The Lowlife

The Lowlife

By Neil McKinnon

 

sweating(Ed. Note: The following is an excerpt from Neil McKinnon’s forthcoming book, The World’s Greatest Lover.)

Of the three types of men, I have left the lowlife until last because that is where he must be placed on any measure of human personality, capability or intelligence. Because of his limitations it is impossible for him to raise his status in society. Therefore, he has no choice. Wallowing in despicability, his only goal in life is to attach himself to a woman and by the sheer weight of his own wretchedness drag her to a level such that there will be at least one person in the world with less social rank than he.

The lowlife has many aliases. He may be a son-of-a-bitch, a bastard, a heel, a rat-bag, a sleaze-bucket or a no-goodnik. It is impossible for him to have an inferiority complex as he really is inferior. The lowlife can be identified in two ways: First, by his location. He is always either in or near a bar. Second, unlike the deadbeat or the philanderer, he does not charm or flatter. In one sense he is more honest than they, in that he does not pretend to be someone other than who he is, a no-class worm. He also does not pretend that he will change. Actually, he expects the woman to change.

One example should suffice—the sad tale of Maria M and a lowlife named Geraldo. Maria was a naive girl, the illegitimate daughter of an itinerant hair dresser—a woman with no permanent clientele—and a one-time Baptist preacher turned shoemaker, a man who had gone from saving souls to replacing them. She had never learned that there’s a difference between hugging and being held so you can’t get away. One fateful day, she stopped for a drink on her way home from her job as head message taker at a beef jerky factory. Geraldo, who sported greasy hair and crooked teeth, was, as usual, patrolling the bar in search of prey. He approached Maria and said, “Haven’t I seen you someplace before … and would you like to come back to my place?”

It was at this point that Maria made her mistake. Had she recognised Geraldo for the lowlife that he was and had she countered with an appropriate response, much of what followed might have been avoided. An appropriate response in the foregoing situation would have been, “Yes we have met. I’m the receptionist at the VD clinic.” Or, “Back to your place, you say. Can two people fit under a rock?”

Instead, Maria responded. “Maybe we’ve met … do you eat beef jerky?”

Her reply was too mild and Geraldo interpreted it as an invitation. She didn’t stand a chance. He was all over her like goose crap on a beach. Within a week he had diluted her self-esteem to the point where she believed that she owed him everything. After all, it was her fault that he had crooked teeth—if he hadn’t bought her drinks on the night they met, he would have been able to afford a trip to the orthodontist.

Scum like Geraldo can always be identified by his opening lines when he encounters a potential victim. In order to provide armour for unsuspecting females, I reproduce here, a few of the more common introductions employed by this brand of sub-human, and the proper response to ensure that play in this game is suspended in the first inning:

Lowlife: “I want to give myself to you.”

Woman’s Proper Response: “Sorry, I don’t accept cheap gifts.”

Lowlife: “I’ve wanted to go out with you ever since I read all that stuff on the bathroom wall.”

W.P.R.: “Love to, but tonight I’m attending the opening of my garage door.”

Lowlife: “If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put U and I together.”

W.P.R.: “If I could rearrange it, I’d put F and U together.”

Lowlife: “So, what do you do for a living?”

W.P.R.: “I’m a female impersonator.”

***

Adriana interrupted, “There are many kinds of men you haven’t mentioned,” she said. “What about stumblebums, dumbos, horses arses, con men, bozos, knuckleheads, letches, blowhards, gasbags and good-time Charleys?”

“Your list is long, my loquacious lumpkin, but the terms on it are all synonyms for, or sub-categories of, the types I have already dealt with.”

‘I see,” she said. “Are you going to enlighten us about the different types of women in the world?”

My glass was empty and I was weary. “Another time. Categorising women isn’t easy. Even someone as experienced as I will occasionally make a mistake.”

Ojo Del Lago
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