The odd man out

In the song New York, New York, they claim that if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. Well, take it from me, pallies, some of us make it there because we are incapable of making it anywhere else.

Since leaving New York for the suburbs of New Jersey 8.7 years ago, Mrs. Wife has put forth an valiant and steadfast effort to integrate me into our new community. Last weekend she took me on another husband play date. Despite my best efforts, the end results were the same as they ever were.

I simply cannot make a connection with any of the good people of New Jersey. They’re nice, regular folks who are simply trying to live their lives and grab an occasional night away from the kids. But I have absolutely no chemistry whatsoever with any of them. It’s a new sensation because one of my strengths — the thing that got me this far without the advantage of a college education — is that I can talk a pretty good game. But I got nuthin’ in the tank when I get together with these big gaggles of suburbanites. My poor wife!

I’m a broken misfit. The qualities that once made me feel unique and unlike everyone else now make me feel like an outcast in my own home. Do you know what I’m excited about? I’m excited that the much-praised Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino as Shylock is going to open on Broadway in October. What an oddball! Believe me, there was no way to work something like that into any of the conversations I attempted on Saturday night. I’ll re-double my efforts. I want to fit in.

* * *

Recently spotted in the New York Times:

“The market is just happy the tests are coming out,” said Win Thin, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

What kind of monsters would name their kid Win if their last name was Thin? It’s inexcusable.

21 thoughts on “The odd man out

  1. you could join up with a local community theater group, volunteer to help, make all kinds of friends there… who would be crazy, flaked out, irresponsible nutters, who will eventually try to move into your house “just for a few weeks, man, til this gig comes through”.or you could read the USA Today sports section before the next play date and fake it?

  2. You could pretend you’re starring in a sitcom: “Hilarious hijinks ensue when quintessential New Yorker UB tries to connect with his suburban Jersey counterparts…”

  3. Nutty: They talk about the same thing everyone else does; family, work, sports. Lots of sports.Daisy: That’s the enigma. I’m excellent at faking it but haven’t been able to do so with this group. kykn: Do you mean turn my blog into a sitcom? Hey! Stop eavesdropping in on my fantasies! How dare you.

  4. A sitcom of your/our life. I think kyknoord is on to something. It could be better than “Johnny Goes Bananas”. Quick, talk to the studios!

  5. First of all, you people are up way too early. Secondly, I’ve been trying to fit into Stepford, GA for 18 years. I’ve made a few good friends, but overall I feel just like you – square peg, round hole thing. Actually everyone in my family feels the same way which makes me wonder why in the heck we live in the first place.

  6. Though i don’t know you in person i kinda like you the way you are, fitting in is over-rated, as are friends, i’m a social misanthrope but i know that i’m viewed as a bit off by the productive careerist types, soon i’ll be moving to the burbs and then i’ll really be fuct cuz i know those people won’t know what to make of the guy in the Black Flag t-shirt playing with his kids who says “hi” and not much else, i already write some of this in the Parklife section of the lounge, damn i’m long winded.

  7. My ex and our three kids lived in New Jersey for a little over a year. Every single day there I begged my then husband to change jobs and get us out of there. Maybe you and I are cousins.

  8. it’s ok, sugar. the wives like mrs. wife and the kids, so just smile and r-e-l-a-x, i’d guess most of the husbands are faking it, too. stop trying to fit in and just like water, you’ll find your level. and just keep a drink in your hand at all times. xoxoxook, too funny not too mention: vw = ricetri(yeah, i know, bad ethnic humor)

  9. My Beautiful Bride: Our life is not fodder for a sit-com. My blog? Yes. But not TV.Jo: Unfortunately, the numbers are on THEIR side. I stand alone so I have to try and fit in as best I can.Cat: My alarm goes off at 5:20. I’m not bragging or looking for sympathy. Just stating the facts.Jason: Win tin tin! Fantastic! There was no pic but I’m going to Google his sorry-ass name and see if I can come up with one.Kono: Some of my motivation for wanting to fit in is for my kid’s sake. I don’t want them to be the ones with the “weird” dad. I had a weird dad and I can tell you, it doesn’t help matters one bit.TB: I don’t mean to disparage New Jersey or its residents. The people are nice and the beaches are fantastic. I love the ocean! I just can’t find a groove there.Savannah: That’s the best advice to appear in my comments section in a long time. THX.

  10. But honestly, when you were living in the city did you run around with a gang of theater-going cool kids? Women are always trying to get their husbands/BFs to socialize with each other and it can be uncomfortable. Just because another woman and I are friends doesn’t mean our husbands will be.

  11. Some of us never really fit with our neighbours (thank god, in many cases!). Does it help if you consider all of us blog-wits neighbours? When I was young, I used to get the evil eye from newly-wed girls who thought I was after their shiny new husbands.All because I preferred to talk about football, horses, books, music. Not recipes.And Win Thin…oh! please let him be a fat Taiwanese, with a slight speech impediment and a big Alsatian dog. Pleeeese!

  12. As a natural born misfit I would say do a lot of listening – everybody likes to be listened to – but be yourself regardless then, if in time they don’t warm to you tough t—y. Their loss.

  13. Ok…first off, I’m personally offended about your remarks about NJ, so go screw yourself. It ain’t about New Jersey being bad…suburbia and the masses of gelatinous minds are EVERYWHERE! New Jersey ain’t special. So stop tryin’ to make it so! Its an epidemic of national proportions! You may think you can back to NYC and leave it all behind, but I’ll be honest, I think you’re just able to hide there better. The majority of people just don’t give a flip about those things that you love. That’s what makes you cooler and better than they, sure. But it also makes you much more of a developed person who has a more fulfilled life. So stop with the inferiority complex or whatever it is that makes you bored and start SCREWING WITH THEM. One has to amuse oneself to pass the time. Oh and drink copious amounts of alcohol. L.O.T.S.

  14. HIF: Chris Rock has a great bit about women who take their husbands out on play dates. It’s funny because it’s true.Dinah: I don’t know. I think I can fit in without selling my soul. Can’t I?Pat: Oh, THAT’LL be easy! I’m a great listener. Just ask Mrs. Wife.JZ: I think you misunderstand. I am most certainly not cool, developed or better. The NJ folks are great people. The love their kids and they work hard. I just haven’t found any common ground. Yet.

  15. Oh UB, and Mrs. Wife – Let it be. Just let it be. We are who we are. We must own that. Go to these parties and places where you feel out of place and teach them. I guarantee you, they will go home and talk about that interesting person they met because you’re not following the dogmatic life they have chosen for themselves.

  16. Nurse: I kind of like to socialize. It kills time and I think it sets a good example for The Daughters.Mama: I think everyone is getting the wrong impression. They’re nice people. There’s not a malicious bone in any of their bodies. They don’t judge. But I can’t seem to fit it. It’s not them. It’s me.

  17. I realize that this thread has run its course but I just discovered it and wanted to let you know that I TOTALLY understand what you mean. Very nice people. Not interested. It is a question of cultural distance.My wife–who is FB friends with your wife–also tries to hook me in with the other dads. Total failure.However, it isn’t just Jersey. I live in the suburbs of Boston and it is pretty much the same.Good thing I like football…

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