Latest 3 Things

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

3 Bad Threes

So far it’s been a pretty good year of threes. There have been good threes and bad threes, threes to laugh about and threes to cry about, but there’s no doubt that no matter what the threes have been, it’s been good to have threes. It’s been said that good things come in threes, and that three is a magic number. And while I am certainly and obviously a fan of threes, there are certain threes that should be avoided. You know that tricky third step down to the basement, that third period geometry class and Door Number 3 during Let’s Make a Deal? Of course, those are the evil third, threes and triples that you already know. So as your resident master of threes, here are 3 threes to steer clear of:

1. The third drink. There come a point in every evening which involves adult beverages when the decision is made to either keep it slow and steady, let the buzz wear off and get yourself home in decent shape or to pound them like you’re at a frat party, lose almost complete control of yourself (including your major bodily functions) and rely on your friends (or the kindness of strangers) to get you home. And this point is directly following your second drink. You see, the first drink is a nice reminder that you’re a grown up, usually something tasty (top shelf stuff), and is just enough to take a little edge off your day. The second drink is a confident nod to the cocktail waitress or bartender, a confirmation that the work day is officially over and a little well-deserved comfortably numb. At this point, you can still have an intelligent conversation (provided you are capable of one sober), walk around without stumbling, and reliably tell the difference between what’s funny and what’s not. You can even look cool turning down that all-important third drink - decrying the need to drive yourself home, work tomorrow, or just not hate yourself in the morning. But one drink later, you’re that guy/girl, forgetting yourself and your better judgment, apt to do at least one thing you’ll regret or have to be reminded about, and irrevocably altering peoples’ opinions of you. Tying one on regularly is a solid plan, tying three on regularly makes you a drunk.

2. The third course at a meal. It’s no secret, the United States is a fat-ass nation. Or perhaps more accurately, the U.S. is a nation of fat-asses. We do portion control like the Middle East does human rights. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good meal, and like nothing more than the amazing variety of food that is at my fingertips as a result of living in America. But no matter how fancy, incredible or enjoyable the meal, having a third course is the difference between a having great eat and needing a second seat. In practice, what this means is having the appetizer or the dessert - but not both. Sure, they’re going to try to sell you both, but that’s because they make more money when you do - and they don’t have to pay for the gym membership, the bigger pants or the diabetes medication that you’re going to need when you start free-basing chocolate cake to punctuate your nights spent dining out. It’s always shocking to me after eating at a place like the Cheesecake Factory which brings out livestock-sized portions for entrees that you couldn’t finish with three goes at it, and then has the audacity to come offer you an 8-inch high slice of cheesecake that you can gain weight from just smelling. Of course, a quick look around, however, debunks the mystery of who exactly they’re catering to when you spot a couple of super-sized patrons plowing through their dessert course like it’s trying to scamper off their plate. Trust me, unless you want to look like a walking “Before” picture, keep the number of courses at two.

3. The third unbuttoned button. The buttons on a man’s shirt seem innocuous enough. I mean, at first glance, they’re just there to connect one side of the shirt to the other - but in practice, they mean/say so much more. The top button is simple: the only good reason to fasten it is to button a collar in preparation for a tie, because without a tie, a buttoned top button is the most reliable indication of religious zealotry outside of carrying a bible. So, unless you’re strapping up for business, you get one non-button for free. One. The second button is the difference between business casual and actual casual. It’s a necessary accompaniment to wearing that same shirt untucked. It’s the last button you should have to undo on your own during a sufficiently romantic evening. The third button, by comparison, should only be undone when removing the shirt. An unbuttoned third button is the dress shirt equivalent of having “Affliction” written on your t-shirt, and male equivalent of the bare midriff. If you think you need to have three buttons undone to comfortably wear your shirt, there’s a strong possibility you need a bigger shirt and an even stronger possibility that you’re vastly overestimating your size, the aesthetic appeal of your chest, or the likelihood that everyone around you wants to see it. Trust me, the only thing that you can have hanging around your neck that I’m going to need to see is a winning lottery ticket with my name on it. Everything else makes you look like an even bigger douche than your vastly over-bared chest is already doing. If someone really wants to see your torso, they’ll let you know; for the rest of us, two buttons worth is all we can handle.

* * *

In this year of threes, it’s turned out that there are just as many bad threes as good threes, and perhaps even more. And while three is certainly a special number, sometimes it’s just as good of indicator of what not to do. As you might expect, I’m usually a big fan of folks getting to three, because for me, it usually means that I’ve gotten someone to read past 1000 words, and in this age of twitter feeds, micro-blogs and instant updates, that’s a miracle all its own. But, I’d gladly sacrifice a few readers if it meant dealing with a few less drunks, fatties or chest cleavage-baring ass-hats. The fact is that there are no magic numbers, three or otherwise, that excuse you from using your three most important weapons against dumbassery: your brain, your judgement and if all else fails, a mirror.


Jen and Tonic said...

So I take it you're not a fan of Taco Bell's fourth meal?

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean and Yanni's 3rd album.


Anonymous said...

Who gets drunk after 3 drinks??

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