I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. I’ve been preached to enough over the years, I’d hate to do that to anyone else. I’m far from perfect but who amongst us has lived honestly enough to classify themselves as perfect? I’d go as far as to say, if you introduce me to a perfect man I’d call them a liar or at least a bore. However, I do have a secret and I’m prepared to share it with you as it was once shared with me. I’ve heard many a motto over my time and normally when I hear such a phrase, I normally do that smiling and nodding face to let a person know I’m humoring them as I think to myself shut the hell up. “Hey Steve, y’know I always say if you go to bed with dreams, you wake up with a purpose…” Or something like, “Hey Steve, y’know I always say attitudes are contagious you should make yours worth catching…” I do the face and while I’m smiling and nodding like a dumb donkey I’m thinking I have nightmares and my attitude sucks and you can catch my fist, but I’m a peaceful man so I continue to smile and nod, nod and smile. I’m normally warned one of these phrases is coming because it’s often prefaced with a “I always say” if you ever hear those three words they’re usually a warning that some motto is a coming.
I was in a bar late one night talking to my bartender friend. He had more tattoos than me, a longer beard than mine, I rode a push scooter and he rode a motorbike. I was talking to him about a grave injustice I’d been suffering at this coffee shop I used to frequent. I was in between places, which means I had no fixed address and used the coffee shop for wifi, I’d spend hours writing and working out of this coffee shop, I know there’s a million coffee shops in the city of Los Angeles but this particular one had a pool table in the back. If you know me at all, then you’ll know I like to shoot pool so this place was damn near perfect. Every time I needed a cigarette I’d walk out of the front door past the notice boards littered with flyers and stand out on the corner and peruse the magazine stand. If you don’t know this about doors let me tell you, when they open and close they cause a draught, which means a brief wind would caress the noticeboards every time someone came in or out. Apparently on more than one occasion the draught created by the door would force some of the flyers to no longer be attached to the noticeboards and they’d fly off into the street. No big deal, I didn’t even notice it happening but someone noticed, well kind of noticed. A photographer in his early forties had noticed his flyer laying on the floor. Instead of him just picking the damn thing up and placing it back onto the noticeboard he became furious. He immediately thought SABOTAGE! He was also a regular of this coffee joint. When I was coming back in from my cigarette he stopped me in my tracks. “I don’t know why you tore my flyer off the wall, but don’t do it again or we’ll have a problem.” At this point I didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about so I said, “What the fuck are you talking about?.” He went on to explain to me his flyer was on the board, then I went outside and his flyer was no longer on the board. I asked him. “Why would I throw your flyer on the floor?” He said that also was what he wanted to know, we were in the midst of a stalemate. Some time passed and he left. I went for another cigarette but this time I noticed as I exited the door the draught from the door knocked his flyer off again. So, I picked the thing up and put it back on the noticeboard and figured I’ve solved the mystery of the flyer on the floor, I’ll tell him next time I see him.
The next day comes around and I’m back in the coffee shop, I’m shooting a game of pool and spot the photographer ordering a coffee, I figured I’d go talk to him. He sees me and says he’s not interested in talking to me and I thought, wow this dude’s fucking angry about his flyer he could probably use himself a motto. I told him anyway, in as few words as possible, something like, “The draught of the door is knocking your flyer off.” He told me he wasn’t interested in my lies and I became genuinely perplexed why it was more believable that I would deliberately be throwing flyers on the floor to sabotage a man I barely knew than them simply falling off. I went for a smoke and as I exited the flyer was on, naturally I checked. Although I forgot to check when I came back in but he checked and oh boy! He was pissed off when he saw his flyer on the floor. He marched straight up to me and said a bunch of words that culminated in him saying he wasn’t scared and was ready to fight. I’m not a fighter but I do sometimes have a temperament that doesn’t allow me to back down but even I could see a fight over a flyer was ridiculous.
That night I found myself telling my bartender friend with the tattoos, beard and motorbike, all about the flyer and the guy wanting to fight. I told him I didn’t know what to do, it wasn’t that I cared about the bastard flyer but I did care a little that someone could who barely knew me could consider me so needlessly petty. My friend then said those three words, you remember the ones? I and ALWAYS and SAY. He said “Y’know Steve, I always say, bring it in for the high five or go fuck yourself.” I thought to myself that’s a pretty cool motto, so cool I’ve been living by it ever since. I went back to the coffee shop and was just finishing up a game of pool as the photographer entered the shop. He walked straight up to me and I thought to myself what’s he going to say now? He told me he’d seen the flyer blow off the notice board and he owed me an apology, he asked if he could do anything to make it up to me, I asked if he played pool, he said he did so we played a frame and went on our separate ways. I was sure he was getting ready to go fuck himself but he brought it in for the high five instead. Every time I saw him after that, we’d say ‘hi’.