Among my buddies busting chops is an art.
While these exchanges are teasing in nature, they do not take the form of malicious putdowns or “snaps” such as “Your mother is so dumb, she takes an hour to make minute rice.”
No, our repartee has roots in the expression: “Do a good job and you won’t hear a thing, but screw up once and you will never hear the end of it!”
Such are the ways with us. It’s a harmless method for us to bond and show affection but to also have fun — at each other’s expense, of course.
There is the chop-buster and the bustee, the person who is on the receiving end of getting his shoes squeezed.
For instance, my friend John has a home in the Poconos where we have crashed many weekends and engaged in our customary goofy antics.
On one of our very first visits, the house was sparsely furnished but a kitchen cabinet was brimming with boxes and boxes of Gevalia gourmet coffee.
At some point, I asked for a cup of coffee, and John busted out a jar of some cruddy freeze-dried instant grinds.
Well, not one to let a fertile moment go by, the No. 1 horn-breaker in our group, Pedro, seized it. He mockingly berated John for making us feel unworthy of his quality stash.
The whole weekend, the leitmotif became: “Gee, I really could use a cup up of coffee.” Or: “Wow, I would love some Gevalia. Do you know John where I might get some?”
There are a bounty of moments like these that get dusted off and replayed. We are equal-opportunity in our teasing. There are no sacred cows.
And all it takes is one event – just one – for a chop-busting theme to take hold. There is no statute of limitations.
Just ask my dad.
Sixty years ago when he was in the Navy, he was put in charge of showing a movie to the crew one night and installed the reels in the incorrect order, forever earning him the moniker “Wrong Reel.”
For John, it might be about the coffee, or his lead foot driving, which has earned him the title of “Mannix,” or his many DIY talents with a soldering gun and duct tape, leading to his “MacGyver” nickname.
For Pedro, there is fodder in his Casanova-like ways of flirting with waitresses. Rich and Silvio find way too much pleasure in horror and gore movies – Rich especially, who, disturbingly to us, has been known to laugh through most slasher flicks.
Well, let’s just say I have a well-earned reputation for being a fraidy-cat of horror movies and scary haunted Halloween attractions.
So naturally, to show they love me, horror meisters Rich and Silvio want to lock me in a room for three days, strap me in a chair, pry open my eyeballs “A Clockwork Orange”-style and subject me to the worst horror films imaginable.
After all, what are friends for?
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