Seafood is overrated and all wine tastes pretty much the same.
People like to say that "there are two kinds of people in this world." They then go on to give a set of binaries to categorize the whole human species: "men and women"; "winners and losers"; "those who like to dance and those who don't"; "skiers and snowboarders"; "the young and the restless"; "Starbucks people and Dunkin' Donuts people." Although some of these are tempting and most are fun, we all know that there are so many different types of people. One could make a set of the ten kinds of people in this world that seems pretty darn good and even then, an eleventh type will prove them wrong. There are just so many kinds of people and that's one of the beautiful things that makes life so interesting.
However, from my experience I argue that there is one particular type of person in this world that you can peg and know exactly what you're in for no matter what. It doesn't matter where they're from, how old they are, what color their skin is, what their gender or sexual preferences are, or anything else--this kind of person is perfectly summed up as a "Chad."
Chads all have a few things in common. Chads like to have fun, no matter what or who the cost. Chads like sex and sex appeal. Chads fancy themselves quite valuable in the ways of flirting and love. Chads seem to really care about their hair, which is objectively always fantastic looking. Chads have regional catch phrases that are similar to those of common jerks, but Chad phrases are simply more astonishingly arrogant. Chads like money and have incredible financial upwards mobility, undoubtedly most so in their minds. The list goes on and on and on. Chads vary Chad to Chad and some Chads have Chad qualities that other Chads don't.
One thing all Chads share in common, though, is a love for fancy things.
I took my first real spring break trip the last semester of my senior year in college. All the years before that I'd either gone home or on community service trips. Both were fulfilling and recharging in different ways, but I'd always wanted for a real spring break. So, senior winter I picked up a side job restocking books at the library. I only worked ten or fifteen hours a week, but all the money I earned went into my spring break jar. When the snow finally started to melt and finals were done, the jar was full.
Time for spring break. California!
Being my first real party trip, I decided to go all in and go with my real party friends, who weren't necessarily my usual and certainly not my best friends. They were all great friends with each other and I'd always been like the peripheral extra friend. We were close enough for it not to be weird, so after they'd all made the plans, I just hopped on the wagon. A bus down to Boston, a flight out to San Fran, and a rental SUV a ways out from there later, the wagon had finally arrived at luxury city.
When I first got to college, I bought some pastel colored shirts and seersucker pants to better fit in with the New England crowd. It was a good move, as not only did I get plenty of use out of them at parties and whatnot back at school, but that seemed to be the attire of the trip. That and board shorts with tank tops. The routine became wake up late, have a few drinks, go to the beach, have a few drinks, come back, have a few drinks, then put back on the salmon-colored, popped-collared, boat-shoed uniform for the rest of the day's drunken whatnot.
On the fifth day of the trip, Murray, one of our seven man crew, suggested we break things up a bit. We were all plenty happy with sunning and shotgunning, but something new was more than welcome.
"Why don't we do something really Cali today?" he said.
"Can't handle any more beer, sweetie?" said Ethan, always the clown.
"You thinking ladies?" asked Greg, who always talked about girls and never did anything about it.
"Ladies are fine by me," I said, because ladies are more than fine by me.
"Boys, boys, calm down," said Chad, who I knew the least before the trip. He was wearing old Oakley sunglasses and laying in a reclining chair on the deck. "When in Venice," he said, standing up and stretching his arms, "do as the Venetians do." He smiled and took off his glasses.
I raised my hand. "What does that mean?" I asked.
Russell leaned over and hit me in the arm. "Talking Venice, my man!"
I rubbed the spot he had just hit. "Dude, what are you talking about?"
Chad walked over and sat beside me. He put his arm around me. "Sweet little Mac." He made a kissy face. "We can't just hang out with the boys every night having campfires while we sing Jack Johnson songs and roast Kraft Jet-Puffed Miniature Marshmallows," he said. "We gotta use the skills to woo some west coast honeys."
Robbie leaned in and fist-bumped Chad. "Yes! That's what I'm talkin' about. Ladies!"
"Why didn't you just agree with Greg when he said ladies?" I asked.
Chad playfully slapped my cheek. "Cause that's just the first part. I'm talking upscale wine ladies."
"Wine tasting?" asked Greg, excited and apparently over not receiving credit for his own idea.
"Fo sho," said Chad, tussling my hair. "Fo sho, fo sho."
We loaded into the Suburban and drove about an hour to this little Mom and Pop vineyard. It wasn't that small and I don't really know what made it that much of a Mom and Pop establishment, truthfully, but that's how they described it, so what do I know. It was just the seven of us at first, but after a bit, a group of good-looking women showed up.
"What did I tell you, boys? What did I say?" Chad said to us, ever the roost of the coop. It was total coincidence no doubt, but still, it was pretty sweet being just us guys and them gals.
We went through the tasting and all of a sudden everyone was a God damned wine aficionado. Nathaniel, the Pop of the establishment, though who am I to say no one's Pop is named Nathaniel, guided us through a number of different samples. He'd tell us about the grapes or the years or the barrels and all other kinds of crap, none of it seemed important to me. And that was only half because each sample made me increasingly out of it, intoxicated, if you will.
"How am I supposed to taste oak in booze?" I joked to a pretty blonde girl I was standing next to. She giggled and I felt pretty good.
At the end of the tour, they had a bunch of grapes in a big tub. Pop Nathaniel told us that they stomped the grapes to make juices for the wine.
"Oh how conveniently quaint," I said to Cassie. By the way, I had been flirting my A Game the whole time and we were on a knowing-each-other's-names basis at that point. Yeah, I know.
"Oh, stop," she said, smiling. "I'm sure someone stomps grapes still."
"Sure, sure," I said. "Who wouldn't want some feet wine?"
Chad came over and leaned close to me, drunk as the rest of us. "Hey, Lil Mac," he said, using the special nickname he discovered earlier that day that he so cleverly made off of the McDonald's specialty burger, but me-sized. "Been watching you talking to that blonde babe," he said. Cassie was chatting and laughing with one of her friends. "Feeling pretty hot, eh?"
"Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good about it, thanks," I said.
Chad grinned. "Well, why don't you cool down then, hot sauce?" he said, picking me up and putting me in the juicy tub.
I struggled for a bit, submerged in the half-crushed grapes, then got a hold of the slippery side. I stood up, just barely taller than the tub. I didn't know what made me madder, being tossed into the tub or the thought of how ridiculous I looked.
Chad, the rest of the guys, Cassie, her friends, and even ol' Pop Nathaniel all laughed. I did not.
After a long ride back in the far back of the car, so I wouldn't stain the rental, we showered and changed for dinner. I had cooled off by then, but I was still quite embarrassed. Not that I thought I could have necessarily had a little Venetian romance with Cassie, but you never know.
Chad showered last and came out of the communal bathroom with his towel wrapped around his waste, combing his flowing mane. "Hope your purple bath back there didn't cool down your special sauce too much, Lil Mac," he said, offering me a high five.
Without even thinking, I reciprocated the five, a reflex no man can contain. "Yeah, sure. Whatever," I said, trying to sound cool.
"Tell you what," said Chad. "I'll make it up to you. We're going for lobster tonight, and yours is on me."
I had only had lobster a few times in my life. "Really?" I said, thinking of all that melted butter. "For real?"
Chad walked to the mirror, putting on the finishing touches to his hair with his fingertips. "Fo sho."
In fresh dress, covering all shades of traditional Nantucket douchery, we went to a neat little Mom and Pop seafood place called The Bay, which once again who am I to question what exactly it is that makes it Mom and Pop as opposed to just a seafood place? We sat at a nice long table in an open window. A warm sunset breeze blew in as we looked over the menus.
"I wish, I wish..." said Greg, flipping the page. "For delicious fish."
"I dabble, I dabble," said Ethan. "To have some crab... Crabble."
We all laughed. "Why'd you come to a seafood place for crab apples, Eth?" I said.
"He's talking about crabs, Mac," said Robbie. "He was doing the rhyming thing."
I rubbed my face with my hand. "Thank you, Robbie. As always."
"You're welcome," said Robbie. If you haven't gathered by now, Robbie is an idiot.
Our waiter came to the table. "Good evening gentlemen," he said. "Welcome to The Bay. My name is Daren, I'll be taking care of you tonight. May I get you started with some drinks?"
"I gots ta, I gots ta," said Murray, "Have me some lobsta!"
Chad leaned forward, "I guess we're all ready to order. Oh, but do start us with a few bottles of your Stag's Leap Cabernet, too."
"Good, more wine," I said, trying my best not to sound too sarcastic.
"To those of you having lobster this evening, please feel free to go have your pick," said Daren. "Our tank is at the front and our chef will get started right away for you."
"Come on, friend," said Chad. "Don't forget, my treat."
Chad, Murray, Russell, and I walked to the tank. It was a wide rectangle with a soft white light above it. Twenty or so lobsters lazily moved about the bubbly prison, their claws banded and their spirits banded, too.
"Wow, that's kind of sad," I said, standing on my tip toes to get a better look at the crustaceans.
"Better them than me," said Russell, pointing to a fat lobster in the back corner.
"Really makes you wonder," I said.
"About being a lobster?" asked Murray.
"No, about life and--"
Chad grabbed me from behind and dunked me into the tank. I came to the surface, half drowned and fully pissed.
"What do you think about it now?" said Chad, laughing. Russell, Murray, and the two waitstaff by the tank joined in. Chad handed each of the waiters a fifty, smiling as if it was all routine.
"I think it's quite cruel," I said, climbing out of the tank and headed out the door.
I have a saying that I came up with after my senior year spring break that's served me well since then. It goes:
"Forgive Chad once, shame on me. But forgive Chad twice, no way in hell."
I haven't talked to Chad since college, but I've heard from the guys that he's doing quite well as an investment banker in New York. He lives and hangs out with a bunch of Chads, but fortunately for humanity, he has to report to an even more powerful Chad at work.
The world might be run by Chads and all Chads may be created equally Chaddy, but the good news is, if you aren't a Chad, you aren't a Chad.