The one event that stands out is a baby shower held for one of my best friends and his wife. I adore them both, and he's been a part of my life since the 7th grade. I entered the lavish apartment of the shower's hosts and was taken aback by the display on the dining room table: a three-tiered centerpiece of rolled up diapers stacked on end, adorned with blue ribbons; each tier replete with the knick-knackery of infant-dom (baby rattles, baby oil, baby powder, baby bells). "A diaper cake," a guest explained gleefully, as if it were nothing out of the ordinary. Jaw dropping would be an understatement. It's not so much that I had to bite my tongue, as squelch my vomit, so as to prevent it from projecting clear across the room, thus giving the diapers something to do that resembles their actual function.
Married men—the responsible ones, anyway—have no need for video games in their lives. Case in point, my friend Graham spent the first two years of his married life living in NYC while his wife was out on the West Coast earning her Master's degree. To bide his time, he played a lot of PlayStation. The week before his wife returned, Graham and I met out for a few beers, and he presented me with his console and a whole slew of games, gratis. It was like something out of a sitcom, or a grueling Kate Hudson-Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy: Married man proffers up last physical vestige of freedom to wayward bachelor buddy. They get a touch misty-eyed; realizing the end of an era is upon them. There's boisterous laughter and a couple of shoulder punches to snap each other out of being overcome by the percolating emotion. Rough, one-armed hugs, whiskey shots. Cue laugh track, cue Executive Producer credit, and . . . scene.
There was at least $400 worth of electronic booty in that bag. Why wouldn't he just sell it? At first, part of me was a touch offended. It was like Graham was saying, "Here, you're a bachelor. Play this. That's what you guys do. Lord knows that's what I would do." The offense wasn't merited, as when I returned home, I set up the console and began a relationship with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 that lasted several years.