Stimulating conversation at backyard BBQ

Brady C. Mallory

Brady C. Mallory

As far as I’m concerned, there are only two types of people: the ones that I do not want to talk to, and the ones that I really do not want to talk to. Last May I met a husband and wife who met these qualifications.

My parents and I attended our first barbecue of the summer. While others were entertained by playing fetch with their respective pooches, I was hoping that one of the wives would get inappropriately drunk, thus spilling the well-kept secrets of her businessman husband.

I was minding my own business when this couple ambushed me near the punch bowl. Perhaps they didn’t see me turn up my iPod, or maybe they just merely wanted insight into the world of this young collegiate. Since my parents drove, I was in a prison of my own making. I had no intention of leaving before the buffet, so, I had no choice but to stare blankly as they talked at me.

“Are you in college?” Husband asked as he gulped his first of many Tom Collins cocktails.

“Yes, I am a senior at South Dakota State University,” I replied.

“Oh how nice. What state is that in?” Wife asked.

You know when something so messed up happens and you look at your imaginary friend to make the “This just happened” face? This was one of those moments. “South Dakota … South Dakota State is in South Dakota,” I said while dying on the inside.

When they asked me if I was a senior at Austin High, I wondered why I had to bear the brunt of this abuse when I had no idea who this couple was. I am skeptical that they were invited, and maintain that they, like me, were in it for the spread. I soon realized that I, like America to Sarah Palin, would have to submit to the insanity that was thrown in my face.

“What is your major, Bradley?”

“Well, Husband, my major is journalism and my name is Brady, actually.”

To an innocent bystander, this seems like a very harmless exchange. However, not more than ten minutes later this happened. “Greg, what did you say your major was again? Psychology?”

“No, Husband,” Wife chimed in, “Greg’s major is acting.”

I looked at my mom, who shared my disgust for these two. “Brady. My name is Brady. B-R-A-D-Y. My major is broadcast journalism.”

Husband then asked, “Oh, so you are going to be the next Rush Limbaugh?”

With that I thought, “Ugh, I’m out.”

Somewhere between my second burger, and the sixth misinterpretation of my actual name, this happened.

Husband: “The problem with this country is kids your age don’t understand politics. What are you?”

Brady: “I’m a Democrat.”

Husband: “That’s typical. When you are older you will think with your brain and not with your heart.”

Brady: “Well, forgive me for wanting you to hold on to your social security in these, your twilight years.”

Husband: “Bush has really improved this country.”

Brady: “Whatever lets you sleep at night.”

Husband: “Once you graduate from USD, you will learn, Paul. What is your major again?”

Brady: “Pharmacy. My major is pharmacy.”

Wife: “Oh? How do you like psychology?”

As these words tumbled through my brain, I silently hoped that a hawk would fly overhead, scoop me up with its talons and carry me to the new life that I thought I deserved in California. Unfortunately, I weigh 185 lbs and had to wait until my father had told everyone about his prized yellow labs. The bright spot of the day occurred when I realized I’d recently turned 21 and the entire minibar was waiting to make a new friend. That new friend would be me, Brady, the faux pharmacy major.