Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sitcom Moment:
A Handwashing Incident

I had a classic sitcom moment at work this week.

Sitcoms, that mixed bag television staple, fail or succeed based on how well they walk that ordinary moment becomes absurd line. Great ones (Seinfeld) tread the line masterfully; they know exactly when normal people and situations must become absurd. Terrible ones (look for the CBS logo) do not know the line even exists. (Quick aside: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia tap dances along some silly-straw line that travels into some other dimension. Fantastic!)


…I am a thorough hand washer. I mean, you'd think I was heading into surgery. But, I'm a haphazard hand drier. We have paper towels in our restroom at the office. One is not quite enough; two is overkill. Usually, the Poor Richard in me only grabs one towel, and the damp hands resulting are between me, my jeans and my desk chair. No big deal.

I exit the restroom. In the hall stands Buck Buck* and some other guy. "Hey, TonyN, this is Chris from LargeCompanyThatIsAnImportantClient." Reflexly, I extend my hand, "Nice to meet you," and they move on down the hall. Back in my edit bay, horror careens through my head. "Wet hands. Just water! Why didn't I use two towels!?! Oh, god, he'll think-- Obviously, that's what I would think. Go apologize; go explain. Don't be an idiot! Do something to explain it away: hey, this new waterless hand cleaner stuff is neat-o! No, no wait. Gotta have a plan. Maybe I could-- Oooh, I know! First, I'll go back into the bathroom. Then, I'll get a bucket of water…"

Luckily, I fought off the impulse to become a sitcom character. Instead, I went back to editing my little T.V. show, accepting the fact that some stranger thinks that I just pee-shook his hand. Sure, it sucks, but I think I've seen enough sitcoms to know that the outcome of attempting some scheme of explanation or cover-up would have gone sorely awry. I mean, who knows? I could have lost my job, gotten arrested, and been deported had I followed through with sitcom behavior, right?


*Co-owner of company; signer of paychecks. (His fantasy baseball handle is used here for the sake of privacy…)

7 comments:

Christine Wy said...

I, too, am pretty damn serious about hand washing. And yes, two is overkill, but I go for overkill. I obsessively need clean *and* dry hands. #2 just seals the deal.

And I vote you'd wind up deported, *especially* if you went the "It's Always Sunny" route. Hot damn we love that show in the Wy house.

Professor Matthew said...

It depends. In "Sunny" nothing permanent ever happens to the main characters. Even the bad things really just return them to the status quo. But if you're a supporting character then you're screwed Tony.

TonyN said...

Too true. And, I like to think I'm just a supporting character in someone else's sitcom. So, totally screwed.

I'm glad to hear the Wy household loves Sunny. I have huge respect for it. Good news, from the industry standpoint. It's renewed through season six (it's on #4 now)…

Troy Camplin said...

If case you ever wondered, this is how Thomas Kinkaid makes movies.

TonyN said...

That is freakin' incredible. I'd love to see his guidelines for the screenplay…

Troy Camplin said...

Did you get to the notes at the bottom? I'm sure the screenplay is every bit as bad as the paintings he does.

TonyN said...

Oh, yes. That is why I was curious if he had any writing guidelines.