Posts Tagged ‘Adam Popescu’

Jerks I Know II

Posted: March 26, 2010 by Adam Popescu in VAULT -- archives
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I know a social climbing jerk that will do anything to be the man.

Lacking the talent and technical skill to be a true mountaineer, watch out for a nerdy cool kid with a talk show smile and wavy brown hair. Think Ron Burgundy without the moustache. Toothy smiles and schoolboy charm aside—he’s not your friend. But, he’s damn good at making you think he is.

Be careful. In person, he can be quite pleasant, making you forget some of the things you’ve seen or heard him do. Remember how he hugged you and seemed genuinely happy to see you the other day? Yeah? Well, did you hear what he said about you today?

Ever ready to point the finger and laugh behind your back, this sub-species of jerk lacks the development to properly express himself, resulting in passive-aggressive behavior and weak attempts at humor at the expense of others.

But, what goes around, comes around.

I saw him at the bar recently. He came in with two girls—ever image conscious, this jerk spends copious amounts of time leading girls on, only to confide his disdain for them to his ‘friends.’ These two knew the business—in a cold town, they were with him for his wheels.

After a luke-warm greeting, I walked over to the well to get a drink. I sat down on a bar stool and started chatting to a brunette undergrad in the psychology program. We talked for about a half an hour about everything and nothing, keeping the conversation going over rum and cokes, her leg brushing against mine.

The jerk came over to the bar, standing a few yards off, next to his two girls. But, he wasn’t interested in them. He raised his glass to his lips, his line of vision directed towards me. I could feel his eyes on mine, scanning.

Leaning against the counter, gazing into my new love’s eyes, I looked up to see someone creeping. Hovering above us like smog was the jerk, silently lurching directly behind mon amour. What was he doing?

It was obvious I was hard at work and didn’t want to be bothered. I paid him no mind, figuring he would take the hint. He didn’t. He was there to throw salt, interrupting like a bad commercial.

“Hey, did you know that if you put a salt shaker in your mouth, it tastes like salt because your brain thinks it’s eating salt? I saw it on YouTube.”

We both looked at him incredulously.

“What?”

“Prove it.”

He stood there for a beat, swallowing a lump of bullshit. It looked like it was stuck in his throat.

“…They don’t have any salt shakers here.”

“There’s a kitchen in the back. Of course they do.”

He swallowed again, smiled, and changed gears, running his motor mouth about his hometown, all his dialogue pointed towards the female. She smiled and laughed when he spoke.

“Get out—I’m from just outside of there! Me too—no, way!”

Was she smiling because she liked him or because he’s so ridiculous? Trying to weather the storm, I debated abandoning ship. No, I can’t do that, I thought. This is my ship and I’m staying with it.

Rocking from side to side, the jerk looked up at me finally, coyly smiling like a kid letting you in on his practical joke. I wasn’t smiling. I had said maybe two words since he sauntered over. He looked down, searching for his next move. Picking his head back up, I kept my eyes on his. Check.

Running out of dialogue, he looked down at his drink: half full, or half empty?

“I’m going to grab another drink…”

He extended his hand and formed a fist. I pounded it and he slunk away. Creeping around the bar, I could feel his glare.

I felt like I owed the girl an explanation.

“We used to live together.”

“Really? What was he talking about?”

“I don’t know. He does that all the time. He tries to make me look bad in front of other people—that’s why he came over here and started talking to you.”

“What a jerk—I’m going to go over and tell him off—“

She popped up—I put my hand on hers.

“Please don’t. It’s really not worth it.”

She turned to me and smiled, signaling her understanding.

“It’s obvious he doesn’t have a lot of confidence.”

I wasn’t mad at him—a little annoyed, maybe, but not mad. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. When were roommates, his words would be peppered with jealousy whenever I had the good fortune of bringing home a lady. From the icy treatment I got, you’d think me and the jerk were in a relationship. After a few months of cramped living, I moved out, not regretting it for one second.

Shaking off the cobwebs, I typed in the psych major’s number into my phone. I looked up and once again locked eyes with the jerk. Breaking contact, I closed the phone, said good-bye to my potential new flame, and left.

—Adam Popescu

Jerks I Know

Posted: February 26, 2010 by Adam Popescu in VAULT -- archives
Tags: , ,

There’s an art to being a jerk. Walking the obnoxious line, smiling the whole time.

It is possible to be a loveable jerk. To be so damn charming that no matter what jerky behavior you pull, it’s all good.

Then there are jerks who seem to lack any and all redeeming qualities. People whose behavior is so negative, it affects everyone around him or her. These are the true jerks—people no one wants to give the benefit of the doubt to.

I know a jerk. A beast of a man who can be spotted a mile away. At first glance, he looks like the stand-in for the kid that’s been chained up in his parents’ basement since 1994. Or possibly not gotten off the couch in that time. (more…)