Sometimes Peanuts, Sometimes Shells

FEBRUARY 27, 2007

Quote of the Day, 2/27/07:

“Sometimes peanuts, sometimes shells.”

origin lost over years, but currently credited to Michael ‘Tooty’ Callhan, per my dad

Honestly, I have tons of quotes. I’m not worried about running out of quotes anytime soon. But this quote is pretty important to me; my dad’s been saying it my whole life, and in high school I started saying it myself. Its unique, original, and for the most part, people have never heard it when you bust it on them. But, as simple is it is, it makes sense: sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you get peanuts, and sometimes you’re left with the shells.

Last week, I was left with a whole shitload of shells. After my adventure renting a tux (see a few entries ago), I was ready to ‘rock and roll.’ You see, I was signed up to attend an “After-Oscar’s” party, complete with local celebrities. This was all through a local alumni volunteer group that I belong to. I should say, “I thought I was signed up for an ‘After-Oscar’s’ party.” You can see where this is going. Turns out, I wasn’t signed up for shit.

I had been looking forward to this as soon as I mistakenly thought I was signed up for it. Usually when you sign up for something and its full, you get a message saying “Sorry, this event is already full.” But I never got that message. Which, to me, meant: I’m in like Flynn.

But I had nagging suspicions the whole time that something wasn’t right. I hadn’t received any emails saying that I was signed up. And the closer it got, the more I began to think, “Greg, there is no way you’re signed up for this thing.” As it turns out, I was right. But I had a plan: and dammit, I think it would have worked.

You see, there was a mandatory pre-meeting for this black-tie event. Scheduled for Thursday, 2/22, at the State Room, where the event was being held. So I grabbed a tux; I got a haircut; even took off Monday from work; because my plan was to go to the pre-meeting, explain my situation, and see where I could go from there. And you know what: I have a feeling I would have gotten in. If there’s one thing I’m good at, its talking to people I don’t know in situations like this. And I bet, if I explained my situation at this meeting, I would have been good.

But on Wednesday night, after getting my haircut, I came home to check online the logistics for Thursday’s meeting, only to see that the meeting had been moved to, you guessed it, Wednesday, the 21st. And being 10pm on Wednesday, the 21st, when I read this, and the meeting having been started at 6:30, to put it bluntly, I was shit out of luck. Ohh, I tried to fix the problem. Wrote some of the most extensive, professional emails I could think of to everyone in charge. And for awhile, there was even hope. The girl in charge of YAVA (the volunteer group in question) even gave me someone to email, saying an exception might be made. But no can do: all I got was a lot of “Hi Gregory, we thank you for your enthuisatic effort to help, but unfortunately, we’re all set with volunteers.” To put it bluntly: See ya later, pal.

Which left me bitter and pissed off. After everything I had gone through, I was left with a bunch of shells. The whole thing reminded me of the following hypothetical situation: I’m at a bar, and by some miracle, I’ve been talking to the hottest girl in the whole place all night. And she seems to like me. Everything seems to be going fine. But in the back of my mind, I know I’m in over my head, and something’s probably going to go wrong. And then, just when I think that everything is going to work out fine after all, she gets a text message, and says something like, “Ohh, hey, I have great news, my boyfriend is coming over!” or, even worse, “It’s really a shame that I’ve met such a kind, gentle, and sensitive guy like you tonight. I have to leave for Fiji tomorrow for the next 36 months, and I know with your steady job and everything, you probably can’t make it. Even if you try to catch up with me after I leave tomorrow, I won’t have a cellphone that works, and I’ll be constantly hiking through the mountains and jungles with a group of guys I don’t know yet, which means I’ll probably have a boyfriend by then anyway. But, honestly, I think you’re probably my soulmate. Hey, its like you said just five minutes ago: ‘Sometimes peanuts, sometimes shells.'”

Right. Which is really all I can say. But more importantly, as bitter and pissed as I was for awhile, there’s a rule for these situations: you can’t dwell on them. You have to make the best of them: and getting my refund for my tux tonight, it dawned on me: I’ll never know what it was like in the State Room the night of the Oscars, but I can sure as Hell dream. So without further ado,


The State Room was pretty packed, as I walked up the stairs in my elegant, $80 one-button tux, with a black floral vest to match.

“Ohh Greg, you’re finally here! We’ve been waiting for you!” shouted out one of the vols. What can I say: my presence is felt everywhere.

Walking into the room, all conversation stopped; a glass was broken. I had arrived. Strolling across the room, I grabbed a single grape, tossed it 50 feet into the air, caught it between my teeth, sucked off the skin, and looking over the room, introduced myself with my patented phrase, “Good Evening, Ladies and Bitches.”

A woman crossed the room in my general direction. Her gaze caught mine; our eyes met. She strolled my way, a little shyly I might add.

“Hi Greg. It’s really lonely over in my apartment; you should come warm it up sometime.”

It was Maria Stephanos, local news anchor.

I placed a hand on her shoulder. “Maria, baby, don’t you worry: I’ll give you the news any time of day.” Slipping my phone number into her purse, I moved on.

Across the room, I spotted a man with grayish hair. Why it was Howie Carr, local radio host/editorialist.

“Greg; I’m glad you made it. We need more guys with intellectual minds like yours in here.”

“Hey thanks, Howie. By the way; good show the other night.”

“Ahh, its nothing compared to what you do. I’ve been reading your blog; it puts all of my stuff to shame. Honestly, I tell all the guys over at the Herald about it: we’d all love to you coach us sometime.”

“I’ll think about it, Howie; I’ll think about it.” Needing some fresh air, I headed towards the veranda. Outside in the cool night air, stood our very own mayor, Mr. Thomas ‘Mumbles’ Menino.

“Heeyyyy, Tommie, what’s cooking, big guy?!”

“AHHH is dat Greg from da inside? Greg, wheah av yah been the night? Ahh need a someone to shoot kicks with, and all these clowns are flabbergasters!”

“Ahh, I know what you’re saying Tommie, I know what you’re saying. Hey, you haven’t been around in awhile: me and the roomies have fixed up the place.”

“AHH really, is the house in da warm?!”

“Yes, Tommie, it sure is. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some mingling to do.”

Sliding back into the room, a petite Asian woman tapped me on the shoulder.

“What, you don’t say hi anymore, stranger?” Why it was Hazel Maye, host of local sports channel NESN’s “SportDesk.”

“Ohh hey Hazel, you know how it is…I’ve been pretty busy lately. I guess I’ve lost myself a little; we never see each other anymore.”

“It doesn’t have to be that way, you know. Actually, if you don’t mind, I’d like to see you lot, if you know what I mean.” Placing her hand on my shoulder, her eyes met mine. “Now, would you do me a favor…drink champange from my shoe.”

“Whoaa, Hazel, you know I don’t like that freaky shit…”

“I don’t care, baby, drink this Dom from my stilletto!!” What could I do?

“Hazel, I’d like nothing more to drink bubbly from your shoe.” Tipping her left high heel to the sky, the Dom rushed down my throat, one bubble at a time. And I have to say: it was the best goddamned champagne I ever drank!

“Hazel baby, give me your right shoe, and I’ll drink a little Moet!” The people turned and stared: and, realizing who it was doing the drinking, they all took their shoes, and drank from them. It was getting a little hot; I need a break from the madness.

“Hazel baby, don’t hold your breath: I’ve gotta piss like a racehorse.”

“It’s alright baby: you do what you have to do. I’ll wait right here for you.”

Heading into the bathroom, I met none other than David Ortiz, washing his hands.

“Heyyyyy, Greg, Yooooooo da man!!!!”

“Ahh David, come on man, you’re embarrassing me.”

“Hey Greg, you should come out to my place next weekend: I’ve got my own batting cages and everything. I can show you some tips. Plus, we’re making Dominican Food!!”

“I’ll be there bro: You bring the balls, I’ll bring the bat.”

“Alright man, I’ll see you there. Manny’s staying the night. Ohh and yo…You know you’re the man, right??”

“Nahh Davie, don’t give me that crap…you’re the man!!”

Walking back into the night, I realized I was bored with the scene: same old people as always. I snuck out the back: I’d call Maria and Hazel some other time. Sitting on the back steps, I saw two guys walking towards me:

“Hey, who the f**k is this little shit! What ahh ya doin, pal? You hangin with all the fancy pants in there??”

I knew that voice; somehow. “Wait a minute, I ain’t no fancy pants, let me explain.”

“Wait a minute. Is that Greg?? Greg, what the f**k are you doing in a place like this! It’s me, Lenny Clarke!!”

“Yah, and don’t forget about me ya dumb f**k, Denis Leary!”

“Whoa, hey guys, what’s up, why aren’t you in there?”

“Ahh, that shits for *****!! We came to egg the joint, but if you were hangin out in there, I guess its cool.”

I thought for a second. “Hey I gotta an idea…lets go to a bar and drink. You guys must get free drinks everywhere!”

“Ofcourse we do buddy!”

And that’s how Lenny, Denis, and myself ended up drinking till way past closing at some bar. Late that night, I returned to my apartment, only to find my bedrooom door ajar. Pushing it open, I saw Maria Stephanos laying on my bed.

“I stole your key earlier and let myself in. I hope you don’t mind.”

Looking up at the ceiling, I sighed. “Of course I don’t baby; of course I don’t.”

The next morning, at around 10am, I stopped back at the Men’s Warehouse in Medford to drop off my tux. I could vaguely remember taking the T to get my measurements about a week before: man, how times had changed since then. Walking in, I saw Alice, the same girl who helped me out before.

“Hey, Greg, how’d it go. Did you meet any celebrities?”

“Ahh, none that I didn’t already know. It was the usual Hollywood type crowd. The tux was a big hit by the way: people liked the vest.”

“Ahh, thats a good one, I knew they’d like that. And the shoes were comfy.”

“Forgot I was even wearing them, come to think of it.”

“Well, that’s great Greg. I’m glad you had such a good time.”

“Thanks again. I’ll back when I need another tux. Peace out.”

Walking out the door, I felt my phone vibrate. Looking at the screen, it read “Hazel.”

Ohh boy…it was gonna be a long day.

Until Next Time,



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