dollar that any run-of-the-mill bouncer could easily bounce him should he need bouncing.
This “eh” thing along with the accompanying shrug had been a pretty consistent trait of his whenever something was brought up that could prove potentially harmful or even fatal.
“Andy, you wouldn’t want to drink a cup of arsenic, it would kill you!”
“Eh.. (shrug) just down a cup of milk as fast as you can afterward and it’ll neutralize it.”
“Andy, if you walk in front of a city bus and get hit, it could throw you as much as a hundred feet and break every bone in your body!”
“Eh.. (shrug) just tuck and roll right before impact, you’ll be fine.”
One evening, we were all standing around in the valet area talking, and Rodrigo the gangster was telling a story about a friend of his who was in prison.
Rodrigo wasn’t really a gangster, he was employed as a house-man, but he looked like a gangster and talked like a gangster, so I called him “Rodrigo the gangster.”
He also seemed to have a lot of friends in prison.
Rodrigo was going on about how this guy got into it with a cop and beat the cop senseless. That’s another thing about him, he would talk excitedly about all the crimes his friends committed as if he was describing how his kid brother took first place at the science fair for building the best robot.
“Yeah, dis friend of mine was a BIG MOFO, and he beat da CRAP outta dis COP! And da cop was, like, lying there all knocked out and shit, bro, then da other cops came and one of ‘em had dis badass German Shepherd and so he let it loose on my friend and, like, WHOA MAN!”
Rodrigo had a tiny bit of spittle form on his chin, he was getting THAT excited. I was tempted to reach over and wipe it off but I didn’t want a knife in the gut.
“Dis German Shepherd tore da FUCK outta my friend and he got sent to the hospital after they arrested him, and he’s still in prison for beating up dat cop but, man, dat dog tore da SHIT outta him, bro!”
This was Andy’s cue..
Rodrigo did some kind of gangster hand gesture to indicate exasperation, then he said, “What, you don’t think so?”
Andy shrugged again, this time, twice! TWO SHRUGS? Whoa, he was REALLY being nonchalant!
“Naw man, your friend just didn’t know how to deflect the dog’s jaws away correctly. It’s easy. You just get your hand up under its throat and thrust upward, then get a choke hold on it with the other hand.. that dog would go DOWN.”
Rodrigo looked at Andy as if Albanian monkeys had just flown out of his butt.
“Whatch you talkin’ about, foo? Ain’t nobody puttin’ down a German fucking SHEPHERD that’s got its mind set on tearing your arms off, man! You been watchin’ too much TV, little bro!”
Then he laughed while Andy shrugged again and sauntered off, with that cloud of nonchalance tagging along.
The kid was only 18, MAYBE 19.. and he hadn’t been around that much. Still living at home, even. I kind of dread the day when something happens to him that won’t quite kill him but will kill off his nonchalance and I won’t be able to call him “Invincible Andy” anymore because he’ll realize he’s a mere mortal just like the rest of us.
One day I had to call for the hotel van to get a ride to work. Andy was driving and, of course, he had to do about 70 in a 35mph zone, weaving from lane to lane with the music blasting on the radio and his right arm resting nonchalantly (there’s that word again!) on the top of the steering wheel while his left arm hung out the open window, not being utilized for steering purposes.
“Andy, maybe you could slow down a bit, I’m not in a hurry.”
“Eh.. (shrug) we’ll be okay, I’m an excellent driver.”
Ah, youth, I’d blame it all on video games – just as any responsible oldster should – but I was the same way once upon a time and I didn’t play video games.
I’ll blame it on video games anyway.
So, I’m thinking that someone should invent a video game that has actual, real-life consequences. If you don’t jump all the way over the lava pit, you get scalded.
If you don’t beat-up the gangster, he beats you up.
If you don’t duck the swinging blades in time, well.. you get the idea. Invent some video games like that and NO MORE INVINCIBLE ANDYS!
Just lawsuits from angry parents.